Protect your feedstuff: 4 factors farmers need to consider

Feedstuff is a big expense on a farm. The growth in the herd, the quality and quantity of milk production, the increase in meat and simply the health and condition of the animals directly depend on their quality and balance. That is why they are given such close attention.

Feedstuff quality

The quality of grass feedstuff and hay is affected by:

  • growing conditions;
  • soil fertility;
  • variety;
  • pests;
  • weeds;
  • cutting time;
  • packaging materials;
  • storage conditions.

Bales in the bale net wrap by Polypak can be left in the field. However, the quality of packaged feedstuff will be better if your bales are under additional protection. After all, spoiled product means wasted money and time that you invested during mowing, raking, baling, and also in assembly at the storage location.

Numerous studies have shown that bales wrapped in a bale net wrap are stored better than those wrapped in twine. But the final quality of packaged feedstuff is also influenced by factors such as: 

  • bale density — the denser the bale, the higher the chances that it will be stored for a long time without spoilage;
  • climatic conditions — high humidity and large amounts of precipitation, as well as temperature changes can lead to a deterioration in the quality of hay stored in the open air;
  • contact with the ground and sediment — even a dense bale when installed on a “base” will absorb a lot of water if the storage area is located in a low area, and this will lead to spoilage of the feedstuff.

In this article you will find some tips to help you keep your Polypak bale net wrapped feedstuff in the best condition.

Choosing a storage location

Storing bales to maximize feedstuff value is best done under cover or in a shed, but even if this is not possible, there are still ways to reduce potential damage from natural elements.

  • Choose a location that has good drainage and air flow. Ideally, the site will be located on a hill, in a place that is not prone to flooding and with heavier and denser soils.
  • On a flat field, be sure to consider the general direction of the wind to minimize the amount of moisture near the bales.

Bale orientation

The popular method of stacking bales in a pyramid is not optimal. It is preferable to line up the bales in a single row with a distance of at least 1 meter between rows, but with their flat sides close to each other. It is best to make a north-south orientation to ensure maximum positive exposure to the sun and speed up drying after rains.

Bale bottom protection

Most commonly, plastic sheeting, pallets, gravel, asphalt, or an additional layer of straw are used to break the bale’s contact with the ground. The specific option depends directly on what is available on the farm, as well as the owner’s preferences.

Bale top protection

We have already written about possible options in this article, here we will simply list them again: barn;

  • tarpaulin or silage film;
  • stretch film;
  • agrofibre;
  • shed.

Any of the options will require money. And each method has its pros and cons. However, keep in mind that when storing hay indoors, the loss is about 5 %, and just in the field without shelter and site preparation — about 25-30 %. Keep this in mind when deciding how to store your net wrapped bales.