As mentioned before, hay is one of the most utilized agricultural products in the world. It can be made into many things such as livestock feed or material for lawns and gardens. Some people make it into gift-worthy boughs and blankets that they sell to store owners and farmers’ stores.
Hay needs special care when stored. When buying new bails of hay, check to see if there are instructions for how to handle it. Make sure you have a source to send yours back in good condition!
With winter right around the corner, stocking up on bails of hay will help your local farms survive the season. Luckily, there are some great ways to manage this resource. This article will talk about some tips on storing bails of hay during winter.
Removing The Sheen
When buying bails of hay, you should make sure that it does not have a sheen on it. A lot of sellers take pre-baled hay and roll it into tight balls or bundles instead of letting it air out.
This process helps preserve the moisture content of the hay but also creates a protective layer over it. Unfortunately, this layer usually contains chemicals from the packaging or drying processes.
These additives remain stuck to the bale after removal so it may begin to damage the quality of the hay once it gets exposed to oxygen and water. If possible, try removing small bales at a time rather than a large one all at once.
Reasons why farmers bale their hay
More efficient baling machines have made it easier to bale your own hay, so most people these days do not need professional help in that area.
There are two main reasons why almost every farmer bails his or her hay. The first is space- this includes physical space as well as time constraints.
With growing demand for both grass fed and non-grass fed meat products, there is always a shortage of high quality feed. Part of this comes from the limited supply and increasing prices of good quality grains such as corn and wheat. These foods can be used either directly to produce meat or to make other food additives like bread and pasta.
The second reason has to do with cost. Grains are much cheaper than hay, which makes it more economical to start eating meat!
If you’d rather eat locally grown organic vegetables and fruits, then investing in some bailing equipment is worth your money. There are many ways to achieve this, and most require no longer than an hour per day to complete.
Potential hazards of baled hay
While most people enjoy a good roll of hay in the winter, there are some potential dangers that can be caused by too much hay spread out to dry.
When dried, old hay can become flammable or at least very hot. This is especially true when wet hay is exposed to air and sunlight during drying.
If you happen to burn through all the available hardwood flooring in your house, you could instead choose to use burnt hay as new floor coverings!
However, because hay can sometimes contain chemicals such as phosphorus or magnesium, it can contribute to fires beyond just burning aesthetically. Phosphorus helps fuel combustion, while magnesium can help prevent fire related damage. Too much exposure to either can cause serious health problems though.
These risks only increase as the amount of hay you have increases. Since large amounts of hay take up lots of space, producing enough heat for efficient drying requires even more hay than normal. That means we’ve already reached our limit and we may need to think about alternatives.
How to properly bale your hay
The amount of hay needed for grazing depends on how much grass or pasture you have, as well as what kind of animal you have. If you don’t have enough grass, then you will need to source more by either buying or making more hay.
Making your own baled hay is an excellent way to do this. By taking some time to learn how to make it correctly, you can save lots of money in the long run!
There are several easy ways to get started making your own hay. Starting with chopped straw is one of the best first steps because it is a cost-effective way to start. Many pastures offer free or cheap clippings that you can use instead!
Straw can be cut into small pieces or left large depending on whether it is easier to roll or not. Once it is dried, it can be stored until used again.
Storage of baled hay
While most farmers store their bales of hay in a yard or field, some choose to stack them up inside a building or structure instead. This is usually due to lack of space for yard storage or an inadequate supply of outdoor surface area that can accommodate easy access to your hay.
Storing bales of hay indoors requires careful planning. The size, shape, and type of bale you use will determine how many bins and racks you need to have to house all of the hay.
Thickness and quality of plastic sheeting used to cover bales can also play a role. If possible, try to layer thicker sheets over thinner ones to prevent warm air from escaping and drying out the hay.
Biosecurity when baling hay
When bailing or rolling down bails of hay, make sure you are using appropriate equipment. There is an easy way to determine if your machine is biosecialized or not- take a look at the rollers.
Does it have replaceable rubber parts? If so, then these need to be recycled or otherwise properly disposed of. You do not want contaminated recycled materials coming into contact with fresh hay!
Some machines use steel balls instead of plastic ones, but they can still pose a risk if left overgrown. Make sure that there is no dried hay sticking to them which could cause choking for any animals that ingest some of the powdery material.
Time it takes to bale your hay
While some people make overly–dramatic statements like “It takes 10 hours to bale 1 acre of hay,” that isn’t very accurate. It actually takes much less time!
The average person who is inexperienced with bailing hay makes too many mistakes which end up taking longer than needed.
Don’t worry though, this article will go into more detail about how to bale hay in a way that doesn’t take too long.
Cost of baled hay
While bale size and type play an important part in how much it costs to store and use hay, another major factor is the amount you buy!
The cost per ton will vary depending on the seller, what they include in the price, and your own estimates for storage and use. Some sellers may quote only for keeping a cow healthy, but not take into account other factors like improving feed efficiency or promoting growth.
You should always check out sellers with at least a 100-acre supply before buying to make sure you get a good deal. Buying from a larger supplier can also save you money in the long run if they have leftover supplies that are no longer needed.
General guidelines: The national average price per ton of bale cut grass hay is $25. Prices can be higher or lower dependent on the season and area of production.
When is it okay to bale your own hay?
If you live in an area with consistent heavy rainfall, or if you have adequate shelter for protecting dry goods such as wheat and corn from moisture, then baling your own hay may be unnecessary.
However, if you love the feeling of doing something productive outside, this article will talk you through when it’s and isn’t practical to do so!
When is it safe to bale your own hay?
Firstly, you should know that there are times when it’s not only acceptable but encouraged to harvest your own grasses and clippings. These are called ‘by-products’ of cutting and drying plants.
It’s totally fine to cut your own grass and stack it up in bundles to preserve its nutritional value – however, it is NOT recommended to use them as fodder for livestock.
This is because some types of grass can be toxic to certain animals, or even harmful for their health. For example, grazing cattle could ingest too much chlorophyll which could cause poisoning.
Chlorophyll is what makes vegetation green and healthy, so eating enough greens is important to overall animal wellness and growth. Chlorophyll content reduces after stress so eating more stressed out cows is not a good idea!
Grasslands are usually rich in chlorophyll due to the amount of light exposure, and frequent mowing removes this.