When is alfalfa dry enough to bale?

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KNERSIE

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After the spontaneious combustion thread i am wondering what methods you use to determine if alfalfa is dry enough to bale?

I was told that if you can still scratch the skin off the stems with a fingernail it isn't dry enough. Never had bales ignite using this method, but have had a few get some moldy spots inside.

I was recently told by an oldtimer who was a baeling contractor for years that he took a piece of stem between his thumb and indexfinger in both hands and made three circles with one of his hands, if the stem breaks within three twists its dry enough, if it doesn;t break completely off it isn't ready yet.

Comments?
 

mnmtranching

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I go by the stems, roll a stem with your fingers if it stays pliable, feels moist it's to green. As you know haying depends so much on weather, humidity, sunshine, wind. If it's good haying weather, stuff dries Sooooo nice, otherwise?
 

edrsimms

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We bale it at 30% moisture (laughs), because we spray Propionic acid on the windrow before it enters the round baler. Never gets hot, never molds, fed to horses every year (Propionic acid is a natural occurring substance in the horses' digestive system). The only problem is trying to get it baled before it gets too dry!
I know it didnt help your situation, but was intended ---food for thought.
 

m&kCattle

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Moisture tester, plain and simple. There is no guessing then. Bale at about 13% for dry hay and 18 - 20 when we wrap them.
 

hayray

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I use a moisture tester. I used to use the twisting it three times to see if a small handfull of stems would break, not as reliable as a moisture tester.
 

novaman

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m&kCattle":3vet89ha said:
Moisture tester, plain and simple. There is no guessing then. Bale at about 13% for dry hay and 18 - 20 when we wrap them.
Easier said then done. If you bale alfalfa when the moisture tester reads 13% you'll probably leave half the leaves laying in the field.
 

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