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Hay Master
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490 Posts
You know 13 to 16 seems to be ideal but here in kentucky this humidity is terrible sometimes. I have started baling in the morning around 11 oclock and by 1 oclock the monitor says low moisture, I go from 30% to low moisture, to high moisture as the dew comes in as the sun sets. But i do run a preservative on my baler, I think its a good investment it can make the diffrence between hay on the wagon or watching it rain on your hay in the field. Dont mean to carry on but just my 2 cents THANKS THOMAS
 

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Senior Member
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89 Posts
About the same for me 14-16% on average. I did push 20% this year on the first cut out of desperation. I really have to invest in preservatives in the future. This past year was miserable. We are very humid in SW IL, but this year was extremely tough. Fan and stacking with breathing room on that one. Later restacked after sweat before getting ready for second cutting. Handled that hay way too much and worried as well. Glad I am not a big hay guy like some of you. Feed to my own goats and horses.
 

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101 Posts
Kind of depends what crop.. straight alfalfa i try to keep it around 14-20, sorghum/weeds/cornstalks it dosent really matter, as long as it dosent catch fire its all good
 

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Senior Member
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BC, yes, I stack on edge. I had an empty barn to start with after last year. This year has been horrible going the other direction, way too wet. I will look into preservatives next year. This is my fourth year baling. I cannot go through this again.
 

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180 Posts
We bale between 12-20% I would rather keep it at a lower moisture(usually around 13-15%) unless we have to get it off the ground as soon as possible. Then it can be baled as wet as 20%. I won't bale anything over 20%.
 

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Super Moderator
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8,704 Posts
14-20% in LRB,prefer 16-18 to save the most leaves.If it gets bone dry I will quit and bale next morning if no rain in sight.Adding preservitive app now so I can bale sooner.To many times it is almost ready only to rain again.
 

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Hay Master
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224 Posts
we try 14-18 % but are seriously thinking about the preservative route for New England. I feel like a fish outta water these past few weeks with no rain to hurry up in front of....lol I am sure Hannah and Ike will take care of that. This has been easily the worst year for haying that I can remember in the last 20-25 years
 

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Hay Master
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842 Posts
try to bale between 14 and 18%. Will push to 20% if rain is coming. In the fall...late September and October, will bale orchard grass up to 23% and for whatever reason, it seems to keep just fine without preservative. We have done this the last two years without any mold or dust. I don't know if it is because with the cooler temps comes slower respiration or what. anybody have any thoughts?
 
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You are right. You can get away with a little more moisture when you are baling if you get some nice dry air during its sweat.
This spring was tough even with 15% to 18% it would get dusty after it went through its sweat. We had a lot of high humidity days with a lot of rain of couse and the moisture was slow to evaporate. I have seen the moisture go up 5 points in those conditions and take a long time to come down.
Last fall I made a field that would vary 15% to 23% which isn't uncommon in September and I figured it would mold for sure. We had some nice fall dry days and hardly notice it going thru its sweat and was fine.

The weather after you bale seems to have some influence on how it cures.

Typicaly we try for 15%. Less than 13% we start losing too many leaves and above 18 we are in danger of mold. Anything above 20 scares the heck out of me. I was having the heck scared out of me too many times this year.

HHH

HHH
 

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Hay Master
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490 Posts
The buzzer on my hay preservative moniter goes off at 30% and i have baled because i have to the hay has kept just fine for cows, I have sold some to horse people and they say they like ( they must not be picky ) THOMAS
 

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Authorized Vendor
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36 Posts
Baling alfalfa at 20% moisture will result in approx. 20% leaf loss. Baling at 12% moisture will result in approx. 40% leaf loss. In a field trial we conducted last year in PA, we baled hay at 12% moisture and 20% moisture (treated with Silo Guard II). The 20% moisture hay was 6% higher in protein, and the RFV was 60 points higher.

In a tight hay market, you get an advantage of better quality hay and more tons per acre if you can retain the leaves. Applicators to apply at the baler are available and reasonably priced.

If you'd like more information, drop me an email at [email protected]
 
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