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Hay bale wrap

When hay is left outside, it can lose 30 percent or more of its feed value. Wrapping will help reduce that loss.

Reduce feed loss

Getting hay cut is often easier said than done, especially on the first cutting of alfalfa, because early spring weather is so wet. We make large, round bales from this crop, wrap them in netting, and store them outside end to end. It would be nice to put them in the barn, but our small square ones are in there and take all the space.

Dennis Buckmaster, an ag engineering professor at Purdue University, says when hay is left outside, it can lose 30 percent or more of its feed value. But not all hay producers have a nice big building to put their bales in, so wrapping will reduce that loss.

"A net-wrapped bale is a little bit tighter and more well shaped than a twine-wrapped bale, so perhaps they shed water a little better," Buckmaster says. "Or because of their better shape on the bottom, there's less surface contact with the ground so they may not soak up as much from the ground."

Without twine "valleys" to collect the rain, hay spoilage as a result of water is cut in half.

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