Making Quality Baleage
Key factors for making quality wrapped forage.
- Start with a quality forage; plastic wrap does not make poor forage better.
- Higher sugar content promotes production of lactic acid which preserves and limits growth of unwanted bacteria.
- Proper moisture content; 45-65% is a safe range.
- Do not bale over 67% as that can cause a build up of toxins such as clostridia bacteria that cause clostridium and botulism in cattle.
- Lower than 40% will greatly decrease the fermentation of forage.
- Density of bale is important, as dense as possible keeps out more oxygen and creates a more uniform bale.
- Wrap hay as soon as possible after baling to promote lactic acid and limit oxygen entering bale.
- Store bales in an area where the wrap will not be damaged, i.e.: puncture by stubble or by source of feed for rodents or deer.
- Patch any holes in wrap as soon as they are found to prevent spoilage.
- Allow bales to ferment around 5 weeks before feeding.
Its a wrap, in how the numbers stack up.
Dry Matter Retention
Dry Matter lost when storing a Wrapped Baleage bale.
Dry Matter lost when storing a Hay bale unprotected.
Amount lost per acre per year with a 6 t/ac yield at $180/ton *
* Loss is greater when the hay that remains is of a lower quality therefore a lower value.
Protein measured at time of baling.
Protein of uprotected bale after 4 months.
Protein of Wrapped Baleage after 4 months
Better protein in Baleage over 4 months **