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So we put up our first field of high moisture silage bales this year and the process was quite enjoyable. We have previously purchased baleage and have found it to be excellent feed. As I was wrapping I got to thinking though, if the economics balance out to wrap all our bales, dry or not, and wanted some opinions.

Thoughts (I am in Canada btw for pricing):
Based of DM loss and quality deterioration of dry hay stored outside seems to me there may be a case to wrap all hay including dry.
Font Material property Number Screenshot Parallel

Source: Big Bale Storage Losses; how different options stack up

Based on the above table (using uncovered on ground netwrap), if we say there is a 6-25% loss of DM we could average that to lets say 12% which seems to be a common number.
12% of a 1500lb 14% moisture bale equates to 154.8lbs of loss DM per bale, at a rate of .05/LB its an estimated loss of $7.74

if we wrapped that same bale (Plastic wrap on ground):
6% DM loss on a 1500lb 14% moisture bale equates to 77.4lbs of Loss, at a rate of .05/lb is an estimated loss of $3.87

Now those numbers don't exactly jive to make it worthwhile at $8/bale to wrap plus tractor and time, but my gut tells me that its a bit of a sliding scale. For instance if someone was to have bales left over from year one to year two. Losses would be expected to greatly exceed the 12%, where as the losses on the wrapped stuff from my experience seem to have a negligible increase.

Freedom from moisture concerns during the hay season is also a big factor as well, being able to reduce concerns for higher moisture hay, 20-30% and still bale it and wrap it all reducing downtime, and potential in field quality losses due to rain and weather factors. I think this in itself has a major economic value.

Looking at it from that perspective is there a case to wrap every bale? or am I way off in left field.

We put up around 300-400 bales, so wrap isn't cheap. But If I could go from 200 good quality fall bales and 200 kinda nasty spring bales to all bales being fresh all the time. Might be worth the time and effort.
 

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You don't just lose dry matter as dead weight, your nutrients are going to leach out too, and then what was the point of even baling the feed up to store it in the first place? IE, if someone tries to sell me feed that's been stored outside, I'm not just discounting for shrink I'm also discounting for lost feed value on top of that.
 

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I have a individual wrapper and the main reason I don't use it more is the labor aspect. As a one man show making hay as far away as 30 miles from the farm its hard to do any sort of volume in a day.

Its nothing for me to bale up 200+ dry 4x5.5 bales in an afternoon and then haul them home over the next few days.

If I bale it wet I absolutely have to haul them the day of baling AND get them wrapped sometimes 50 bales in a day can be a struggle for one guy.

Also a few years back I wrapped a bunch of hay at my 2nd farm. I didn't go over there for 4-5 weeks as I didn't have any cows there. Well the raccoons, coyotes, bears, wolves, or whatever tore the wrap up on 60% of the bales so I ended up piling and burning almost 200 bales worth of moldy garbage.

So while baleage has feed quality advantages, it has numerous disadvantages as well.
 
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