Wrapped Hay

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Well-known member
Dec 22, 2006
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west virginia
I am wondering how others make wrapped hay? Folks here cut, let dry for day or two the bale and wrap. Some of the posts I've read say cut,bale,wrap all in one day. Which is best and why? I thought you should aim for 50-60 percent moisture. Is that right?
I've always heard 50-60% moisture for feeds stored in sealed containers. There are some guys that bale immediately after cutting but more commonly I've heard guys that cut in the morning and bale it that afternoon. They give a little time to wilt.
we put up baleage once.an we would cut in the morning an bale in the evening.or cut in the evening an bale the next morning.warning do not cut more hay than you can bale an wrapp that day.
How do you tell when its ready or not, that 50 to 60 percent. What I have done is the top is dry and bottom damp or green. How green is to green or is that possible?
50-60% is ideal! There are a lot of variables to get to that point though; maturity of the crop, dew, type of cutter, humidity, and so on. I have let sudex dry for 4 days before baling and still had 54% moisture. I have also baled Fescue as soon as I got the mower unhooked. I have also let fescue get rained on to bale it. Fescue haylage is hard to beat if its cut in time!!! I like to set my father to raking when the leaves/blades are in a GOOD wilt, I'll start baling in an hour. I raked my Haybeans and pearl millet earlier because I didn't want to beat the leave off the vine, I just let it dry a little more in the row. About the only thing you can do really wrong is bale it to wet, 70-90%. A day of good curing on most any crop will at least get you below 70%, but not always. One "oldtimer" told me " if it looks like it will bale tomorrow dry, you need to have the baler going already", I try to keep that in mind.

I can't give you exact moisture readings cause my meter goes haywire after 30%. I can tell you that you are getter off wrapping it drier than ideal than wetter than ideal. Here, if you cut it this afternoon you can plan on baling it the next afternoon if nothing happened between times and it will come out pretty. Bale it too wet and you will have rot.

We have a rule similar to sizmics rule, "if it (meaning the top layer) looks like its ready to bale - bale it." The underside of the grass will have plenty of moisture and it will turn out nice.

A lot of this was hit an miss for us until we found what worked the best for us.
I should also say that it will keep longer the drier it is. yogee is right, to wet and it will rot, UNLESS you are going to feed it right away. Most of the time though if it is that wet you will never get it wrapped unless you have one heck of a tractor and a real stout loader!

sizmic":3qtdralx said:
Most of the time though if it is that wet you will never get it wrapped unless you have one heck of a tractor and a real stout loader!

Ain't that the truth. Even after reducing the size of the bales to about 4.5 foot they will still work a tractor under 100 hp. I've used a TN 65 before but it was scarey.

Don't know if it matters or not but the best millet baleage I ever put up was supposedly at 40% moisture. I don't know if the tester was accurate or not but that is what it said. We also inoculated the millet at the throat of the baler using bucheneri 500. After about 2 weeks it was really sweet smelling and golden colored and the cows really loved it.
Jogeephus":2aplfym3 said:
Don't know if it matters or not but the best millet baleage I ever put up was supposedly at 40% moisture. I don't know if the tester was accurate or not but that is what it said. We also inoculated the millet at the throat of the baler using bucheneri 500. After about 2 weeks it was really sweet smelling and golden colored and the cows really loved it.
I am thinking of doing haylage or sileage bales ( whichever you prefer to call it)next yr on my coolgrazer rye and then on my millet and haybeans
i have never done it before and was wondering do you innoculate all of you haylage or just certain types and why
I looked at a new baler yesterday and am planning on buying a sileage baler when I go ahead and purchase a new one ( wife said I could :banana: ) this yr
baled 10s of 1000s bales of hay but never sileage bales before so any info is appreciated
I seen a baler yesterday that chopped,baled and bagged all in one pass it was neat but it was also $98,000.00 the one I looked at had baled 10,000 bales this yr was made in Ireland and was quite the machine it was a McHale
AC, when it comes to the baleage I'm just the help but I do listen and I can even learn sometimes. The setup we are using is simply a New Holland baler with the baleage attachement on it. This is is just a beefier pickup in the throat. The baler is nothing extraodinary in any way it just has this attachement and still bale any other type of hay. Not as fast as a JD but it does make a prettier roll.JMO I guess what I'm saying is that its versital and not anything out or reach financially.

