Many people know that wrapping your hay can increase your profit because you can sell your silage for more money because it has a better feed value, or if you are feeding to your own livestock you are going to make money because your livestock will gain weight faster, produce more milk, etc. For example, it takes 25lbs of dry hay to equal 1 lb of weight gain in cows vs only 8lbs of silage for that same 1 lb of weight gain.
Below are some tips we have gained from the most reliable inline balewrapper manufacture , Tubeline Manufacturing. Bernard Adam trains our dealerships yearly on the best practices for wrapping hay and the significant benefits he sees farmers gain from wrapping their hay.
When to Mow
It is recommend to mow during the vegetative stage of growth. How do you know when grass is in the vegetative stage? It’s before the heads are out, or less than 10% blooms on legumes. See the graphic below for a visual.
How short to Mow
Tubeline recommends mowing at 4” for your first cut, because it leaves a higher concentration of nitrates that help to boost regrowth, avoiding having to use money to put nitrates back in the ground.
Its important that you know the moisture content before you mow and wrap. Tubeline recommends starting to bale when you reach 40% dry matter (60% moisture). For legumes, you need 45% dry matter (55% moisture). They also recommend a simple moisture test that involves picking a sample of hay and using a microwave method and simple equation to get your moisture content with 100% accuracy (see pictures below)
Where to Wrap and Choosing a Plastic
It is recommended to wrap the hay at the storage site with a preferable system of no delay (max 4 hours) between baling and wrapping. Another recommended place is directly in the field on a flat well irrigated place. As far as choosing plastic, you are free to pick the one you like best, but make sure that it will provide excellent oxygen barrier and will keep CO2 inside the bale. You also need to choose one that will last at least one year outside in the sun and requires good UV protection.