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Thought I would share my new round bale moving and also hay waste reduction method its working great

 
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gardener
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Nice job. Do you know if there's any downfall to storing the hay on the flat vs the round? I suppose a tarp would solve any issues. But curious if rain would penetrate deeper if set that way. Any idea? This is my first time buying a qty (8 round bales). Some may sit for 4 or 5 months.
 
Jared Holesmith
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wayne fajkus wrote:Nice job. Do you know if there's any downfall to storing the hay on the flat vs the round? I suppose a tarp would solve any issues. But curious if rain would penetrate deeper if set that way. Any idea? This is my first time buying a qty (8 round bales). Some may sit for 4 or 5 months.



I always cover mine, but just based on every farmer I know putting them on there side when not covering them and just looking at them I also think that rain would saturate them much easier with the flat side up than the rounded side. Just think of how there made, with the rounded side up you have layers on top of layers so the outside few layers will get wet but will also act as sorta a roof for the inner layers, where as the flat side is not layered really. That being said not being covered I am sure you have a lot more loss. Also the bit sitting on the ground will also suck up moisture and rot.

The last 2 bales I picked up had sat out in a field in rowe's for at least a few months uncovered and about the outside 4 inches you could tell had been damp but the rest was dry, I put tarps on them but only covered them about 1/2 the way so air could still get around them and they dried out pretty well probably still be fine for the sheep there not as picky as some animals.

Another thing in the past I have found is that if your in a snow area and you put them on the ground the bottom 4-8 inches may freeze down depending on what kind of snow/ice rain you get so you will have a lot of loss that way, that is the other reason I wanted them off the ground the last few years I have put them up on pallets and blocks but I think this solution is going to work better especially if after they eat one down I can drag the skid out I am hoping it won't freeze down to bad. I only made 3 skids and have 6 bales 2 move.

Oh also one thing I Have found from feeding them on there side like this rather than standing is the best hay is always in the middle so standing the sheep would eat out the middle and not be as interested in the outside, by having them on there side like this they have to eat into the bale to get to the center it seems to keep them more interested in the bale and I think helps with waste.
 
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I move round bales for my sheep using a log loader and it works well too; it is fast as I can get three on the trailer pretty easy and then roll down the field pretty quickly, but obviously I use the log loader for other purposes.

I have never had any freeze to the ground because the hay acts as insulation and keeps the ground from freezing, but I do lose a few inches to weathering if left uncovered. I just peel this off,lay it upside down and let my sheep graze on what they feel is good or not. I live on top of a hill so tarping anything is a lesson in frustration, but that is my little micro-climate and I know others are a bit better protected. I could save some hay by protecting it with shelter, but it would be hard to justify the cost of a building for $35 hay bales.

I also learned a long time ago to put hay in racks. It takes a few extra minutes, but saves me a lot in hay waste. I track my waste and right now I am only losing 10% or so, which is really low. Even with racks you get some waste, but despite building all kinds of special racks for round bales, and yes ones designed specially for sheep, they never worked. Lambs would get on top of the bale and soon destroy it. So I designed some racks, was not sure how they would work, but two years later they have held up well, never broke and really are convenient. I say that because they fold in and out of the barn wall. As the sheep eat the hay, they push on the racks and thus shut it for us. Pushed in they cannot rub on them and break them. At the same time they are pushed in when we clean out the barn with the tractor, keeping them well out of our way.

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