Bale to Order
When it comes to baling small square 2 and 3-string hay bales with steam, it’s crucial to tailor your approach to meet specific needs. Whether you’re a hay producer, buyer, or consumer, understanding the characteristics of fully-cured hay baled at different moisture levels, ranging from 14% to 20%, can make a significant difference in the quality of your hay products.
Imagine having the ability to create hay samples at various moisture levels, take sample flakes, and showcase them to your potential buyers or consumers. This proactive marketing approach allows them to choose the hay characteristics that align with their preferences well before the harvest season begins. This level of transparency and customization is made possible through the use of innovative equipment like the DewPoint machine, which revolutionizes the way hay is baled.
Growers who adopt the “Bale to Order” strategy tend to reap the rewards of higher premiums for their hay. This is because their customers have a clear understanding of what they are getting ahead of time, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty.
Note: Baling small square alfalfa bales in high ambient temperatures in the middle of the day, with high rates of steam, can stiffen alfalfa stems once the bales cool down. When possible, it is best to take advantage of the cooler parts of the day and avoid mid-afternoon baling.
Here are some general guidelines for baling fully-cured hay with steam, along with using the Gazeeka moisture gauge to monitor bale moisture:
- 14-16% Baling Moisture Characteristics:
- Ideal for various types of Grass Hay.
- A bit dry for Alfalfa.
- Moisture usually drops to around 10-12% within a day.
- Offers good leaf retention, bale formation, and effective dust and crop loss suppression.
- The flakes are somewhat wafered and suitable for direct feeding of horses and other livestock.
- Great for export markets or press hay with moisture requirements of 12% or less.
- 17-18% Baling Moisture Characteristics:
- Avoid exceeding this moisture level for various types of Grass Hay.
- Excellent for Alfalfa.
- Moisture typically drops to around 11-12% within a day.
- Features very good leaf retention, solid bale formation, and effective dust and crop loss suppression.
- The flakes are wafered and ideal for direct feeding.
- Still suitable for export markets or press hay requiring good leaf retention with moisture requirements of 12% or less.
- Preferred by hay press operators for its smooth processing through press machinery.
- 19-20% Baling Moisture Characteristics:
- Not suitable for various types of Grass Hay due to high moisture levels.
- Slightly on the high side for Alfalfa; using high steam rates in high ambient temperatures can stiffen Alfalfa stems.
- Moisture typically decreases to around 12-14% within a few days.
- Maintains very good leaf retention, and solid bale formation, with a slightly darker appearance on the sides.
- Excellent for dust and crop loss suppression.
- Not the best choice for export markets or press hay due to potential moisture issues during transportation, unless it’s allowed to cure to a moisture level below 12%.
- Flakes are tightly wafered and may be somewhat stiff for direct feeding if baled with high steam rates in high ambient temperatures.
These guidelines empower you to make informed decisions about your hay based on specific needs and preferences. By utilizing the right moisture level and equipment like the Gazeeka moisture gauge, you can enhance the quality of your hay and ensure customer satisfaction.