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hay preservative?


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#1 jd4230ps

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 11:18 PM

I have never used a preservative.before. I custom bale 4K to 5K round bales each year 99 % is bermuda. This year I have 150 acres wheat hay to bale. This time of year here (north Texas)it is almost impossible to get hay baled before it is rained on. Does preservative require special equipment to apply? Cost of applicator? Some posts I have read here say some preservatives are corrosive. Don't want to put anything in my baler that would do any damage. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

#2 Josh in WNY

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 08:12 AM

jd4230ps, I am by no means an expert when it comes to preservatives, but hopefully I can answer a few of your questions.

First off, all the preservatives that I have seen do require special equipment to apply, usually on the baler. The one that I picked up a couple years ago was a Harvest Tech application system for a JD small square baler (but all the liquid applicators are similar in how they work). There is a tank which holds the solution you are using, a pump which pressurizes the liquid and a nozzle system of some sort that sprays the preservative on the hay as it moves through the pick-up of the baler. Other things that can be added in are moisture sensors to tell how much to apply and automatic controllers which will change the amount of preservative applied depending on the moisture of the hay.

As far as cost, that depends on the type of system you buy (or build yourself). I picked my unit up for $700 and it was the fully automatic version (one of the older styles) that included the in-chamber moisture sensor, automatic controller and even the "eyes" that are mounted on the pick-up to turn the nozzles on and off depending on if there was hay moving through the pick-up. Some of the other guys on here might be able to help you a little better as far as prices for a round baler system.

As for being corrosive, a lot of the preservative systems out there are some sort of acid that acts to stop or slow the growth of mold or bacteria in the hay as it finishes drying out in the bale. Pretty much all of these are now a buffered acid solution so that they are not as corrosive as their previous versions. If you take normal precautions, corrosion shouldn't be too much of a problem. Again, I don't have a ton of experience with the stuff yet, but I haven't noticed any problems with my equipment so far.

Hope I answered some of your questions. Good luck with your hay.
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#3 hay wilson in TX

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 03:31 PM

In this corner of the world a preservative has been used to extend the open window when hay can be baled with out molding.

Most Round balers I have heard of used a dry inoculant spread on the hay at the pickup with a Gandy Spreader.

Baling fully cured hay with a full sized round baler you want to start baling as the Humidity Down Next to the Windrow goes through 65%. With a preservative of some sort you might be able to start baling as the humidity is going through 70% maybe even 72.5% RH.

When baling both rounds and squares in the same field at 65% humidity the hay test will show roundbales to be 1% lower CP than the square baler. That represents an extra loss of leaves, but the pounds of hay lost I have no way to measure.
Hay baled at 55% RH the Round Bales will be 2% lower CP than the square bales.
Bermudagrass is visably worse about shedding leaves than alfalfa.

On my square baler I used a constant pressure spray system, and varied the amount of acid on the hay by changing gears to slow or speed up the ground speed. This is easier with a square baler because we can count strokes per bale and calibrate for 15 strokes per bale. If the hay has a little extra morning dew drop back a gear and bale at 20 strokes per bale. When the hay is dry enough to bale at 12 strokes per bale, turn off the pump.

When I learned about baling cured hay with the morning dew, I quit worrying about a preservative. I just know how much hay I can bale between too damp and too dry and bale accordingly. Custom Baling has a different set of management needs.

Acid stinks, and is obvious for weeks after baling.
Preservatives work well with dew moisture but are more difficult for stem moisture.
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#4 JD3430

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 04:24 PM

jd4230ps, I am by no means an expert when it comes to preservatives, but hopefully I can answer a few of your questions.

First off, all the preservatives that I have seen do require special equipment to apply, usually on the baler. The one that I picked up a couple years ago was a Harvest Tech application system for a JD small square baler (but all the liquid applicators are similar in how they work). There is a tank which holds the solution you are using, a pump which pressurizes the liquid and a nozzle system of some sort that sprays the preservative on the hay as it moves through the pick-up of the baler. Other things that can be added in are moisture sensors to tell how much to apply and automatic controllers which will change the amount of preservative applied depending on the moisture of the hay.

