Why do they do that? Wrapping Bales

wrapped bales

It is common for farmers to store big round bales outside. Have you ever noticed that some are wrapped in a net or solid plastic? Why do they do that?

Farmers often bale hay in large round bales instead of small square bales because they require less labor to bale and move than small square bales. The shape of round bales enables them to be stored outside, something you would never do with square bales. Rain and snow naturally run off their curved sides, like a roof.

Farmers have three choices of materials to wrap bales – twine, net wrap, or plastic wrap. Unlike gift wrap, the choice isn’t just about presentation. It’s about baling efficiency and storage. If properly baled and stored, hay can last a long time without degrading in quality.

twine wrapped bale -https://www.makinhay.com/would-you-like-netwrap-twine-or-plastic-with-your-bale/

Bale wrapped with twine. (Source: MakinHay.com)

Twine is the least expensive bailing material, but some hay can be lost as it is baled and moved. Twine bales are also more prone to damage when stored outside. They do shed water as well as net or plastic wrapped bales. Moisture increases the likelihood of spoilage and decreases the nutritional valuae of the hay.

A woven plastic material called net wrap is often preferred over twine, especially by farmers who need to store hay outside. Net-wrap can cost two to three times as much per bale as twine, but it has three big benefits that justify its cost. Net-wrap reduces harvest loss, storage loss, and time needed to bale. Net wrapping only takes a couple turns in the baler, compared to 15 to 30 for twine bales. As a result, a farmer can make thirty percent more bales per hour using net wrap. This not only saves time but also reduces fuel and equipment wear.

net wrapped bale - https://www.makinhay.com/would-you-like-netwrap-twine-or-plastic-with-your-bale/

Bale wrapped with net wrap. (Source: MakinHay.com)

Plastic wrap is most commonly used in high-moisture baling. In this method the forage crop is cut sooner, immediately baled, and wrapped in plastic to ferment like silage. The finished bales look like giant white marshmallows. Baleage can be made from 40-65% moisture forage, while traditional hay is dried to 16% percent before it is baled. Because forage is at it’s highest quality when cut, baleage is higher in protein and more palatable for livestock than dry hay.

plastic wrapped bales - https://www.makinhay.com/would-you-like-netwrap-twine-or-plastic-with-your-bale/

Bales wrapped with plastic film. (Source: MakinHay.com)

Like most aspects of farming, there are many options to consider. Farmers weigh the costs, benefits, and risks, and choose the option that is the best fit for their operation.

– Cindy

15 thoughts on “Why do they do that? Wrapping Bales

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  3. Pingback: What is a Hay Bale and What is it Made From? | Iowa Agriculture Literacy

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  5. Pingback: What is a Hay Bale and What is it Made From? – Agriculture

  6. I would like to know if hay grown and bailed in the USA and Canada which is exported to other countries is commonly wrapped in plastic due to the long haul length of time it takes to ship and reach its ultimate destination abroad……?

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  7. Wrapping hay bales also prevents rats from infesting the hay, which ruins the bales. Rates love to make nests in hay bales, it’s warm and they will make nests in the bales if not wrapped.

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