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Questions about round bales

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  • How to reduce waist when feeding round bales
  • Leftover round bale hay waist deep

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    12-29-2011, 10:36 PM
Round bales from properly cured hay that are stored correctly pose no greater risk than square bales with regard to mold and botulism (or finding dead critters in your hay).
Once a round bale is out in your pasture, how soon mold becomes a problem is totally dependent on your weather. The only time we have to watch for mold here is in the hot, humid, summer months after lots of rain (the perfect mold environment) when there is still a lot of pasture available, I.e. They eat less hay and a round bale can last 3 weeks. Mold has never been a problem when the weather is dry or during the winter (where the mares go through a round bale in 6-7 days).
With the weather around here, you generally come out ahead $$-wise using round bales starting at 3 horses....they can eat it fast enough so mold isn't a problem.
If you do use round bales, in addition to a hay ring, if you put the bale on a pallet to keep it off the ground and daily rake the tossed out hay and throw it back in the ring, you'll drastically reduce your waste. Our mares will eat every bit down to the pallets and our waste is < 5%.
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    12-29-2011, 11:06 PM
Large rounds are fine,have fed them on and off my whole life.If they're baled right,stored right,and you should naturally inspect it like any hay you buy.Have a nitrates test done if you like.Handling them can be a hassle for some folks,but generally speaking you come out ahead when you break down cost per ton vs. small squares.
    12-30-2011, 01:06 PM
We usually cut and bale our own hay - bermuda/clover/fescue and native grass "prairie" hay. Last year, we miscalculated and ran a little short because we sold more than we should have. We had to buy a few round bales at $25 for a 1,200 pound bale. It was crap hay - full of leaves and brush - but there was enough grass in it to keep the horses going until the pasture came on.

This year, that same crap hay is selling for $125 - $130/bale. We only got two bales of hay off of our field that normally produces about 200 bales or more in two separate cuttings. This means that we are reduced to buying all of our hay (an expense we can ill afford, but I will find a way - I always do). I won't touch that crap hay this year - by the time the horses picked though those bales, they wasted probably 60% or more - all inedible trash. We've opted for hay from our feed store that's being brought in from "up north." It's been really nice hay - timothy/orchard/brome - but the bales only weigh about 750 - 800 pounds and cost $100 each. For our little herd of six - a bale will only last about 5 days. But...square bales cost nearly three times as much per ton at the feed store, so we'll stick with the round bales. Have yet to see any mold at all - they are stored outside, but are baled nice and tight, and net wrapped, so there is very little weathering.

"They" say this dang drought will continue through next fall. I sure hope it's not as bad as it has been. Even a little rain will bring on our hay fields - what we grow is remarkably drought tolerant...most of the time...
    12-30-2011, 01:32 PM
Ohhhhh, I hope "they" are wrong Dee!!!

We usually get two cuttings off of 1,000 acres. This year here in AR we only got 1 cutting. We are hurting BAD! We sold our 600-800Lb. Bales for $55 each, kept the smaller ones for ourselves and are now running waaaay short. People sometimes get on the "Evil" hay dealers/suppliers for the prices but with half the crop this year we make half the profit AND we still have to pay for the hay equiptment, tractors, repairs, land, etc. We sold ours to Texas and didn't gouge the prices. We even chipped in 20 bales that were trucked down there for the rescues. I'm glad we did it, but my rows are quickly disappearing! If I run out now, we will be buying some local crud at $150+.
    12-30-2011, 01:50 PM
I hear you Flygap! Personally, I don't think it's the hay growers that are responsible for the high hay prices. Most of the hay growers I know are selling their hay for pretty much what they normally do. Hay truckers are making really good money - charging $3.50 - $4.00 per mile to haul a load of hay - they didn't charge nearly that much last year, and fuel prices are definitely not higher this year.

A lot of hay suppliers/distributors (AKA middlemen) are jacking up the prices - they will charge whatever the market will bear, and those of us in Oklahoma and Texas are stuck with paying those astronomical prices, or selling our beloved horses.
    12-30-2011, 02:27 PM
In this area, I think it is at least to some extent the hay growers jacking up the price.

A guy I bought hay from last year for $25/bale is now charging $80!

Luckily another guy I bought hay from kept his hay the same price, and had hay for me - which is great since my boys liked his hay the best (went through 3 different hay guys last year)
    12-30-2011, 02:27 PM
Yep, it's the middlemen. One guy we sold to sold ours for $150 each down there. Shocking! I did see some pretty stupid farmers cutting AND baling 2nd cut hay in the rain this year while I was going down the road! We let our fields rest instead of putting out moldy crap and just brushhogged it.
I hogged my pastures a little too late this year because we waited to cut hay and I burned them up. /:(
So normally I don't need much hay but all that grew in the drought was the weeds... Argh!!!!!
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    12-31-2011, 11:22 AM
Round Bales

Well, after reading all the comments posted, here is my 2cents.
I live in Wisconsin, I have 80 acres for 5 horses,I buy round bales in the winter for them 1800-2000 pound bales, 2nd crop alfalfa mix twine wrapped and leave the triwn on (not plastic or net I remove that) the twine holds the bales together, less waste that way.
I buy 25 bales at a time and he puts them all out in the field and behind the 2 story barn, they also forage if the snow is not to deep.
Net wrap bales have little to no waste, the netting sheds the rain off.
Hay does not mold inside the bale after it is put up correctly,and does not have to be covered, my horses have 4-5 bales left over by spring and that will get them through until the grass starts growing in the fields & pasture(42 acres).
Always buy 2nd or 3rd cutting bales, round or small squares, inspect the hay, you can smell mold if the hay is moldy and also Do Not BUY Dusty Hay, Their is no cure for Heaves .
Good Luck
    12-31-2011, 11:56 AM
Dee, I disagree with your reply.
I have owned horses for 45+ years and have gone through a few drought years, when ever their is a Drought, Hay prices go up, it is called Supply & Demand.
We had a bad dry year in 1987 I had 42 horses at that time and hay was $125.00 a round bale shipped in from North Dakota to Wisconsin.
Trucks only get 8-9 miles per gallon of fuel and Diesel is higher than Gasoline, Besides all the other expences to run a truck down the road, Plates, Authorty, DOT permit,Ifta permit, Insurance, Tires($500.00 each and there is 18 of them, and his payments for the Truck & Trailer ( $2500.00 - $3500.00 per month) many more expences to mention here, Plus the time to tie the load down and tarp the load, and the time it takes to deliver the load , and that is not counting the load & unloading the load, with that said how much do you think that driver made on that one load of hay?

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