Baling Hay

  From the July 17, 2017 Issue of Agri-News
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 While hay quality varies across the province, how to store that hay for the best results doesn’t.

“Moisture content in the forage is key to having a bale store properly and not mould or deteriorate in quality,” says Barry Yaremcio, beef and forage specialist, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “The large round bales should have 15-16 per cent moisture while the large squares should be down to 12-13 percent.”

Yaremcio says that while the hay may look and smell fine, it needs to be physically evaluated to see if it is cured.

“You should take a sheath of hay out of the swath and try to break it, just like breaking dry spaghetti into a pot. If it breaks after bending the stalks, and you can hear it snap and crackle, those plants are now cured.”

Yaremcio says that, while moisture probes work reasonably well with cured hay, they may give a false reading with uncured hay. “The moisture inside the stem is a lot higher than what is on the outside and you can get a false low reading.”

Once the bales have been made, they can be stacked about seven to ten days later. “Bales will go through a sweat period about three to four days after being made. That’s just an equalization of the moisture within the bale. But you’ll want to leave the bales out in the open and let the wind blow on them before stacking.”

For more information, contact the Alberta Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276).

Alberta Ag-Info Centre
310-FARM (3276)

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Barry Yaremcio.
This document is maintained by Ken Blackley.
This information published to the web on June 29, 2017.
Last Reviewed/Revised on July 7, 2017.