Wrapping Hay to Beat the Weather

Wrapping Hay to Beat the Weather April 10, 2017

If rain damage often plagues your hay making, you might consider using plastic wrap this year. Try baling it tough, then wrapping it with stretch plastic wrap to keep water and air out while keeping nutrients in.

Studies have shown excellent success wrapping bales containing 25% to 40% moisture.  After a full year in storage, the hay came out of the wrapping in great shape, with very little storage loss, a nice silage-like odor, and well-preserved nutrients.

Wrapping tough hay reduces weather risk because wrapping often occurs at least a day sooner than normal baling.  Both yield and forage quality can be higher because fewer leaves are lost than with dry hay.

Be sure to use polyethylene plastic film that is pre-stretched 50% to 70% by the wrapper as it’s applied to the bale.  White is the preferred color since it resists heating best.  Many farm supply stores either carry or can order it for baled silage. 

Wrapping hay does require a lot of plastic, though, which will cost $4 to $6 per bale.  The wrap should be 6-8 mils thick to maintain feed quality.  If you don’t use enough plastic or fail to repair any holes, this kind of hay can spoil very fast.

Resources

More information on wrapping hay bales/making baleage can be found at the following websites:

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