With warmer weather well and truly here, along with the grass growing & most farmers having already made several cuts for the season we thought we'd share a few tips to help make your hay and forage making season a success!
1 - Move bales off the field quickly
Once the forage has been baled & wrapped it’s important move the bales off the field as soon as possible, there are many reasons for this.
The longer a bale remains on the field the more likely the pasture or forage crop underneath is likely to be damaged, if bales are left for a week or more they can actually kill growth right off! When this occurs you can end up with a lot of dead patches that when combined cause a great production decrease. Even when the pasture remains alive, if growth becomes stunted weeds and undesirable growth can get a go on in these weaker areas of the pasture or forage crop.
After being cut pasture/crop regrowth begins immediately, to reduce damage to the regrowth it’s best to move bales within 24hrs of cutting. If it's left days later before moving bales the machinery traffic can damage this regrowth in turn having a negative effect on the next 'cut' or harvest.
Looking for a way to move large numbers of bales at one time? Check out our Hay Hauler that allows you to move 4 round bales on the rear linkage: Rata 4 Bale Hay Hauler
The Hay Hauler is ideal for moving bales to the wrapper, or taking hay bales into storage.
2 - Smarter Bale Storage
Over the years there have been many opinions on how bales are best stored, here we add our opinion to the mix by sharing what we have heard and also seen ourselves to work for others.
By stacking bales on the flat (not round) you can realise many benefits later down the line such as being easier to feed out due to them retaining their shape & more! Find out more here: 2 Reasons to store round bales on the flat side
Don’t stack bales more than 3 high, and if they are particularly heavy a maximum recommendation is two high.
It's particularly important to ensure your bales are protected from sharp objects and other potential damage from the elements and wildlife. Overall ensure the threat of wrap damage is eliminated.
Find out more about bale storage here: How to stack & handle wrapped bales
3 - Use appropriate bale handling equipment
Whether you use bale spikes or clamps, at the end of the day they still move the bale, however it’s important you use the correct implement for each bale type. If you are handling hay/straw bales a good simple Bale Fork will get the job done no problem at all. However when you're moving wrapped bales its absolutely important you use a Bale Clamp that does not rip, tear or stretch the wrap.
Find out more about choosing the correct type of Bale Handler here: Choosing the right bale handler for your farm
If you're moving wrapped bales it’s important you use a purpose built wrapped bale handler to get the job done without damage to the bale wrap. Bale wrap damage from inferior bale handlers can cost more than most think. Find out just how much a good quality wrapped bale handler can save you here: The true value of a wrapped bale handler
Moving hay/straw bales? Check out our bale fork range: Rata Bale Forks
Handling wrapped bales? Check out NZ’s most popular Bale Clamp here: Rata Bale Clamp