You can spend a lot of money on a sprayer attachement but what we did was simply mount a tank on the front of the tractor and use an electric pump to send the solution to the rear of the tractor where we mounted a small boom so it sprays the windrow just before it enters the baler. Total cost of this was about $300 and some time.

We use an Anderson table wrapper. Its self propelled and all you gotta do is aim it in the right direction and keep it fed with bales and it will do the rest. One person can do this easily. (This is my job and if I can do it well ... you know)

In my opinion the baleage is wonderful feed. The cows love it and they will eat it quicker than any other hay I put in front of them. But there are some drawbacks to using it. Personally, I don't like the weight of the bales and I don't like the plastic. Its also a messy job taking the plastic off and I don't like smelling like a wino after feeding it. Also, once you tube it it really needs to be close to where you are going to feed it cause moving it once wrapped is not really practical. Nevertheless, you will have to move it either wrapped or unwrapped and its heavy. Really heavy.

The good points are its just wonderful feed. Not as cheap as sileage but more financially attainable in the short run. Its also an excellent insurance policy if your hay gets rained on or if you have a year like we did in 2002 when it rained every 3 days all summer. You can still put up hay. To me, this is the best selling point cause with a baleage system you can cut hay every 28-30 days no matter what and its just gives you peace of mind and that's worth something.

Hope this was helpful.

Here is a pic of the wrapper I use.
If I may chime in, wrapped hay is just plain old more effiecient from a time standpoint. Like Jo said you can just about get your hay up on your schedule, not someone else's.

When we bought our JD567 the "wet kit" was an extra $300. That was a no-brainer even though I had never wrapped any hay before. Believe me when I say, pay the extra money for a wet kit if offered. My buddy wanted to wrap some wheat to wean his calves on, after cleaning his 566 "no kit" out about 20 times, I went and got mine for him to use. Never messed up after that. Mine has wadded up a time or two but that was because my scraper bar was out of adjustment.

As for inoculant I'll say, it can't hurt but I've never tried it. I have thought about mounting one of my atv sprayers on the baler, thats basically all they are, but I would need the right nozzle and timing.

Plastic is burdensome but managable. Ours is an Anderson also and I think this is better than the single wrap jobs, they use way less plastic. Get the good plastic too, and pile it on. We get about 60 bales for every 2 rolls of plastic.

I don't know if this is right but someone told me all that plastic is just basically replacing the cows first stomach. Meaning, your not adding anything to the crop to make it better, just making it more digestable.

If you are gonna run haybeans make sure you have some sort of cereal grain with it. Soybeans are low in sugar and need the sugar in the cereal grain to help it ferment properly. I don't know if inoculant would solve this or not.

Haylage works great for us!

Thanks guys
I was just looking at the McHale baler because it was there and pretty neat
The new baler I buy will be a NH BR7060 sileage special
I usually try and plant millet with my beans and I might not sileage them just depends on the weather but the main reason I was wanting to try was on the cool grazer Rye because getting it up in late April or May is hard sometimes and I would like to be able to bale it in April and alot of times it will come back enough to bale in late May or Early June and then I plant the millet and haybeans in those same fields
I probably wouldn't bale but 3-500 bales of sileage pr yr but like you, having the option would be nice
as for a wrapper a couple of neighbors have them and they get $5 per bale to wrap one has a Tubeline and the other has a Anderson was gonna try the baleage a yr or so before I invested the $$$ in a wrapper of my own unless I could find a good one for a decent price

