Hay & Forage Forum banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, I was hoping someone might shed a bit of light on an issue we had with SMALL SQUARE BALES . . .

I had a hay equipment manufacturer agree to come out to do an equipment demo (his exact words were, he would leave it with us to use for a year if the system worked on our grasses- he had never tried them before).

Anyway . . .

He wanted to test it on an alflalfa field in addition to my orchard and teff grases, and my next door neighbor happened to grow a small field. I set everything up with my neighbor ahead of time on what days they would be out to bale. My neighbor had mentioned he saw an open window and would cut Monday, so I cut Monday as well - I grow orchard grass.
**I found out later that he didn't actually cut until Wednesday, however. . .

The dealers were scheduled to come out Thursday and demo Friday, but were delayed and ended up coming out on Friday late afternoon.

The dew was normal (heavy) each day, and temps about 78 degrees with decent breeze all week. I had been worried about my hay drying TOO FAST, so I didn't rake until Wednesday (Normally I would have started baling Wednesday and finished Thursday).

My neighbor raked thursday.

We baled most of our hay Friday, at about 14% Moisture. As we came to our Teff field, the air was getting damp and the teff sucked it right up. None of the guys thought to check the bales. Moisture on those jumped to 22% (it was 6:30pm, no due just higher humidity).

Rain was due that night, and I didn't want my neighbor's crop to get ruined, so we went over to bale his 2 acre field. I think we finished about 8pm. Things were acting damp, according to everyone on the field (I'm just baling, and they are checking bales and running an accumulator with a small tractor a bit behind me). Not even the field owner suggested we stop baling for the night . . .

It sprinkled a bit, enough to leave drops on my windshield, but not cover it.

The bales weighed-in at about 90+ lbs (normally we do 50-60lbs). No down pressure had been adjusted between any of the fields (baler is a New Holland 575 with 170lb synthetic twine)

After we had finished, I grabbed a handful of some missed hay and it didn't seem to want to break in my hand. I've never baled alflalfa before . . . no one told me until after that the bales were heavy... Could the moisture have been too high due to the evening or light quick rain, or was it maybe too green from the get-go? It had been on the field maybe 3 days . . .

The ground wasn't wet or dewy besides the small bit of rain that made it damp. . .

My concern isn't necessarily mold (he had cows and goats), but HEAT and FIRE. One bale was left in my baler and did get a bit of rain overnight. Baled more hay Saturday and found that bale 3 days later . . . it was HOT inside!

At what point should I go ask my neighbor to check his bales?

Were the conditions normal for alflafa baling and it was just not dry enough to begin with, or did the conditions ruin a perfectly dry crop?

Thanks!My neighbor has not said anything about the hay, but I am just worried for him and would feel awful if his barn caught fire!
 

·
Hay Master (Supposedly)
Joined
·
3,675 Posts
So your neighbor cut his alfalfa on Wednesday, raked it on Thursday, and it got baled on Friday? I doubt the alfalfa was dry to begin with, then if it got baled after the humidity set in . . . plus a few sprinkles . . . then thinking . . . if the driest of the grass was 14%, which is acceptable for grass -- but tells me that the drying conditions were not awesome or the moisture would have been lower.

My experience in this part of the world is that under reasonably good drying conditions it takes alfalfa about a day longer to get dry than grass; usually that means if the crop is cut on Monday, grass will be ready to bale Wednesday and alfalfa on Thursday. Usually. There are exceptions either way.

I would tell your neighbor to get his bales spread out so they can “sweat” and loose moisture as easily as possible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
78 degrees is closer to the temps for our 1st/last cuttings which I’d really like 4 full days for minimum

too short of drying time imho but they high humidity/sprinkles is insult to injury.. I’d make the trip over to the neighbors and check it out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,094 Posts
I'm in SW Michigan, at this time of year I allow a 4 day window. The most recent third cutting I finished on Friday, had cut it Wed at noon and tedded thursday around 1 pm but had perfect sunny haying weather. This was all grass. It got a light sprinkle Thurs afternoon (probably the same sprinkle you got) and was crispy dry by Friday afternoon.

