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Round Bale Storage

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RADIO TRANSCRIPT
Date:  June 7, 2021
Agent:  Damon Pollard

This is Damon Pollard, Livestock agent with The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service-Burke center. Today’s topic is Round Bale Storage.

With cost per ton of hay increasing, proper round bale storage is critical to survival. Round bales have allowed producers great labor savings, but have presented many storage problems. Dry matter losses can vary from 2 to 52% on bales stored outside. A 1-inch loss on the outer surface of a 5 to 6 ft. round bale is about 5 %. On average the surface loss is 4 inches, or 20% of the bale, or one out of every five bales. One inch of rain equals 22.4gals. of water falling on a 6×6 round bale. In an area receiving 30 inches of rain during the hay storage period, this equates to 650 gallons falling on one round bale. While we spend our days praying for rain, it would be tragic to let it spoil our short winter feed sources.

There are many options to limit storage losses. Always stack hay in a well-drained area. Stacking on gravel pads, pallets, old tires or cross ties help to limit wicking from ground moisture. Avoid stacking under trees, and line bales north and south to maximize sunlight exposure. If stacking bales individually, leave 18 inches between bales, or 3 feet between rows, to allow passage of sunlight and wind currents. Covering with tarps or plastic can greatly reduce losses, if done properly, however, they can also increase losses if you’re not careful. Use a thick high quality covering, and anchor it solidly to resist wind damage. Leave room for condensation to escape, and repair any tears or holes promptly.

By properly storing round-baled hay, producers can maximize forage quality and realize considerably more return on the costs of hay making for their operations.

This is Damon Pollard, Livestock agent with The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service-Burke center. If you would like more information call us at 764-9480.

Written By

Damon Pollard, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDamon PollardExtension Agent, Agriculture - Livestock, Field Crops and Forestry Call Damon Email Damon N.C. Cooperative Extension, Burke County Center
Page Last Updated: 4 months ago
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