As far as cost, that depends on the type of system you buy (or build yourself). I picked my unit up for $700 and it was the fully automatic version (one of the older styles) that included the in-chamber moisture sensor, automatic controller and even the "eyes" that are mounted on the pick-up to turn the nozzles on and off depending on if there was hay moving through the pick-up. Some of the other guys on here might be able to help you a little better as far as prices for a round baler system.

As for being corrosive, a lot of the preservative systems out there are some sort of acid that acts to stop or slow the growth of mold or bacteria in the hay as it finishes drying out in the bale. Pretty much all of these are now a buffered acid solution so that they are not as corrosive as their previous versions. If you take normal precautions, corrosion shouldn't be too much of a problem. Again, I don't have a ton of experience with the stuff yet, but I haven't noticed any problems with my equipment so far.

Hope I answered some of your questions. Good luck with your hay.


Josh,

Have you found that using preservative enables you to bale "iffy" hay (not sure if it's dry enough)
Have you ever seen mold on bales even after using preservative?

#5 Josh in WNY

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 04:33 PM

Josh,

Have you found that using preservative enables you to bale "iffy" hay (not sure if it's dry enough)
Have you ever seen mold on bales even after using preservative?


Two years ago was the first time we tried using preservative (Baler's Choice from the local NH/CaseIH dealer) and we only did a small test run of about 100 bales. We didn't have any problems with them, but we also had pretty good conditions while the hay was curing out in the loft. Last year we had a real easy time getting everything dried out and baled without using the preservative that we only ran another test run of it (my dad still doesn't completely trust it). I'm going to push for doing at least a semi-load of our hay this year with the preservative so that we can have a larger stack of it in the loft. The other reason we haven't pushed it too hard yet is we're still trying to get our customers to understand that it's OK for the horses and that it actually makes better hay (if done correctly).
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#6 Toyes Hill Angus

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 07:59 PM

I've pushed the line a bit when it come to preservatives. I have baled hay in small square bales in the very same feild at the same time as the round baler was working...and I wrapped the round bales. The hay was around 30% give or take, a little on the dry side to wrap but rain was coming and I used up the last of the acid that I had on hand. This was the last baling that I did last year, these bales went on top of the pile in the hay mow and the last bales in end up being the first out. Everything kept just fine, but the cost of using that much acid should be enough to make you not do it again (on purpose anyway). Preservatives are great for extending your baling window longer in the day, and at the low rate that is required to treat dew moisture it is a great option, but to try and treat 30% green hay you would go broke and I am not sure how well it would work, keep in mind the real wet hay was fed in short order. Just my opinion, from limited experience.
So if "iffy" bales are your aim, have no fear acid can handle that for sure.
I also use the Harvest Tec/Baler's Choice product, but mine is branded by CIH as 30 plus.
http://www.harvesttec.com/ check out the preservative drop down window.

Edited by Toyes Hill Angus, 21 March 2012 - 08:04 PM.

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#7 Bob M

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 08:25 PM

I have been using the harvest tec system for a couple years now. I think it is a wonderful aid in baling hay. Each cutting and each year is different. The moisture meters on the baler are not 100% correct. Heavy air and or dew moisture will read higher the actual, and inside the stem moisture if air is dry may read lower than actual. When ground and or the enviroment has been wet usally early in the season, you will need to use a higher rate of acid. Not sure why, maybe more molds in the field. We have had some hay that did not keep with acid and it was less than 30%. Not sure you can take the art out of baling yet. Mother nature seems to teach me each year that I am not as smart as I think some times. I put acid on all the way down to 8%, I think it just makes better hay. A low rate about $ 4.00 /ton
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#8 rjmoses

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 09:11 PM

I used propionic acid on some small square bales a few years that went as high as 32% moisture--didn't lose a bale! But I did use a lot of acid. Last year, I added a Harvestec unit to my round baler. I had some issues with the nozzles and didn't get as good of a spray pattern as I wanted. I have since replaced the nozzle mountings with a different setup and plan on applying 4 lbs/ton regardless of the moisture level. I paid $1.01/lb for acid, so $4/ton is cheap insurance!