The week prior to that, I had some third cutting alfalfa that was down for a total of three days and it was dry enough to go. However, at this time of year I stop baling by 7 pm. The humidity really starts to set in at that time, and if you were baling at 8 pm then it was too humid to be baling. At 8:30 it's getting dark. If there were any hay in a shadow, you can bet it was taking on moisture before the test of the field. I think you had a combination of his hay not being dry enough if he never tedded it PLUS weather conditions (sprinkle, plus late evening humidity). 90 lb bales must be some hot garbage by now. I'd make sure they're not heating up. My guys would have been chucking every one of them off the wagon if they were feeling too heavy.

BTW, tree-surrounded fields are a problem where I live. I always start baling on the west side of the field and work east so the shadow chases me across the field as the sun continues to set lower. I also harvest the fields surrounded by trees first so they have the most hours of sunlight. The wide open fields are done last. Even if a field is done only a week to 10 days later, the sun is setting 30 minutes earlier already.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
156 Posts
To directly respond to your question.....yes you need to talk to your neighbor and check his bales....

90# plus bale weight with your baler with 3' bales indicates green moist hay

There are a lot of factors that could have led to the issue...but yes you have a issue that needs to be monitored...if it were mine I would unstack the hay and teepee the bales if I had room to hopefully dissipate heat and moisture
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
366 Posts
Hey guys, I was hoping someone might shed a bit of light on an issue we had with SMALL SQUARE BALES . . .

I had a hay equipment manufacturer agree to come out to do an equipment demo (his exact words were, he would leave it with us to use for a year if the system worked on our grasses- he had never tried them before).

Anyway . . .

He wanted to test it on an alflalfa field in addition to my orchard and teff grases, and my next door neighbor happened to grow a small field. I set everything up with my neighbor ahead of time on what days they would be out to bale. My neighbor had mentioned he saw an open window and would cut Monday, so I cut Monday as well - I grow orchard grass.
**I found out later that he didn't actually cut until Wednesday, however. . .

The dealers were scheduled to come out Thursday and demo Friday, but were delayed and ended up coming out on Friday late afternoon.

The dew was normal (heavy) each day, and temps about 78 degrees with decent breeze all week. I had been worried about my hay drying TOO FAST, so I didn't rake until Wednesday (Normally I would have started baling Wednesday and finished Thursday).

My neighbor raked thursday.

We baled most of our hay Friday, at about 14% Moisture. As we came to our Teff field, the air was getting damp and the teff sucked it right up. None of the guys thought to check the bales. Moisture on those jumped to 22% (it was 6:30pm, no due just higher humidity).

Rain was due that night, and I didn't want my neighbor's crop to get ruined, so we went over to bale his 2 acre field. I think we finished about 8pm. Things were acting damp, according to everyone on the field (I'm just baling, and they are checking bales and running an accumulator with a small tractor a bit behind me). Not even the field owner suggested we stop baling for the night . . .

It sprinkled a bit, enough to leave drops on my windshield, but not cover it.

The bales weighed-in at about 90+ lbs (normally we do 50-60lbs). No down pressure had been adjusted between any of the fields (baler is a New Holland 575 with 170lb synthetic twine)

After we had finished, I grabbed a handful of some missed hay and it didn't seem to want to break in my hand. I've never baled alflalfa before . . . no one told me until after that the bales were heavy... Could the moisture have been too high due to the evening or light quick rain, or was it maybe too green from the get-go? It had been on the field maybe 3 days . . .

The ground wasn't wet or dewy besides the small bit of rain that made it damp. . .

My concern isn't necessarily mold (he had cows and goats), but HEAT and FIRE. One bale was left in my baler and did get a bit of rain overnight. Baled more hay Saturday and found that bale 3 days later . . . it was HOT inside!

At what point should I go ask my neighbor to check his bales?

Were the conditions normal for alflafa baling and it was just not dry enough to begin with, or did the conditions ruin a perfectly dry crop?

Thanks!My neighbor has not said anything about the hay, but I am just worried for him and would feel awful if his barn caught fire!
Will there be a video on this Suzanne? (I'm a subscriber) . And yes. Like has been said. That hay will definitely heat...especially without using any proprionic acid. If , big if (and from what you said about time since cutting...I highly doubt it.) The lucerne WAS dry. Baling up to 17% without acid is fine. I do it all the time in 8x4x3's and never have a problem. Over 17% and the acid goes on. BUT , that's for extremely dry hay with dew.
I would hazard a huge guess your neighbors hay was still green. And then to have a bit of night air on it will just make matters worse.
Tell him to pull the stack apart asap
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top