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Country Discussion Topics
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Loose vs. baled hay
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Tom A    Posted 08-21-2001 at 07:27:18       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Have been having perpetual baler problems, so I put up about half my hay baled and half loose--the old fashioned way. Noticed that my animals seem to prefer the loose to the baled when it is feeding time. They'll eat the baled stuff, of course, but over a couple of years it I've noticed that it seems like they attack the loose stuff but just munch the baled.

Mentioned it to an old friend who said they put up mostly loose hay in their dairy operation (in the 40s and early 50s) for just that reason; only baled when it was a great year and they couldn't fit all the hay in the barn.

So: Is loose hay better and baled just easier? Should I just scrap the baler and have a few more kids to help with the handwork? :-)

Tom


jerry    Posted 05-26-2002 at 12:54:24       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Whats the method to puting up hay. how do you dry the hay . do you rake it and leave it in the field to dry are do you load as you cut than take it in then let it dry than put it up Thanks jerry


tlak    Posted 08-27-2001 at 16:44:13       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Since I dont have a baler this is how I put up hay. I can put up a mountain myself. First I mow with my old bushhog, doesnt chew it up too fine, leaves some 6-12" long, then after it dries I rake it in to windrows. The rows would not be like for a baler, their larger single line rows. I then get my back blade and drag it to the barn. About the only problem since its not standard hay gathering practice is the backblade wants to roll over the load sometimes. The hay I put in the barn I just get a load in front of the door and turn around and push it in. I pile it up outside sometimes and throw a blue tarp over it and tie some old weight bench weights to the eyelets. Some improvements I thought about is if you used a high crop tractor and maybe had a larger backblade or landscape rake, that is wider and further back from the tractor. The other ideal is perfect for all the old wore out balers. Just use the pickup part and then run the hay to a conveyor and a trailer. Then just back the trailer under a lean to.


Hogman    Posted 08-27-2001 at 18:52:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
You'd be better off with a dump rake,would not lose as much leaf as You do with the blade ,could move a lot bigger batch and keep it cleaner.
I'd double rake,(wind row and go down them to make hay piles) get a pitch fork and load tha piles on Your trailer,haul ta barn'n unload again with pitch fork.
It was done that way for a lot of years befor balers'n all these newfangled goodies came along.


tlak    Posted 08-28-2001 at 04:45:17       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Could you describe a dump rake? Sorta figure if a machine can do it then use it, frees up time for other things.


Ole Cuss    Posted 08-22-2001 at 03:03:09       [Reply]  [No Email]

We put up hay using a 1948 Allis Chalmers Roto-Baler, making small round bales that are only 50 lb. The hay is wrapped into the round bale without need for further chopping "to size", so that when it is unrolled, it is fluffy. It has much less leaf shatter and damage than the product from square balers, so the hay retains excellent quality. Because it has no sharp cut ends, it doesn't poke the animals in the nose (horses especially hate that) and is more palatable; it is the only hay I've fed where the animals consistently clean it up, and my hay customers tell me the same thing.


magpie    Posted 08-21-2001 at 19:32:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yep it's my feeling too that animals prefer loose hay, I have put it in loose and also baled. I dont mind forking loose hay, it's easier than picking up bales. Only thing is it takes longer, takes more help, and takes more space. If it wasn't for the help part I'd do it all that way.


Dan G/Soganofla    Posted 08-21-2001 at 14:45:04       [Reply]  [Send Email]
It's been my feeling that loose hay is generally better. Hay is usually not completely cured in the field, and when we bale it tightly, a certain amount of mold develops in it. The loose hay gets to finish curing in the barn, especially if it is put up a little at a time. Just take a handful of your loose hay, and a handful of baled hay and smell it. I'm bettin' you can tell a difference.


OW - hay economics    Posted 08-21-2001 at 12:25:23       [Reply]  [No Email]
Really, no matter which way you put the hay up,
there will be no overall effect on the state's economy. (we only spend what we get every year) BUT - baling equipment, tools & fuel money supports a whole group of strangers.

On the other hand, ANY dollar spent on a local kid's wages gives him another opportunity to prove his self-worth & learn something. As long as the cows get fed, I'd support local kids all i could. How did our generation get started? :)



Les...fortunate    Posted 08-21-2001 at 11:22:35       [Reply]  [No Email]
I'm amazed that you can get any kids to help with haying these days, especially loose haying!! When I was growing up, we didn't have a baler until 1961. We used to hay loose until dad got sick of it and then hire someone to bale the rest. Dad especially liked to have loose hay up over the stable for its insulating quality.
I think the cattle probably like the feeling (and maybe the taste) of the loose hay better than baled hay which has been chopped and compacted. I'm no expert, that's just my gut instinct. I'd say if you can do it and don't mind, why not just hay loose?


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