You can ensure your hay is high-quality and protect your equipment from damage by following these tips:
Synchronize the field and baler pickup speed to lift the hay and have it flow properly into the bale chamber. Pickup loss is typically reduced when windrows are heavy because the baler then operates at a slower field speed. Therefore, there is less contact between the hay and the baler parts.
Bale chamber loss is approximately two to three times greater in round balers than in square balers. Mitigation of bale chamber losses in round balers can be done by setting the feed rate as high as possible. This minimizes the amount of turns the hay has to make when it is inside the chamber. It is made possible by using large windrows and high speeds.
Monitor the bale density. Even if your baler features a density gauge, it is still important that you hop out of the cab and smack the bales to confirm the density is enough that the bales maintain their shape. You do not want to be able to stick your fingers through the bale and if you kick it, it should feel solid.
Follow directional arrows on the monitor to assure hay is consistently fed across the width of the bale chamber. This will help round bales get rid of moisture and improve stacking attributes of square-shouldered bales.
Evaluate hay moisture. Moisture is a serious factor in determining the quality and storage life of your hay. You should assess the moisture before baling to ascertain whether it is due to stem moisture or dew. The moisture level for large-square bales should not exceed 12 to 15 percent, the moisture for round bales should not be greater than 16 to 20 percent and small-square bales should stay below 18 to 20 percent.
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Ensure that your hay is good enough to eat!