Wrapping the curved surface of round bales

Dry Rot

Member
Livestock Farmer
It's that time of year again. I have had several months with an empty shed where I have been able to get on with machinery repairs and other jobs under cover. It just seems an appalling waste of space to fill the shed with a bulky commodity like hay or straw for a major part of the year when it could reasonably sit outside, but for the weather.

For several years now I have been lining hay bales out on pallets with a length of builders' damp proof plastic membrane (DPM) tied down along the top half. The DPM is not expensive and can be used for several years. It works well and the hay comes out almost as well as the same stuff stored in a shed. But, single handed, it is a real pain tying down the plastic. Tie one side, then walk around the line to tie the other side. And if there is the slightest breeze, the plastic becomes unmanageable.

I've seen photographs of round bales with plastic wrapped around just the curved surface, so the ends are left open and the hay can breath. That would appear to be an ideal compromise. Totally wrapping hay, like haylage or silage, uses a lot of wrap, takes time, and is wasteful. If tghe hay is not completely dry, to prevent mould, air needs to be totally excluded, which means about 6 layers. How much wrap would be needed to shed water from a partially wrapped bale? Two layers? A few small holes probably wouldn't matter much, but more research would tell us. How would it be applied? I gather there are machines that will already do this, but not too many of them. Apparently, rotating bale spikes don't work. Could a conventional bale wrapper be modified? Any thoughts?
 

Pan mixer

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Near Colchester
I have tried wrapping straw to leave it out in the past, Ok totally wrapped but I only did a few.

I only did 2 layers thinking that a few holes wouldn't matter.

Unfortunately the rain got in those few holes and had no where to drain out and so huge wet rotten bits at the bottom of each bale, they were better in single rows with just the net wrap.

Someone said recently that the wrap that they use instead of net doesn't hold on so well and will 'let go' after a short time. No idea whether that is correct.
 

Dry Rot

Member
Livestock Farmer
I have tried wrapping straw to leave it out in the past, Ok totally wrapped but I only did a few.

I only did 2 layers thinking that a few holes wouldn't matter.

Unfortunately the rain got in those few holes and had no where to drain out and so huge wet rotten bits at the bottom of each bale, they were better in single rows with just the net wrap.

Someone said recently that the wrap that they use instead of net doesn't hold on so well and will 'let go' after a short time. No idea whether that is correct.

Wouldn't totally wrapping straw but allowing the entry of air create the ideal environment for moulds, et.? The air in the bales would heat in the sun and expand, then contract in evening drawing in moisture?

There have been quite a few studies of wrapping hay/straw at varying degrees of moisture and provided ALL the air can be kept out it will keep forever, regardless of the moisture, e.g. wrapped hay, haylage, and silage.
 

KennyO

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Angus
It's that time of year again. I have had several months with an empty shed where I have been able to get on with machinery repairs and other jobs under cover. It just seems an appalling waste of space to fill the shed with a bulky commodity like hay or straw for a major part of the year when it could reasonably sit outside, but for the weather.

For several years now I have been lining hay bales out on pallets with a length of builders' damp proof plastic membrane (DPM) tied down along the top half. The DPM is not expensive and can be used for several years. It works well and the hay comes out almost as well as the same stuff stored in a shed. But, single handed, it is a real pain tying down the plastic. Tie one side, then walk around the line to tie the other side. And if there is the slightest breeze, the plastic becomes unmanageable.

I've seen photographs of round bales with plastic wrapped around just the curved surface, so the ends are left open and the hay can breath. That would appear to be an ideal compromise. Totally wrapping hay, like haylage or silage, uses a lot of wrap, takes time, and is wasteful. If tghe hay is not completely dry, to prevent mould, air needs to be totally excluded, which means about 6 layers. How much wrap would be needed to shed water from a partially wrapped bale? Two layers? A few small holes probably wouldn't matter much, but more research would tell us. How would it be applied? I gather there are machines that will already do this, but not too many of them. Apparently, rotating bale spikes don't work. Could a conventional bale wrapper be modified? Any thoughts?
There was a wrapper made by a contractor to do this. It won an award at the RHS. I think there was someone in aberdeenshire doing it.

What about tube wrapping? I doubt it would take that many years wrapping to pay for a shed or even a polytunnel to put them in.
 

renewablejohn

Member
Location
lancs
Have used IBC bottles with great success. Cut top off IBC bottle. Place bale inside then replace top overlapping bottom of IBC bottle. Can then store 4 high safely using the metal IBC frames. It is easier with pallet rotator.
 

Dry Rot

Member
Livestock Farmer
There was a wrapper made by a contractor to do this. It won an award at the RHS. I think there was someone in aberdeenshire doing it.

