Straw vs Hay : What Is The Difference Between Straw And Hay?

Often, questions like this ponder in our minds, and it becomes difficult for us to find the correct answer. Generally, people believe that Straw and Hay are both the same things because of their looks. But there is a difference between straw and hay. Yes, they are different from each other.

Here we have for you all the things you should know about the Straw and Hay, including the differences, uses, and making process.

Difference Between Straw And Hay

Difference Between Straw And Hay

Now, when you have known about the Straw and Hay, how they are made and used, let us tell you the two things are very different from each other. The Straw and Hay’s critical difference is that Straw is a leftover of grains after they are later dried.

On the other hand, Hay is the grass that is specially grown and dried for use. It so happens that people think they both are the same; even layman says that both the things are identical due to their similar look.

Straw is mainly used as a material for thatching, packing, or weaving, but Hay is a specially grown grass and dried to be used as a fodder to feed the animals during the season when fresh grass is a lot available.

The Straw, which is a leftover, is brought into use other than getting it wasted, but Hay is grown with a specific purpose to use it.

The significant difference is Straw being a by-product and Hay being the actual product. Since Straw is a by-product, it is less nutritious than Hay. Straw is only used to feed the animals, only if some supplements must be added to the animal’s diet when they lack fiber in their diet.

But one thing common in both of them is that they both act as a protective covering on the ground. They are used to absorb moisture and improve the fertility of the soil. This also reduces the growth of weed.

What Is a Straw?

The agricultural by-product like wheat, oats, and barley are known as Straw. The color of the Straw is either yellow or golden.


Making Process Of  Straw

  • Many times, we must have seen that a giant machine called combine harvester games in the field. It chops the top portion of the plant, which consists of the grain.
  • After this, the machine ends one piece for grains and other chops the Straw and bale sized blacks are formed and collected.
  • The hollow stalks leftover generally makes the straws. The threshing is dried, cut, and then formed in bales. These bales have little content of moisture in them.

Uses of Straw

There are various uses of the Straw except for the nutritional value, so they are not used to feed the livestock. The myriad of straw-like.

  • It is used as a bedding for animals as it is very light and downy.
  • It acts as a protective covering for your plants and helps in maintaining the moisture of the soil. This, in turn, reduces the drying of the top layer.
  • It is also used in preventing the growth of weed.
  • These straws are also used in packaging materials, paper manufacturing, and as an ingredient in biofuels.

What Is a Hay?

On the contrary to this, Hay is grass, legumes, or other herbaceous plants. The thing that is generally cut and stored for the use of animal fodder after drying it, at the time when fresh grass cannot be made available for them.


Making Process Of Hay

  • To make Hay, the plants are harvested when they are alive and then dried.
  • The Hay is cut before the seed matures.
  • These can even have a high moisture content in them, which can even lead to bursting into flames. This generally happens when the heat increases due to the process of decomposition.

Uses of Hay

  • Hay, which is used to feed the livestock, as it consists of proteins and carbohydrates.
  • Though the type of Hay used to feed animals differs depending on the need of the animal.
  • The Hay is used to feed animals like horses, goats, sheep, cows, and many others, during the season when fresh pasture is not available for them to feed.

Which act as a better mulch or cover, Straw or Hay?

As a reader, this question might ponder in your mind if you are looking forward to putting the two as a protective covering on the ground.

Here are a few things that you can consider when you wish to use them in your garden.

Straw vs Hay

Straw is something that acts as a terrific insulator when used as a mulch. The Straw is used in the garden; they remain fluffy and light and add a beautiful golden look. But it might turn out to be an expensive option, which sheerly depends on the place where you reside.

Hay acts as a readily available mulch containing various grasses and legumes and gives a spongier effect than the Straw. But it is not suggested to be used in most areas as they can give birth to slugs and snails.


I hope this must have proved beneficial for you in understanding the difference between the straw and hay. The things are considered to be the same because of the shape are square-shaped and stored similarly.

Next time someone says that Hay and Straw are the same, make them understand the difference between the two things and their usage and how they are different.

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