Featured Publication: Round Bale Hay Storage in Kentucky, AGR-171

Most of the hay produced in Kentucky for feeding livestock is packaged as large round bales. Large package sizes and rapid baling rates minimize labor requirements for baling and transport around the farm (local). However, storage losses of round bales are frequently much greater than those of similar hay in smaller rectangular bales. Most of the increased storage loss for round bales appears to result from storage outside without protection from the weather. Losses during outside storage of twine-tied round bales result from weathering and from moisture movement from the ground into the bale. Weathering is visually associated with a change in color and deterioration of the outer layers of hay following exposure to rainfall, sunlight, and other factors during storage. Weathered hay suffers substantial losses of both yield and forage quality and is much less palatable to livestock than undamaged hay. Download the full publication here.