I want to be able to stack the bales immediately out of the field without having to go through a sweat.

Ralph
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#9 jd4230ps

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:10 PM

Still have preservative questions. If I bale grass hay at 17 to 22% moisture with proper amount of preservative , will bales be loose and settle when they dry completely.? 5X6 round.

#10 Bob M

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 06:13 AM

When the acid works correctly, i do not see any loose strings. If strings become loose better check the hay might not be good. I think when hay gets hot it is using energy from the hay and losing dry matter.
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#11 Gearclash

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 07:59 AM

I think when hay gets hot it is using energy from the hay and losing dry matter.


This is exactly what preservative is trying to avoid. Heat is the enemy of protein as it denatures it into less valuable forms.

I have seen midsize squares shrink a little when baled at the extreme limits of preservative. It is inevitable considering the substantial amount of moisture that will leave the bale after it is baled.

Remember that wet hay with preservative in it is still wet hay and need to be allowed to dry down after it has been baled.
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#12 JD3430

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 01:36 PM

Wow so much to learn. bet the learning curve is a lifetime! Too bad I dont have a lifetime left!

#13 Bob M

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 06:44 AM

Each year I think I am pretty smart and pretty good at baling hay, an each year mother nature shows me that I am not that smart. Making good hay is on a learning curve, and hopefully we will continue to learn each year.

#14 hay wilson in TX

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 07:11 AM

TRUE!
Remember that wet hay with preservative in it is still wet hay and need to be allowed to dry down after it has been baled.

Edited by hay wilson in TX, 07 April 2012 - 07:14 AM.


#15 wjkrostek

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 02:13 PM

where I bale it always iffy. The preservative with the prop acid does work if applied correctly. I only bales 3,000 little squares and made my own spray rig to apply it. I apply acid to meet the requirements for the wettest hay I'm going to bale and just apply acid to all of it the same that way I don't have some treated with some that not treated in the same stack. Of course my fields are small most are 10 acres or smaller. I have a question for the people that us the auto applicators. How do you do fields that change all the time between dips and hill tops or next to trees? Seems to me that there would be a lot of acid on some bales and none on others. How can you stack it all in one stack? Around here you have to pick it up as quick as you can bale it or it will rain.

#16 Toyes Hill Angus

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 03:06 PM

...and there is where reality sets in... IN practical application it is not feasible to leave green hay out. The only reason I go to the expense of using preservatives is looming crappy weather, storms, cloudy, high humidity etc. Otherwise I would leave the hay in the windrow, in the feild to dry. I have no practical area to store 1000 or so bales to sweat out. I am sure there will some more insight to my approach to follow by other users, what I do is stack the hay in the barn on its side in as few layers as possible, and closely monitor the temperature inside the plie by inserting a 1/2" rod into the center of the stack. Every day for at least a week, I wil remove the rod and feel it with my hand, warm means continue to monitor, too hot to touch means apply massive amounts of water asap. I don't bale any wetter than 27% (any more than a few hundred), because at this level the cost of acid is nearly the same a wrapping, so I will round bale and wrap. And I have never had anything get hot enough to be worried about.(knock on wood)

#17 Gearclash

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 07:45 AM

I have a question for the people that us the auto applicators. How do you do fields that change all the time between dips and hill tops or next to trees? Seems to me that there would be a lot of acid on some bales and none on others


Yes, this can be the case, but usually only with grass hay which can be more variable in tonnage and moisture across the field here. Alfalfa tends to be much more consistant. If there are only a few bales that get preservative, we don't worry about them. If most of the bales get preservative, then they all get stacked as though they are wet. The Harvest Tec System that we use shows us what the moisture level is, and what the preservative application rate is, on the fly. I don't joke when I say that that moisture monitor is so sensitive that it will register a moisture spike from just one tough slice in our 2'x3' bales.

I have no practical area to store 1000 or so bales to sweat out.

At some level baling with preservative becomes impractical, especially with small squares.




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