My baleage appears to be hay!

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10 years 3 weeks ago #37308 by Megan
I had my baleage done on 10 December. It was cut , baled and wrapped on the same day. We had had 90mm of rain in the last week of November, so it wasn't overly dry.

Naughty sheep ate a hole in one bale yesterday, so I opened that bale, (one of 44). The contents looks, smells and feels like hay!

Question - do I have any redress to the contractor? Have I the right to complain or do I just have to wear it?

Question - what could have gone wrong in the "process"?

Your thoughts and suggestions welcome, before I approach the contractor, who is a neighbour and friend.

Megan

The nice part about living in a small town is that when you don't know what you are doing, someone else does.
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10 years 3 weeks ago #484262 by Stikkibeek
Any chance it just dried out where the hole is?

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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10 years 3 weeks ago #484264 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic My baleage appears to be hay!
Baleage is very much like damp hay, and if it smells as sweet as good hay does, don't worry! Yes it quickly dries out when exposed to air.

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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10 years 3 weeks ago #484270 by Megan
Replied by Megan on topic My baleage appears to be hay!

Stikkibeek;488279 wrote: Any chance it just dried out where the hole is?

Big square bale, hole in middle of the long edge, I opened it from the small end. Dry as all the way through, not just where the hole was, and the hole was only 10cm square and had only been there 24 hrs.

Looks good like hay and smells sweet, a bit "aniseed", not at all moist or acid pickle smell of baleage.

My worry is that
A) all 44 bales are the same
B) it won't have the feed value of baleage
C) because its obviously not as dry as hay should be, it won't keep, especially once opened.

It takes me about a week to feed out a big bale of good baleage and by the end of the week it is starting to get unpalatable.

I have tried feeding this "hay" out, sheep and cows not very interested.

Megan

The nice part about living in a small town is that when you don't know what you are doing, someone else does.
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10 years 3 weeks ago #484271 by jeannielea
I think Megan has plenty of experience with hay and baleage so I would suggest getting the contractor in to ask him if he thinks there is an issue. If you asked for baleage, tell him it doesn't smell/look as you've had before so feel concerned it won't be as nutricious as it should be. The fact you've opened the bale has probably proven its not what you expect so asking his opinion rather than being confrontational is the way I would go.

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10 years 3 weeks ago #484292 by Cigar
Replied by Cigar on topic My baleage appears to be hay!
I'd find it hard to complain if it was cut and wrapped the same day - different if it had been left a day before baling, then I would complain it had been left too long.

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10 years 3 weeks ago #484298 by LongRidge
Did you ask for it to be innoculated?
Turning old grass into balage does not improve it's feed value in any way whatsoever. For the Lactobacillaceae to make lactic acid, there must be sugar present for the bugs to turn the sugar into lactic acid. Sometimes innoculant is sprayed into the bale in a dilute molasses solution. So for old grass this provides some sugar for the fermentation process to start. Using an innoculant also ensures that the correct bugs are in the bale to grow faster than the natural bugs that cause spoilage, and smother them so they don't grow.
If you are relying on the bugs that are present, then if they do their job they also rob the grass of it's natural sugars. That is one reason why balage should be cut in the late afternoon, because sugars are made in the sunlight and turned to starch and cellulose at night.
So I suspect that if the bales are not rotten, then everything has happened as best it could. I suspect that there were not enough free sugars in the grass, because it was too old and not innoculated and cut in the morning, to get enough lactic acid produced for long term storage.

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10 years 3 weeks ago #484309 by katieb
If you baled grass that was like hay its not going to magically turn into silage like balage...sounds like you have haylage :)

You get out what you put in

We have started feeding out(600+ bales of our plus 350 bought from neighbour) ive seen one haylike one so far...but ive only seen the some of the ones that have been fed...it would be from a paddock that was originally going to be made into hay but was easier to get it all baled & wrapped

Animals rule our place... cows, calves, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, donkeys, chickens, ducks... the list goes on
...."lifestyle block like" 25 or so acres around the house attached to a rather large farm with dairy drystock & a 600 cow dairy conversion :)....1500 acres to call home

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10 years 3 weeks ago #484329 by igor
Replied by igor on topic My baleage appears to be hay!
When we first started making balage on the home place in the 80's we dried it like hay, baled it into four foot rounds, and packed the bales into black polythene tubes after they had sat out for a few days to cool. It was a three or four man job to put the bales into the tubes. I think this started as a way to store extra hay under cover without having to build more barns as much as anything.

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10 years 2 weeks ago #484601 by Megan
Replied by Megan on topic My baleage appears to be hay!
Update: the contractor has come out and inspected the bales. He is at a loss to explain why it is so dry, and said if he had suspected it was too dry he would have warned me, and made hay instead. He suspects all the bales will be the same. He said he will see me right if I get stuck with inedible product during the winter. He has offered a discount on the next lot I get baled.

It remains to be seen whether it will keep, but the stock seem to have developed a taste for it after initially being reluctant.

Fingers crossed I don't end up with some very expensive compost!

Megan

The nice part about living in a small town is that when you don't know what you are doing, someone else does.
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10 years 2 weeks ago #484613 by RaeM1
Replied by RaeM1 on topic My baleage appears to be hay!
Dont worry, your stock will soon be loving it, and it will easily keep for about a week at a time, our cattle turned their noses up with the first bale we opened, but by two days had gone by and they were waiting for us to get it off the trailer. My 4 very old mares are keeping fantastic on our balage, and getting nothing else, we are in the waikato which means we have not seen any rain of note for over 8 weeks, except for 30 mils two days ago. Also have a friend in the area with TB horses, and Appaloosas, and his horses all look a picture, and he is only feeding out balage, so the feed value is there.

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10 years 2 weeks ago #484633 by hilldweller
Sounds like you've got a good honest contractor. I've got a few bales here that might be similar to yours - was supposed to be hay but there are a couple of shady patches of paddock that didn't dry as quickly as the rest (and we didn't want to wait another day as rain was forecast) so they were baled and then wrapped the following morning. Not ideal but the contractor was confident they'll keep OK and turn into something between hay and baleage. Hopefully he's right and yours are good too.

hilldweller

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10 years 2 weeks ago #484658 by RaeM1
Replied by RaeM1 on topic My baleage appears to be hay!
Also we always get an extra few wraps on to our baleage, so that it keeps into a second year if not got any holes, also we put mouse poison into plastic tubes, so that stops the little crittas making holes in bottom of bales.

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10 years 2 weeks ago #484745 by Jo-Otago
Interesting reading :) . We have some wrapped hay too this year, but that's 'cos we did it ourselves and were just playing about, lol. It still smells yummy and sweet so we're quite stoked. Next season we'll make it a bit greener and see if we can get it right. [8D]

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10 years 2 weeks ago #484823 by footinmouth
If its any help, we had one particular place on the farm (about 100 acres) which could be cut raked and baled in a day for hay. We would sell about 75% of the hay to vet hospitals and trainers, the hay was of exceptional quality due to a combination of the grass and the fast baling. The hay had a high brix level but bone dry.

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