Knowing specific bale weights is valuable when to buy or marketing hay and likewise when determining on-farm inventories.

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How many round bales the hay will your cows consume in a week? The answer will vary relying on the size and stage of production of your cows, the quality of the hay, and, many importantly, the load of the bales.

It is far better to think in regards to how many pounds of hay the cows will consume instead of how plenty of bales they will consume. Bale weight deserve to vary tremendously. Bale weight affects not just the number of bales that must be fed but also the price of feeding and transporting them.

Round bales are described as bale width by bale diameter, or bale height. Because that example, a 5 x 6 bale would be 5 feet broad and 6 feet in diameter, and also a 4 x 5 bale would certainly be 4 feet wide and 5 feet in diameter.

Density matters

The table mirrors the effect that bale size has on weight by making use of a 5 × 5 bale that weighs 1,100 pounds for comparison. If every bales had actually the very same density, those of varying sizes would range in weight from 563 come 1,584 pounds.

In addition to size, bale density likewise has a major impact ~ above bale weight. Density, as affected by tightness of plunder or bale compression, have the right to vary significantly depending top top operator preference and the devices being used.

Most balers have a selection of setups that permit the operator to rise or reduce wrap tightness and also bale compression. Also, some balers deserve to compress an ext tightly than have the right to standard equipment; these species of balers are usually used because that baling low-density forages choose wheat straw.

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

The fifth column shows what the price per ton would certainly be, if every bales — nevertheless of load — were priced at $45 each. The 1,100-pound bales would price $81.82 per ton ($45 split by 1,100 pounds equals $0.04091 every pound; 2,000 pounds multiplied by $0.04091 every pound equates 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 cost per ton, additionally calculate the expense per pound of power (for example, total digestible nutrient ) and protein. To determine nutrient content, sample each load or cutting of hay and send it come a reputable lab because that testing. The most appropriate evaluation will depend on forage species, plan use, and laboratory experience, for this reason consult through a nutritionist for particular testing recommendations.

The price per lb of nutrient have the right to be established with the following equations:

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

b) price per ton that hay divided by pounds that nutrient per ton equals price per pound of nutrient

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

a) 2,000 pounds multiply by 52 percent TDN equals 1,040 pounds of TDN

b) $90 divided by 1,040 pounds of TDN equals $0.087 per lb of TDN

These equations have the right to be used to calculation the price per unit of TDN, protein, or any type of nutrients discovered in hay as well as other feedstuffs and also supplements.

Bale weight also affects exactly how long the takes come feed and how commonly hay is placed out. Because that example, a 1,300-pound cow eating 2.5 percent of its body weight would consume 32.5 pounds the hay every day. The last pillar in the table illustrates how plenty of bales would certainly be consumed by 30 cows every week. Would you quite feed 5.0 or 9.1 bales per week?

Unfortunately, many areas of the U.S. Are at this time abnormally dried or in a drought, and also long-term forecasts space predicting listed below average rainfall because that the next three to six months. Currently is a great time to evaluate hay reserves and also make plans if added hay is needed.

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

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