What's the future of wrapped bales?

box

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
NZ
Evening.

I currently make about 1,000 wrapped bales a season and have been slowly gearing up to do my own baling in order to cut costs and add flexibility (and stress).

With net/wrap/disposal costs rising and a growing social discontent regarding plastic wrap (and everything else that farmers do for that matter..........don't get me started), I'm starting to think that I'm wasting my time and I'm better off to focus my attention on cheaper, "greener" ways of silaging (i.e. sticking it in a pile, covering it and letting the effluent leach out into the environment).

Wrapped bales have been mainstream for, what, 30 years now? I can't see them going anywhere any time soon. But times are changing. Costs continue to rise. They're already talking about adding tax to the price of the wrap. The current "recycling" programs don't actually do any recycling at all so that's hardly a "sustainable" option in the eyes of the powers that be. Milk prices have stabilised/started dropping.

As spring 2022 rolls around in NZ, I'm wondering at what point should I stop baling the stuff and go back to putting it in the pit? At what point does the cost outweigh the convenience? Spring 2021 baling prices were eye watering, I've heard some alarming numbers being thrown around for this upcoming season. I'm one of the last ones around here that still bales everything, the rest have gone back to putting it all in stacks, pits, concrete bunkers.

TL,DR: thinking long term, do I buy a rake and baler or do I just quit while I'm ahead and have a contractor put it all in a stack from now on? At this stage, the economics of baling don't stack up even if I do it all myself.
 

glasshouse

Member
Location
lothians
Evening.

I currently make about 1,000 wrapped bales a season and have been slowly gearing up to do my own baling in order to cut costs and add flexibility (and stress).

With net/wrap/disposal costs rising and a growing social discontent regarding plastic wrap (and everything else that farmers do for that matter..........don't get me started), I'm starting to think that I'm wasting my time and I'm better off to focus my attention on cheaper, "greener" ways of silaging (i.e. sticking it in a pile, covering it and letting the effluent leach out into the environment).

Wrapped bales have been mainstream for, what, 30 years now? I can't see them going anywhere any time soon. But times are changing. Costs continue to rise. They're already talking about adding tax to the price of the wrap. The current "recycling" programs don't actually do any recycling at all so that's hardly a "sustainable" option in the eyes of the powers that be. Milk prices have stabilised/started dropping.

As spring 2022 rolls around in NZ, I'm wondering at what point should I stop baling the stuff and go back to putting it in the pit? At what point does the cost outweigh the convenience? Spring 2021 baling prices were eye watering, I've heard some alarming numbers being thrown around for this upcoming season. I'm one of the last ones around here that still bales everything, the rest have gone back to putting it all in stacks, pits, concrete bunkers.

TL,DR: thinking long term, do I buy a rake and baler or do I just quit while I'm ahead and have a contractor put it all in a stack from now on? At this stage, the economics of baling don't stack up even if I do it all myself.
Definitely put it in a pit
Its only going to get worse for wrapping
I only do it for haylage for horse customers
 

Highland Mule

Member
Livestock Farmer
letting the effluent leach out into the environment
Many years since I’ve been involved in pit silage but back in the 90s that didn’t happen. Don’t pits have effluent tanks any more? We would tanker it out and spread back on the grassland where it made a huge difference to the re growth.
 
Location
southwest
If you self feed, you have to make a commitment (£££'S) to dealing with the slurry from huge expanses of concrete.

If you make pit silage, you aren't cutting all your grass at the optimum stage-unless you can magically get it all at the same growth stage on the same day.

Use a baler and you have a lot higher chance of cutting at the right stage and making better silage.

Just getting an extra litre/day from silage is worth over £5000 for a 100 cow herd of Autumn calvers-that pays for a lot of wrap.
 

Chae1

Member
Location
Aberdeenshire
If you self feed, you have to make a commitment (£££'S) to dealing with the slurry from huge expanses of concrete.

If you make pit silage, you aren't cutting all your grass at the optimum stage-unless you can magically get it all at the same growth stage on the same day.

Use a baler and you have a lot higher chance of cutting at the right stage and making better silage.

Just getting an extra litre/day from silage is worth over £5000 for a 100 cow herd of Autumn calvers-that pays for a lot of wrap.
At least with pit, it's over in a day.

Seemed to spend weeks at bales doing a field here and there.
 

frederick

Member
Location
south west
Just made some yesterday.

New class square baler. 720kg a piece 60% dry matter. So 432 kg dm a bale.
Put silage in at 200 pounds ton dm each bale is worth 86 pounds. Don't know quite yet what they are costing me but it's going to be a smaller percentage of the bales value than it was last year.
 

coomoo

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Scotland
3rd cut I’m using the now from last year, simple pit plenty quality.
44805366-00EE-48AF-9036-50B83B6A1432.jpeg
 

DairyNerd

Member
Livestock Farmer
I think if you run your own kit to make bales you have to take every cut at the right stage of growth to get that advantage of making quality silage on every field/paddock and getting regrowth quickly. That will also increase intakes, which can be lower on bales, as grass will be shorter, I would personally cut soon after grass has gone too far for grazing, around 3500, not sure what others think? Got to be prepared to take small cuts every fortnight though i would think.

I know a lot of farmers who say they run their own kit to do everything when they want to, they then don't get round to it, and end up making it later than a contractor would have.

Personally I clamp it and like a contractor doing it, they sort the breakdowns, the maintenence etc...but i have little interest in any aspect of driving a tractor and wouldn't want to have to do bales all summer.
 

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HSENI names new farm safety champions

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

Farm-safety-640x360.png
The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) alongside the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), has named new farm safety champions and commended the outstanding work on farm safety that has been carried out in the farming community in the last 20 years.

Two of these champions are Malcom Downey, retired principal inspector for the Agri/Food team in HSENI and Harry Sinclair, current chair of the Farm Safety Partnership and former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

Improving farm safety is the key aim of HSENI’s and the FSP’s work and...
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