Making better dry hay and balage ?

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Making better dry hay and balage ?

Post by Stocker Steve » Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:01 am

Planning to make balage with my upland legume mix stands next year. Expect to avoid the drying issues and increase quality. I have haying equipment but will rent an inline wrapper. Since I don't have a silage special baler, I will be targeting 35 to 45% moisture. Do you see an advantage will higher moisture than this?

Still planning to make dry hay with my meadow grass stands. Have you seen situations where making grass balage is justified for beef cows?


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Re: Making better dry hay and balage ?

Post by Boot Jack Bulls » Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:04 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:Planning to make balage with my upland legume mix stands next year. Expect to avoid the drying issues and increase quality. I have haying equipment but will rent an inline wrapper. Since I don't have a silage special baler, I will be targeting 35 to 45% moisture. Do you see an advantage will higher moisture than this?

Still planning to make dry hay with my meadow grass stands. Have you seen situations where making grass balage is justified for beef cows?


Grasses will make excellent balage. It works really well to increase palatability if you have grass that is a bit past its prime and getting stemmy. It will be lower moisture than alfalfa based balage, but should be green and soft when you go to feed it. If I could get my hands on some every year, it would be my go-to for my older rope horses.
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Re: Making better dry hay and balage ?

Post by bball » Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:57 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:Planning to make balage with my upland legume mix stands next year. Expect to avoid the drying issues and increase quality. I have haying equipment but will rent an inline wrapper. Since I don't have a silage special baler, I will be targeting 35 to 45% moisture. Do you see an advantage will higher moisture than this?

Still planning to make dry hay with my meadow grass stands. Have you seen situations where making grass balage is justified for beef cows?


I don't see any advantage to higher moisture content. Just increases the volume the cow has to eat to get it's daily DM content (unless your going to supplement with some corn bales for DM) I target the same numbers when we make baleage.

Made some very high quality baleage last summer from a clover, alfalfa, grass stand. The only time I will consider the added cost is to beat the weather.
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Re: Making better dry hay and balage ?

Post by cfpinz » Mon Oct 29, 2018 6:29 am

Boot Jack Bulls wrote:
If I could get my hands on some every year, it would be my go-to for my older rope horses.


Do you have any experience feeding wrapped hay to horses? Any issues with colic?
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Re: Making better dry hay and balage ?

Post by Boot Jack Bulls » Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:02 am

cfpinz wrote:
Boot Jack Bulls wrote:
If I could get my hands on some every year, it would be my go-to for my older rope horses.


Do you have any experience feeding wrapped hay to horses? Any issues with colic?

I feed it to mine every winter I can get it. I stick to wrapped grass balage. I have fed them wrapped alfalfa balage in a pinch with no issues, but it's not a risk I like to take. The grass balage has worked well on my rope horses for several years now, with no adverse health issues....
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Re: Making better dry hay and balage ?

Post by cfpinz » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:40 am

Boot Jack Bulls wrote:
cfpinz wrote:
Boot Jack Bulls wrote:
If I could get my hands on some every year, it would be my go-to for my older rope horses.


Do you have any experience feeding wrapped hay to horses? Any issues with colic?

I feed it to mine every winter I can get it. I stick to wrapped grass balage. I have fed them wrapped alfalfa balage in a pinch with no issues, but it's not a risk I like to take. The grass balage has worked well on my rope horses for several years now, with no adverse health issues....


Thanks. Everyone local advises against feeding baleage to horses, as they claim the hay isn't good for the horses once it's been through the fermentation process. Never spoke to anyone who's actually fed their horses baleage.

I dry wrapped a couple dozen bales this year to see how they turn out, would love to give that to the horses if possible.
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Re: Making better dry hay and balage ?

Post by Boot Jack Bulls » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:25 pm

cfpinz wrote:
Boot Jack Bulls wrote:
cfpinz wrote:
Do you have any experience feeding wrapped hay to horses? Any issues with colic?

I feed it to mine every winter I can get it. I stick to wrapped grass balage. I have fed them wrapped alfalfa balage in a pinch with no issues, but it's not a risk I like to take. The grass balage has worked well on my rope horses for several years now, with no adverse health issues....


Thanks. Everyone local advises against feeding baleage to horses, as they claim the hay isn't good for the horses once it's been through the fermentation process. Never spoke to anyone who's actually fed their horses baleage.

I dry wrapped a couple dozen bales this year to see how they turn out, would love to give that to the horses if possible.

