Been unrolling hay

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Been unrolling hay

Post by Bigfoot » Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:38 pm

Been knocked around on here a lot, I’ve been in the discussion some myself. Tried it on a real limited basis maybe a couple of years ago, and it wasn’t working at the time because of ground conditions.

We’ve had a pretty dry fall here, so I gave it another try. I’m feeding about 30-35% as much hay per day, as opposed to last year. “I believe” it’s working, because there are still some pickens around on my place. The cows don’t get full on what I put out, but there is still grass around for them to pick at. I started in mid November, and originally said I would continue til December 15th. The 15th is Friday, and will probably go well past that. Eventually, I will put out all my hay rings, and go back to free choice. Just playing it by ear for now. In due time, when the green up starts, I will likely go back to doing it.

I started doing it, to conserve hay. I hope it either has been successful enough, or will be successful enough to get me through on the hay I have. Not sure what the deal is, but no way in heaven or earth will the tractor unroll it, neither will rolling it off a hill. Me and my kids tear at it with hay hooks, and roll it by hand across the pasture. The ground looks like it’s been vaccumed up when they get done eating a roll.


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Re: Been unrolling hay

Post by Stocker Steve » Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:26 pm

I think unrolling hay is a good way to stretch fall pasture. I don't like bale rings, but I do think there is less waste with bale rings than with unrolling.
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Re: Been unrolling hay

Post by ddd75 » Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:32 pm

i'll disagree with you 100% on that stocker steve. I'll unroll bales and you can't even tell where I did, other then manure piles.



it's been too wet to unroll here, I'm hoping it freezes up a little so I can start.

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Re: Been unrolling hay

Post by Bigfoot » Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:40 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:I think unrolling hay is a good way to stretch fall pasture. I don't like bale rings, but I do think there is less waste with bale rings than with unrolling.


I quit before because of waste. The bottom was out of the ground, and they were squashing more than they ate. I was also putting out a full ration. I don’t have the time to meet their entire hay need in January and February by unrolling. It’s working better than I would have thought in the short run though. It may again, as spring approaches.
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Re: Been unrolling hay

Post by bird dog » Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:00 pm

I have unrolled every roll I have fed the cows so far this year. Like some of you, I don't think I have enough hay to put in rings and give free choice. It is by far the best way to feed unless its to muddy to get the tractor into the field. A roll pulled out of the barn will have very little waste.

Even when its muddy like today I can unroll on the highest spot and have good results.

I like it because every animal gets to eat at the same time from the bulls to the baby calves. No pushing or shoving and no babies getting stepped on. The only real problem I have is some rolls get a large flat spot and make it difficult to get it to unroll. The rye grass hay is the worst and stacking hay makes the bottom rolls flat and difficult.

I was noticing today that some of the places where I unrolled last year already have some green shoots coming up.

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Re: Been unrolling hay

Post by JMJ Farms » Thu Dec 13, 2018 6:33 am

I roll out with a Deweze Super Slicer. I used to roll it out with a tumblebug. When I used the tumblebug I took a price of solid 1/2” pipe, 5’ long, and welded a trailer ball to one end (so I could push on it). Then I drilled a hole for a clip pin about 2” from the opposite end. Build two chains with a 1/2” flat washer welded to one end of each chain and a hook on the other end of the chain. Slide one washer on the pipe. Push it through the bale. Then put the other chain on the opposite end of the pipe and stick a clip pin in it. Hook the ends of the chain with the hook to the tumblebug (Or tractor) and take off. Will unroll it as wide as the bale. May not work as good if the chains are not spread at the “front”. May try to pinch the leading edge of the bale. The reason I didn’t like this is bc they wasted a lot more when it was rolled out 4’ wide. Slicer rolls it out in a narrower windrow. But it was easy.
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Re: Been unrolling hay

Post by Bright Raven » Thu Dec 13, 2018 6:49 am

Bigfoot wrote:Been knocked around on here a lot, I’ve been in the discussion some myself. Tried it on a real limited basis maybe a couple of years ago, and it wasn’t working at the time because of ground conditions.

We’ve had a pretty dry fall here, so I gave it another try. I’m feeding about 30-35% as much hay per day, as opposed to last year. “I believe” it’s working, because there are still some pickens around on my place. The cows don’t get full on what I put out, but there is still grass around for them to pick at. I started in mid November, and originally said I would continue til December 15th. The 15th is Friday, and will probably go well past that. Eventually, I will put out all my hay rings, and go back to free choice. Just playing it by ear for now. In due time, when the green up starts, I will likely go back to doing it.

