As the drive to reduce single-use plastic continues apace, farmers are increasingly seeking alternatives to wrapping their baled forage.

Additives for high moisture hay

Growing numbers are turning to high moisture hay, which can be now treated with the modern preservative, BaleSafe, at the time of baling.

This treatment ensures hay at moisture contents of up to 25% can be stored without wrapping, and will retain its quality during storage, without dust or the risk of moulds. Treated bales can then be stored undercover, either in sheds or with suitable stack covers. This treatment achieves obvious cost savings through the wrap not used, but also saves the escalating cost of fuel for the wrapping process. Added to this is the cost of wrap disposal.

“There has also been a proposed packaging tax of £200 per tonne of bale wrap, although the industry was granted a reprieve when it was shelved at the last minute,” says Michael Carpenter, Kelvin Cave’s northern area manager. “However, the reality is that a similar scheme is highly likely to be imposed in the future as the government strives to achieve its environmental targets.”

As well as being a popular option in place of baled silage, high moisture hay has further attractions over traditional dry hay.

“Farmers have increasingly moved away from traditional hay due to the length of time taken and the weather dependency of the process,” continues Michael. “Many of these producers have taken up the BaleSafe option, which means they can bale much sooner after cutting, which is particularly important in catchy weather conditions.

“They’re also likely to find they will save one pass with the hay bob, and the resulting high moisture hay has a higher nutritional quality than the dried product,” he says. “That’s because there’s less leaf shatter, which means a greater percentage of the more nutritious leaf is retained. This lifts feed value and palatability, while reducing dry matter losses.”

BaleSafe achieves its success in preserving haylage and high-moisture hay thanks to its unique blend of ingredients, including propionic acid and ammonium propionate. These stop the activity of undesirable microorganisms including yeasts and moulds, and minimise spoilage during storage.

Kelvin Cave Ltd supply a range of preservatives to keep forage stable, whatever its dry matter or the conditions in which it is made (see table). As well as supplying preservatives, the company also offers a simple-to-use moisture meter and a range of applicators to fit conventional, round and big square balers, which ensure easy and effective application. Please contact your area manager to discuss the best product to suit your particular needs.

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