Knowing precise bale weights is helpful when purchase or offering hay and also when determining on-farm inventories.

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How countless round bales that hay will certainly your cows consume in a week? The answer will certainly vary depending on the size and stage of production of her cows, the top quality of the hay, and, many importantly, the weight of the bales.

It is better to think in terms of how many pounds the hay the cows will certainly consume rather of how plenty of bales they will certainly consume. Bale weight have the right to vary tremendously. Bale weight affects not only the variety of bales that have to be fed but additionally the cost of feeding and transporting them.

Round bales are defined as bale broad by bale diameter, or bale height. For example, a 5 x 6 bale would be 5 feet wide and 6 feet in diameter, and also a 4 x 5 bale would be 4 feet wide and 5 feet in diameter.

Density matters

The table mirrors the impact that bale size has actually on load by using a 5 × 5 bale the weighs 1,100 pounds for comparison. If all bales had the exact same density, those of differing sizes would variety in load from 563 to 1,584 pounds.

In enhancement to size, bale density likewise has a major impact top top bale weight. Density, as influenced by tightness of pave or bale compression, have the right to vary substantially depending ~ above operator preference and also the equipment being used.

Most balers have a range of settings that allow the operator to rise or reduce wrap tightness and bale compression. Also, part balers have the right to compress more tightly than deserve to standard equipment; these species of balers are generally used because that baling low-density forages choose wheat straw.

Whenever possible, hay must be bought and also sold by the ton instead of the bale. The prominence of pricing hay through the ton is depicted in the table.

The 5th column reflects what the price per ton would be, if all bales — nevertheless of weight — were priced at $45 each. The 1,100-pound bales would expense $81.82 per ton ($45 divided by 1,100 pounds equates to $0.04091 every pound; 2,000 pounds multiplied by $0.04091 every pound amounts to $81.82 per ton). In comparison, the 880-pound bales would expense $102.27 every ton.

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Sample for nutrients

In addition to expense per ton, also calculate the expense per lb of energy (for example, complete digestible nutrients ) and protein. To determine nutrient content, sample each pack or cutting of hay and also send it come a trusted lab because that testing. The many appropriate evaluation will depend on forage species, intended use, and also laboratory experience, for this reason consult v a nutritionist for particular testing recommendations.

The expense per pound of nutrient have the right to be determined with the adhering to equations:

a) 2,000 pounds multiply by percent nutrient on one as-fed basis equals pounds of nutrient per ton

b) price per ton of hay split by pounds of nutrient per ton equals price per lb of nutrient

For example, if a fill of hay price $90 per ton and also contained 52.2 percent TDN on an as-fed basis, the price per pound of TDN would certainly be $0.125 as shown below:

a) 2,000 pounds multiply by 52 percent TDN equates to 1,040 pounds the TDN

b) $90 split by 1,040 pounds that TDN amounts to $0.087 per pound of TDN

These equations deserve to be provided to calculation the expense per unit that TDN, protein, or any nutrients found in hay and other feedstuffs and also supplements.

Bale weight likewise affects how long that takes to feed and also how frequently hay is placed out. For example, a 1,300-pound cow eat 2.5 percent of its body weight would certainly consume 32.5 pounds of hay every day. The last shaft in the table illustrates how plenty of bales would certainly be spend by 30 cows every week. Would certainly you fairly feed 5.0 or 9.1 bales per week?

Unfortunately, many locations of the U.S. Are at this time abnormally dry or in a drought, and long-term forecasts space predicting below average rainfall for the next three to 6 months. Now is a an excellent time to evaluate hay reserves and also make plans if extr hay is needed.

This article showed up in the January 2018 problem of Hay & Forage Grower on web page 22.

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