I started doing it, to conserve hay. I hope it either has been successful enough, or will be successful enough to get me through on the hay I have. Not sure what the deal is, but no way in heaven or earth will the tractor unroll it, neither will rolling it off a hill. Me and my kids tear at it with hay hooks, and roll it by hand across the pasture. The ground looks like it’s been vaccumed up when they get done eating a roll.


It has been the wettest fall on record over here, not kidding. It is a new precipitation record for the official period beginning on the first day of fall. I know you are a long way west but I thought you were getting all this rain too.
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Re: Been unrolling hay

Post by TennesseeTuxedo » Thu Dec 13, 2018 6:58 am

We’ve had ample rainfall in the NASHVILLE area and at the farm the rain has been overwhelming.
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Re: Been unrolling hay

Post by plumber_greg » Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:01 am

Steve, if you think unrolling wastes more hay than rings, you are trying to unroll and keep them on full feed of hay.You will find that what they clean up in about 4-6 hours is enough for them to eat.
'Adjust every day the amount fed, depending on how much they decided was bedding.
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Re: Been unrolling hay

Post by Bigfoot » Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:35 am

Bright Raven wrote:
Bigfoot wrote:Been knocked around on here a lot, I’ve been in the discussion some myself. Tried it on a real limited basis maybe a couple of years ago, and it wasn’t working at the time because of ground conditions.

We’ve had a pretty dry fall here, so I gave it another try. I’m feeding about 30-35% as much hay per day, as opposed to last year. “I believe” it’s working, because there are still some pickens around on my place. The cows don’t get full on what I put out, but there is still grass around for them to pick at. I started in mid November, and originally said I would continue til December 15th. The 15th is Friday, and will probably go well past that. Eventually, I will put out all my hay rings, and go back to free choice. Just playing it by ear for now. In due time, when the green up starts, I will likely go back to doing it.

I started doing it, to conserve hay. I hope it either has been successful enough, or will be successful enough to get me through on the hay I have. Not sure what the deal is, but no way in heaven or earth will the tractor unroll it, neither will rolling it off a hill. Me and my kids tear at it with hay hooks, and roll it by hand across the pasture. The ground looks like it’s been vaccumed up when they get done eating a roll.


It has been the wettest fall on record over here, not kidding. It is a new precipitation record for the official period beginning on the first day of fall. I know you are a long way west but I thought you were getting all this rain too.


I had no idea. I figured we got the same rains. Whatever eastern Oklahoma gets, I get it 2 days later. One of the first things I do every morning is check my weather, and then check their weather.
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Re: Been unrolling hay

Post by Bigfoot » Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:38 am

plumber_greg wrote:Steve, if you think unrolling wastes more hay than rings, you are trying to unroll and keep them on full feed of hay.You will find that what they clean up in about 4-6 hours is enough for them to eat.
'Adjust every day the amount fed, depending on how much they decided was bedding.


Makes me wonder if mine are getting enough. Takes mine about 2-3 hours to clean this up.
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Re: Been unrolling hay

Post by bird dog » Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:01 am

Mine eat about 80% what I roll out in about 2 hours. They then loaf around for a few hours before picking at the rest. They could use more, but I don't have a lot to spare so they have to scrounge around. I do have some tubs out to make the most of what grass is left.

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Re: Been unrolling hay

Post by jehosofat » Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:22 pm

I unroll every bale I put out, it's easy for me because I live in hilly country. What they don't eat is not waste in the end, I unroll every bale on parts of my pasture where the soil is the worst. I can really see a difference in the last 3 years that I have been doing this.

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Re: Been unrolling hay

Post by ohiosteve » Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:43 pm

jehosofat wrote:I unroll every bale I put out, it's easy for me because I live in hilly country. What they don't eat is not waste in the end, I unroll every bale on parts of my pasture where the soil is the worst. I can really see a difference in the last 3 years that I have been doing this.

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Re: Been unrolling hay

Post by Lucky » Thu Dec 13, 2018 3:04 pm

I’ve been unrolling 98% of my hay for about 10 years now. Only time I set out rolls is when I’ll be gone for a few days. Like said on here earlier when I go back the next day theres not enough left to fill a 5 gallon bucket. They eat 75% in 2-3 hours then lay around and eat the rest later. One trick I’ve learned if you are having trouble unrolling is to feel the end of the bale and unroll it with the smooth side going forward. I would like to try a Super Slicer like JMJ has, I think it would fluff the hay better.

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