Another thing I was looking at is I can store 1000 bales in barns and this yr I quit baling because I have sold 400 bales and still have 3-400 sitting outside alot of the guys around here wrap their dry hay also for storage they just make sure it has gone thru the heat process before wrapping , so i was looking at wrapping for storage purposes also any opinions on that
To those who have replied, how would/do you justify the costs of purchasing a wrapper. The single bale wrappers are around $14000 or more and the tube line are 20000 or better. With cattle prices so low how does one justify the costs. Its better feed but vs. other options covers, or putting in barn do you really think it is a great advantage? As you can see I'm on the fence here, and thinking about investing in a single bale wrapper but just dont know if it is cost effective for me to do so. I typically feed 350-400 4x5 rolls a winter and do all my own hay on my own place. Already have the baler but would need another tractor to run wrapper. So theres my dilema. I like the feed of wrapped hay but dont know if it would pay to purchase one to do my own. It costs me $6.00 a blae to get it wrapped by someone else, but as usuall I feel it is a bother for them to wrap my hay. Thanks for all the input.
sorry to hijack your thread
but I am wondering the same as far as a wrapper purchase goes as for the tubeline machines the ones I looked at are self propelled and from what I have heard by talking to others they say the single wrappers aren't near as good as the tube wrappers
I don't think you could justify any wrapping system unless you are using 1000 plus rolls per year. Barn is just so much cheaper. In my situation I prefer to put up everything dry and I can usually pick my days. When I'm helping my buddy, he doesn't have that option and we might have 200 acres on the ground and try and get it up before it rains. But if it rains or if the weather doesn't cooperate then you have a fortune laying on the ground and a wrapper can save this and pay for itself. I look at it as more of an insurance policy than anything else cause there are several things I don't like about it.(mainly the shear weight) Thankfully I don't have to buy the equipment as he and I work together on stuff when the need arises.
Rather a disjointed response:
Neighbor has a JD (don;t recall the number) Silage special. That thing will bale stuff that is so wet that you can squeeze water form it, clogs like crazy with really dry stuff. For baleage we make 4 1/2 bales rather then a generous 5 like we do for dry hay (cecause of the weith of the wet stuff). Plastic costs go up every year, a building for hay storage is a one shot deal other then insurance. Stacking wrapped bales doesn;t work, you end up needing a lot more space for bale storage. Being able to bale wet speeds up the baling but the wrapping addds cionsiderable time to the process. His cows (dairy) eat baleage like candy, my beef cows and his beef cows won;t touch the stuff. Persoanlly the stink of fermented sileage/baleage makes me sick, the smell permeates everything. Manure form a co eating it is a rwal maggot gagger.
ok ill jump in here again.i would not use the tube bale wrapper.because the coons an vermitts will puncter the bagg.thus causing the baleage not to fermint correctly.an its a holy mess feeding the hay.because its no fun picking the plastic up.so id use the single bale wrapper.now for the cost,you can rent the wrapper.itll be more cost effective.
We just bought a used single wrapper. We have a JD 466 baler, was kinda curious what the wet kit was yall were referring to and the sprayer that mounts to the baler. For us besides better feed, the ability to bale almost anyday was a big seller for us. In Fl is seems like it could rain EVERYDAY for a month. Hard putting up dry hay sometimes. If I can cut five acres or so in the morn, 90 degree heat, should be able to bale before the afternoon rains.
Maybe I'm wrong but from the way you're all talking the tube wrapper does a row of bales all at once. My question is, when you go to feeding out doesn't that open up the tube and expose all the other bales? Is it similar to feeding off a silage pile where if you feed it out at a fast enough rate you're fine? The other thing I am curious about is has/does anyone chop their hay similar to silage and make a pile? There are several people in this area who do it this way. I would think this would save a lot of time and expense. The one potential problem I see is there would likely be more waste.

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