Baleage for the Weaning Pen ?

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Stocker Steve

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We usually wean calves onto second cutting hay and an oats based grain mix. This season we tried something new - - high legume content baleage. The calves ate better but were very loose. Apparently too much protein. Tried going back to dry hay and we had a hunger strike... How much of a protein and TDN difference to you see when making baleage rather than dry hay?
 

Rydero

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Did feed testing this fall and sent mine in with my employer's and we shared results. We each did some greenfeed seeded the same - he did baleage and I dried mine down. Almost identical on a DM basis - dry had slightly higher protein and baleage had slightly higher TDN.

If it's the same plant cut at the same stage and put up properly it makes sense as the nutrients are a product of what the plant has in it - drying or wrapping is just the method of preserving it. Which is why I'd only wrap if the weather makes it necessary. Why haul that water and spend extra money for the same result?
 

Silver

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When it comes to greenfeed cattle just do better on it in baleage form. Especially calves. Calves will clean up the baleage but dry greenfeed they pick the grain out and lay on the straw. If you have to force them to eat the straw you will lose ground in the gain / growth department.
I don't mind hauling the water off the field in the form of a silage bale, there is a lot less waste in baleage as compared to dry feed.
 

Rydero

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I would think you lose more leaves and protein making dry hay, especially with legumes?
I've never seen feed test results that are different enough on similar fields to come close to justifying (for me) the extra costs and labor needed to wrap bales. I can't really quantity how much I'm losing drying it down but I imagine 100lbs (1/15th of a bale) of dust is an incredible amount of volume. I'd love to see what that looks like in a pile.
To each their own - if someone wants to wrap bales they can wrap bales based on preference. I sincerely doubt it can be justified objectively based on cost all things considered outside of making hay when it's impossible to dry it.
 

Silver

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I would estimate that at a minimum the outside 6" of a dry hay bale become waste in the first year. On a 70" bale that's 16% loss right there. Another 6 or 7 percent possibly being lost during the baling of a dry bale suddenly makes total losses of well over 20%.
For carry over I would not be surprised that dry hay loss could surpass 35% or more.
I'm feeding baleage now that I made in 2019 and there is zero loss. For me the $4 investment in plastic is very cheap.
 

Rydero

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When it comes to greenfeed cattle just do better on it in baleage form. Especially calves. Calves will clean up the baleage but dry greenfeed they pick the grain out and lay on the straw. If you have to force them to eat the straw you will lose ground in the gain / growth department.
I don't mind hauling the water off the field in the form of a silage bale, there is a lot less waste in baleage as compared to dry feed..
The straw has the same nutrition in it if it's in silage form. You can't create nutrition from a preservation process. I agree that if they eat straw they will lose gain which is why I ideally wouldn't want calves to eat it.

In my (limited) experience feeding silage greenfeed bales the waste was quite similar. I took particular notice because I spent the whole summer before I fed it being told how "they eat ALL of it" if it's in silage form.

I think wrapping bales is a preference for some and that's perfectly fine. My preference is to haul a third less bales that weigh less to my hay yard then out to the cows when I'm feeding. Because efficiency and cost are my primary focus.
 

Silver

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The straw has the same nutrition in it if it's in silage form. You can't create nutrition from a preservation process. I agree that if they eat straw they will lose gain which is why I ideally wouldn't want calves to eat it.
My point was that calves will eat greenfeed straw in baleage form, but not when baled dry. Not that the nutrition was different, but that palatability is.
 

Rydero

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My point was that calves will eat greenfeed straw in baleage form, but not when baled dry. Not that the nutrition was different, but that palatability is.
You also said they won't gain well on straw and I agree. I want mine to gain so dry is better.
 

Silver

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You also said they won't gain well on straw and I agree. I want mine to gain so dry is better.
I think you misunderstood me. What I meant was that if I force them to clean up dry oat greenfeed that they don't want to eat their consumption slows down and therefore so does their gain. But if I feed green feed silage they will happily eat a lot more of it, and I find replacements grow out very well on greenfeed baleage.
 

Rydero

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I would estimate that at a minimum the outside 6" of a dry hay bale become waste in the first year. On a 70" bale that's 16% loss right there. Another 6 or 7 percent possibly being lost during the baling of a dry bale suddenly makes total losses of well over 20%.
For carry over I would not be surprised that dry hay loss could surpass 35% or more.
I'm feeding baleage now that I made in 2019 and there is zero loss. For me the $4 investment in plastic is very cheap.
On a $70 bale of hay 23% waste is $16.10. What does a wrapper, plastic($4), hauling heavier bales, extra labour, hauling 1/3 more bales two times cost?

Where did the 6 or 7 percent come from? Is that above and beyond waste from making wetter bales? On $70 bales fed the first year 7% is $4.90.

0% waste doesn't exist. I see thrashed out grain on my bosses greenfeed fields and he wraps all of it. Our feed tests were almost identical. Wouldn't I lose way more grain than straw skewing the results if I was losing a statistically significant amount more waste? 35% waste is an exaggeration and wrapping is way more than $4.
 
