Thursday, October 3, 2013

Baling Hay

At the Southwest Research Center last month was the "Show & Tell or the Show & Smell" high moisture hay demo put on by Rob Kallenbach, University of Missouri Extension, state forage specialist. Rob had the crew at the Center wrap six bales in plastic wrap. Five of the bales were not wrapped or managed properly while one was "just right."

The wrong baleage bales included: baled too wet; baled too dry; wrapped with only one wrap; wrapped properly, but was punctured and air entered the bale; baled properly but was not wrapped for 48 hours.

Rob gave these bits of baleage knowledge.
Any hay, grass or legume, can be made into high quality baleage.

The proper moisture level may vary from 40 to 60%.

The best way to gauge moisture level is with a moisture meter.

Molds develop if air gets inside the wrap due to punctures caused by varmints, kids, single wraps, etc. Mold also results when baled too wet.

The moldy hay usually is sorted out by the cattle and seldom causes problems other than being a waste.

Don’t plan on properly wrapped bales lasting more than 12 months.

Bales should be wrapped within 24 hours of coming out of the baler.

Watch the bales closely and cover holes ASAP, but not with duct tape. Use a special tape from the wrap company.

Haylage is a good way to capture your forage at its peak nutritional point without as much concern for the rains that often come in late April – early May. The biggest drawback is the need for extra equipment. This is a good opportunity to do some neighborly sharing of haylage – making machinery.

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