Baleage becoming more popular in Adair


Baleage is increasing in popularity in Adair County as it makes harvesting and storing high-quality forages more achievable during the often-unfavorable weather conditions in spring.
The most important aspects of properly harvesting round bale silage include cutting forages at the proper growth stage, achieving the ideal moisture content of 40-60%, baling hay tight, and sealing with adequate plastic to ensure the hay is free from any oxygen.
Not following these steps can result in poorly fermented baleage which can lead to bacterial growth and botulism, resulting in the death of livestock.
Timely Harvesting: Legumes should be cut at 10% bloom and grasses in the boot stage.
The earlier the forage is harvested, the higher the soluble carbohydrate content, thus the better the fermentation. Overly mature forages ferment poorly due to low-soluble carbohydrates.

Bale at Proper Moisture: Baling should begin when forages reach 60% moisture and ideally be completed by 50% moisture. Lower moisture can be harvested and wrapped; however, fermentation will be reduced.
Baling too wet (65%) increased the risk of clostridial bacteria. Tettering hay after cutting will allow for even wilting and drying of the forage. Experienced baleage producers can often gauge moisture levels by sight and feel. A microwave test or Koster dryer are highly accurate methods of determining the moisture content forages. Commercially available moisture probes are less reliable.
Baling Hay Tight: Reduce ground speed when baling to increase the density of bales. Also, refer to the owner’s manual for proper baler maintenance and adjustments to the machine.
Adequate Plastic: Six layers of plastic usually provide adequate levels of oxygen when making baleage. Forages with larger stems may need additional layers to prevent puncture. Netwrap can also be helpful in reducing punctures. For inline wrappers, stacking hay on level ground can aid in making sure bales stack tightly against each other. Uniform bale size is also important so that joints seal properly.
For more information on forage production, contact the Adair County Cooperative Extension Service at (270) 384-2317.

Cattlemen’s Association Meets April 15
The Adair County Cattlemen’s Association will have their next regular meeting on April 15 at 6 pm at the Adair County Cooperative Extension Service.
Anyone with an interest in cattle production is invited to attend.
A sponsored meal will be provided, and UK Extension Forage Specialist Dr. Ray Smith will be on hand discussing hay production.
The Adair County Cattlemen’s Association conducts multiple educational programs throughout the year, quarterly newsletters, student scholarships, youth events, and a feeder calf marketing program.
Membership dues are $30 for single membership, $45 for couples, and $200 for corporate membership annually.
For more information about the Adair County Cattlemen’s Association, contact the Adair County Cooperative Extension Service at 270-384-2317.

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