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Rydero

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I think you misunderstood me. What I meant was that if I force them to clean up dry oat greenfeed that they don't want to eat their consumption slows down and therefore so does their gain. But if I feed green feed silage they will happily eat a lot more of it, and I find replacements grow out very well on greenfeed baleage.
We're just approaching it a different way. I just don't try to get calves to clean up. Cows are another story. If I felt the calves were wasting more than I wanted them to have for bedding I'd periodically bump them to another pen and let hungry cows clean the waste but I haven't got there yet.
 

Silver

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On a $70 bale of hay 23% waste is $16.10. What does a wrapper, plastic($4), hauling heavier bales, extra labour, hauling 1/3 more bales two times cost?

Where did the 6 or 7 percent come from? Is that above and beyond waste from making wetter bales? On $70 bales fed the first year 7% is $4.90.
I used your number of 1/15.

Another interesting anomaly with feeding baleage I have found is that a baleage bale feeds almost as many cows as a dry feed bale. I know that goes against conventional wisdom but that's been our experience over the years.
 

Rydero

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I used your number of 1/15.

Another interesting anomaly with feeding baleage I have found is that a baleage bale feeds almost as many cows as a dry feed bale. I know that goes against conventional wisdom but that's been our experience over the years.

I'm sorry but unless you make it extremely dry it just can't feed close to the same. Part of my job is making rations for my bosses herd. We weigh what goes out to the cows. Cows eat approx 20lbs more silage vs dry feed, depending on the moisture level. If you're finding that I'd say you don't actually know what your bales weigh or you were over feeding/not forcing them to clean up the dry hay.
 

Silver

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I'm sorry but unless you make it extremely dry it just can't feed close to the same. Part of my job is making rations for my bosses herd. We weigh what goes out to the cows. Cows eat approx 20lbs more silage vs dry feed, depending on the moisture level. If you're finding that I'd say you don't actually know what your bales weigh or you were over feeding/not forcing them to clean up the dry hay.
They likely do consume 20lbs more silage (depending on moisture content) to get the DM they need. I have crop insurance weigh my bales every year so I can tell you I have a pretty good inclination as to what they weigh. My silage bales are heavy, I'll give you that. I make silage bales 58-60" in diameter, dry hay about 68. If you think about it, that 68 inch dry bale is really only a 64" bale of good hay at best. I think it is fair to say that by volume dry hay and silage are similar in DM.
edit: and if that 68" dry hay bale has 4" of waste on the outside it is now only a 60" bale
 

Buck Randall

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The nutrient content of the feed may not differ too much between dry and wet feeds, but the digestibility of preserved feeds is always going to be higher. The loose manure isn't necessarily too much protein, just more rapid digestion and throughput along with higher water intake. High producing dairy cows all have loose manure; it's the rapidly digestible wet feed passing through quickly instead of spending more time in the large intestine where the water is absorbed.
 

Lee VanRoss

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Not to debate silage, haylage or dry hay all I know is anytime you put iron and oil between the sun and the ground it is going to cost money.
I realize it's off subject but for myself I prefer more cattle in less space moved more often over a longer period of time.
 

Rydero

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They likely do consume 20lbs more silage (depending on moisture content) to get the DM they need. I have crop insurance weigh my bales every year so I can tell you I have a pretty good inclination as to what they weigh. My silage bales are heavy, I'll give you that. I make silage bales 58-60" in diameter, dry hay about 68. If you think about it, that 68 inch dry bale is really only a 64" bale of good hay at best. I think it is fair to say that by volume dry hay and silage are similar in DM.
edit: and if that 68" dry hay bale has 4" of waste on the outside it is now only a 60" bale
I don't see 4" of waste on a bale the year I make it. Maybe climate difference - it's generally frozen after the beginning of November here. Any precipitation doesn't come as water or soak in. By volume it'd be somewhat close. Here we generally make a 72" dry bale. Silage bales I've been around have been approximately 55" so we can't substitute them 1 for 1.
 

cfpinz

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They likely do consume 20lbs more silage (depending on moisture content) to get the DM they need. I have crop insurance weigh my bales every year so I can tell you I have a pretty good inclination as to what they weigh. My silage bales are heavy, I'll give you that. I make silage bales 58-60" in diameter, dry hay about 68. If you think about it, that 68 inch dry bale is really only a 64" bale of good hay at best. I think it is fair to say that by volume dry hay and silage are similar in DM.
edit: and if that 68" dry hay bale has 4" of waste on the outside it is now only a 60" bale
You have a 605SM/N, don't you? Out of curiosity, what are your silage bales and dry bales running on average, weight wise?

Thanks.
 

Silver

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You have a 605SM/N, don't you? Out of curiosity, what are your silage bales and dry bales running on average, weight wise?

Thanks.
Dry bales average about 1,700 lbs, silage bales all over the map depending on moisture. 2000 lbs is common. But some of my silage bales are actually about 2 percentage points off of being hay. Some will about lift the back tractor wheels off the ground when you pick them up with the loader.
 

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