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Minimizing Storage Losses of torage Losses of
      Minimizing S                                                                               The Midwest Cattleman · October 27, 2022 · P7

      Round Bale Hayound Bale Hay
      R                                          By Steve Niemeyer and Connor Biehler

         Storing big round hay bales  forages are more suscepti- in the outer lay-
      by lining them up along the  ble than hay harvested in  ers of large round
      fence row may be easy, but it  the fall, depending on when  bales. An example
      is not economical. Baled for- it’s fed. Once you’ve consid- is a 6-foot diam-
      age probably constitutes the  ered your elements, choose a  eter bale and a
      highest percentage of winter  storage method that best fits  4-inch outer layer
      feed cost we have wrapped  your needs.                                depth  that has
      up in a cow.                          Table 1 shows the amount  21% of volume of
         The production of hay uses  of loss you can have in a
      immense resources, and the  round bale from dry matter  continued on page 14                                   Table 1
      ration  quality is affected by
      hay quality. Storing dry hay
      on the ground without cover
      causes greater amount of
      spoilage when compared to
      other methods of storage.
         Results found from ranch
      research  done in  the Sand-
      hills of Nebraska by the Uni-
      versity of Nebraska Exten-
      sion in 2005-2008 reported no
      significant nutrient changes
      in  total dry  matter pounds,
      pounds of crude protein or
      pounds of total digestible
      nutrients on native hay and
      alfalfa plots. However, visual
      damage losses after one year
      between covered and uncov-
      ered with twine or net wrap
      are reported.
         It should be recognized
      that there’s no one  “right
      way” for everyone when it
      comes to hay storage. Pro-
      ducers should consider three
      factors in determining their
      optimum storage method.
         1. Look at hay quality, or
      value. There is a remarkable
      dollar difference in a 25%
      loss on $200/ton of hay vs.
      $100/ton hay. The better the
      quality, the more you’ll save
      putting it under storage.
         2. Evaluate the likelihood
      of spoilage in your climate.
      Spoilage, or weathering, is
      the result of moisture getting
      into bales, and temperature
      accelerating bacterial break-
      down of the cellulose. Warm-
      er temperatures, combined
      with moisture increase bale
         Wind can also influence
      drying time. Moisture gets
      into bales in three ways: rain-
      fall, snowmelt, and humid-
      ity. The tops of bales absorb
      moisture from rain, snow-
      melt, while the bottom wicks
      moisture from the ground.
         3. Consider the length of
      time  bales will  be exposed
      to  weathering.  First  cutting
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