Everyone advises against feeding it to horses. There have been years where it was that or they starve! I was worried this year would be like that too. There is no extra hay in our 4 county area! I would avoid anything on the higher end for moisture, and of course anything with the slightest hint of mold. Like I said, I stick to mostly grass and avoid alfalfa or even clover if feeding it as baleage.
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Re: Making better dry hay and balage ?

Post by ERNIBIGB » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:11 pm

I have made very good balage with grass very early in the season. (Mid April here) I was in the same field working on second cutting when the neighbor was in the field across the fenceline starting his first cutting.

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Re: Making better dry hay and balage ?

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:35 pm

There is an extreme wide range of moisture that can be put up as baleage. I have had hay "almost" ready to bale dry, just needed a good 1/2 day of sunshine, but turned cloudy with rain coming - or even had it misting. Wrapped those babies right up. Never have had a problem.
Baleage is what they refer to as a "cold fermentation". No air - no heat. That is why it is safe for horses. It has to do with the PH changing (or not changing).
Before baleage, we got a lot of 1st cutting dry hay put up in July. Uggghh
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Re: Making better dry hay and balage ?

Post by HammondCreekRanch » Wed Nov 21, 2018 5:28 pm

It takes a Min of 50% moisture 50-60% to do the fermenting process.

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Re: Making better dry hay and balage ?

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Thu Nov 22, 2018 6:57 am

Quote from an article from AgWeb: https://www.agweb.com/article/the-dos-a ... t-bechtel/
Improve forage quality while shortening lag time
To eliminate some of the risks and improve the quality of stored forages, Dan Undersander, agronomist with University of Wisconsin, recommends putting up a wetter version of hay: baleage.
Baleage lets producers harvest with less weather effects. Dried hay has to be baled at 20% moisture or less in small square bales and even less moisture for large round bales. With baleage, moisture can range from 25% to 70%. The flexibility in moisture content allows producers to speed up the baling process and get work done before a rain that might spoil a normal hay crop.


Some farmers let it completely dry down and "store it" by wrapping. Expensive alternative to me, but definitely an alternative to letting it get rained on.
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Re: Making better dry hay and balage ?

Post by Silver » Sun Nov 25, 2018 9:29 am

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
Some farmers let it completely dry down and "store it" by wrapping. Expensive alternative to me, but definitely an alternative to letting it get rained on.


I've been considering doing this with my hay that's left to put up after I know I've made enough to get me through the winter. I think it would be great for carry over. And at about $1.50 per bale it seems to me it would be a lot cheaper than not doing it when hay savings are factored in.

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Re: Making better dry hay and balage ?

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:39 am

Silver wrote:
Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
Some farmers let it completely dry down and "store it" by wrapping. Expensive alternative to me, but definitely an alternative to letting it get rained on.


I've been considering doing this with my hay that's left to put up after I know I've made enough to get me through the winter. I think it would be great for carry over. And at about $1.50 per bale it seems to me it would be a lot cheaper than not doing it when hay savings are factored in.

totally agree, Silver.
Ours was "almost" ready for dry bales, but rain coming so we wrapped. It is feeding out beautiful. Saving it for our replacements. We put up about 120 bales, 2nd cutting.
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Re: Making better dry hay and balage ?

Post by Silver » Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:17 am

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
Silver wrote:
Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
Some farmers let it completely dry down and "store it" by wrapping. Expensive alternative to me, but definitely an alternative to letting it get rained on.


I've been considering doing this with my hay that's left to put up after I know I've made enough to get me through the winter. I think it would be great for carry over. And at about $1.50 per bale it seems to me it would be a lot cheaper than not doing it when hay savings are factored in.

totally agree, Silver.
Ours was "almost" ready for dry bales, but rain coming so we wrapped. It is feeding out beautiful. Saving it for our replacements. We put up about 120 bales, 2nd cutting.


We wrap a lot of "almost ready" hay too and really like it. It may not be silage but it's great feed. Well, I have to assume it is. I've never tested it but the cattle appear to do very well on it.

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Re: Making better dry hay and balage ?

Post by cfpinz » Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:13 am

Silver wrote:
Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
Some farmers let it completely dry down and "store it" by wrapping. Expensive alternative to me, but definitely an alternative to letting it get rained on.


I've been considering doing this with my hay that's left to put up after I know I've made enough to get me through the winter. I think it would be great for carry over. And at about $1.50 per bale it seems to me it would be a lot cheaper than not doing it when hay savings are factored in.


I'm assuming the $1.50/bale is for inline wrapping?
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