Individually wrapped, high-moisture alfalfa bales, often simply called baleage, has been around for a long time. The ability to cut hay in the morning and store the hay in a tightly wrapped package before rain reduces the forage quality is extremely appealing. Not only does baleage offer risk management against weather, the increased palatability of baleage also results in less waste compared to dry hay especially when fed in round bale feeders.
Late corn planting this year will naturally increase the risk of frost damage before producers can harvest corn silage. Furthermore, recent weather forecasts favor an early fall. It is an ideal time to review how to handle frost-damaged corn silage.
The steps to making high value hay are straightforward. We can control most of these steps with the exception of the weather. Long periods of warm, rainy weather in the spring can be problematic, causing the alfalfa to mature beyond the ideal bud stage. It’s also a challenge in the Midwest and Northeast regions to bring in the first cutting without early season rain damaging hay while lying in the field. However, the other factors are under human control, and if we do the best we can at each phase, we are well on the way to making high value hay.
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