When it comes to improving your forage harvest you can’t be equipped with too much info. From how to ideally operate your harvesting equipment, to how to efficiently produce and wrap bales of hay, here are more helpful tips for an improved forage harvest.
Operate your harvesting equipment at the right PTO and ground speed
In order to minimize pickup losses you need to run your harvesting equipment at the right power take-off (PTO) and ground speed, especially when harvesting dry alfalfa hay. If the ground speed is too slow as compared to the pickup speed the pickup fingers will end up combing through your rows of hay (windrow) and dislodging leaves. If the ground speed is too fast some of the windrow may get left behind. Also, check to make sure there aren’t any missing pickup fingers. To minimize pickup losses and soil contamination you should operate your equipment without scratching the soil.
Make sure your bales are dense
Be sure that your balers are set to produce dense bales, especially when storing them outside, because dense bales shed water better than low-density ones and are easier to transport and store.
Using net wrap for round bales is better than using twine
When it comes to producing round bales there are certain advantages that come with using net wrap over twine. Net wrap allows you to wrap your bales in three turns or less, whereas with twine you may make between 20 and 30 turns. Net wrap can also decrease bale chamber losses by as much as 1 percent. When stored outside bales that are wrapped with net shed water better than those wrapped with twine, and experience some 30 percent less loss of dry matter. If you do opt to use twine be sure to space the threads less than 6 inches apart to increase the bale’s ability to shed water.
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