Large square bales (LSB) are increasing in popularity. At several of the quality tested hay auctions during the past two years, the numbers of LSB lots have out-numbered those of small square bales. Packaging hay into LSB’s certainly provides some labor and handling advantages over both small square and large round bales, however, they also offer some unique challenges in terms of long-term storage and maintaining initial forage quality.
Large square balers typically have a pre-compression chamber and
hydraulically loaded panels on three sides of the bale chamber.
The result is a much denser package than other bale types.
Wisconsin studies show that the density of an intermediate sized
square bale (3 ft. by 4 ft.) is about 54 percent more dense than the
average small square bale. This
higher density predisposes the large square bale to heating, dry matter
loss, and forage quality deterioration during storage if harvest moisture
is over 15 percent.
Kevin Shinners, UW Ag Engineer, has studied the effects of using a
ventilation hole (formed in the center of the bale as it passes through
the chamber) and propionic acid (0.8% by weight) to preserve forage
quality and dry matter when LSB’s are harvested between 16 and 24
percent moisture. Here were
For more information contact Mike Rankin