What about tube wrapping? I doubt it would take that many years wrapping to pay for a shed or even a polytunnel to put them in.

I spoke to a company that sells wrapping film and they confirmed that there are the machines to do it (McHale?), but not many. And, yes, I have seen someone advertising the service in Aberdeenshire which is sadly a long way from me.

Tube lining is a bit beyond my means and I assume it will be the same for many small farmers. Also, I think the idea is to exclude air so would that not mean 6 or more layers of wrap? You'd certainly miss out on ventilation to the uncovered ends of the bale.
 

KennyO

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Angus
I spoke to a company that sells wrapping film and they confirmed that there are the machines to do it (McHale?), but not many. And, yes, I have seen someone advertising the service in Aberdeenshire which is sadly a long way from me.

Tube lining is a bit beyond my means and I assume it will be the same for many small farmers. Also, I think the idea is to exclude air so would that not mean 6 or more layers of wrap? You'd certainly miss out on ventilation to the uncovered ends of the bale.
Screenshot_20210721-181048.jpg
 

Dry Rot

Member
Livestock Farmer
View attachment 975324

That's the one! Video here:

I wonder what they cost? From what I've read, a rotating bale spike is not very good at spreading bales (which, I agree, is a different job) because the bales tend to break up, but this obviously works for hi-density bales anyway. I wonder what they cost and why they aren't better promoted?
 

Dry Rot

Member
Livestock Farmer
still have to keep the birds off i suppose or else they will make holes in them .

I don't think a few holes would matter, within reason. Only two layers of wrap, but it doesn't look like the cling film stuff. If you think of a hay shed with an open side, the bales get rained on but soon dry out. I get very few holes in my sheeted bales anyway, but maybe I'm just lucky!
 

Bury the Trash

Member
Mixed Farmer
I don't think a few holes would matter, within reason. Only two layers of wrap, but it doesn't look like the cling film stuff. If you think of a hay shed with an open side, the bales get rained on but soon dry out. I get very few holes in my sheeted bales anyway, but maybe I'm just lucky!
see post #2

but if they were covered as well with plastic or a net or somehting to stop the birds,well pretty much the same a silage bales would be....
 

Dry Rot

Member
Livestock Farmer
see post #2

but if they were covered as well with plastic or a net or somehting to stop the birds,well pretty much the same a silage bales would be....

I think he is saying he wrapped the whole bale. As I explained in another post, if a totally covered object (say a haylage bale) is left in the sun, it and it's contents (foddrr+air) will warm up and expand. That's fine, but when it cools it will draw moisture in from outside. If the ends are open, will this still happen? Birds I don't know about as I haven't had a serious problem.

One thing that might be a problem is that the machine is attached to front linkage. How many smaller farmers will have a tractor with a front linkage?

If it is a contractor only machine and takes 30 seconds to wrap a bale (plus the wrap+diesel+profit), what does that work out at cost wise? I can't see a price for the machine anywhere. Looks like they are not in full production yet.
 

Bury the Trash

Member
Mixed Farmer
I think he is saying he wrapped the whole bale. As I explained in another post, if a totally covered object (say a haylage bale) is left in the sun, it and it's contents (foddrr+air) will warm up and expand. That's fine, but when it cools it will draw moisture in from outside. If the ends are open, will this still happen? Birds I don't know about as I haven't had a serious problem.

One thing that might be a problem is that the machine is attached to front linkage. How many smaller farmers will have a tractor with a front linkage?

If it is a contractor only machine and takes 30 seconds to wrap a bale (plus the wrap+diesel+profit), what does that work out at cost wise? I can't see a price for the machine anywhere. Looks like they are not in full production yet.
yes it might be ok .
its just that even a small hole would let water in but not out and do considerable damage i think is the problem .

Bale bags are still available some places and about 3 pounds or so each. if trying them just check the sizing but they should be ok , or if its a variable chamber baler ,ask for them to be made a bit smaller so its easier to slide it on.
and even a rear bale spike is suitable to bag bales (single decker.)
 

tr250

Member
Location
Northants
 

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Man fined £300 for bonfire-related waste offences

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

court-640x360.jpg
A man has pleaded guilty at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court to waste offences relating to a bonfire next to the electrical sub-station on the Circular Road in Newtownards, Co. Down.

Gareth Gill (51) of Abbot’s Walk, Newtownards pleaded guilty to two charges under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, for which he was fined £150 each and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy

On June 25, 2018, PSNI officers went to Gill’s yard, where they found a large amount of waste consisting of scrap wood, pallets, carpet and underlay.

Discussion with Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) officers confirmed the site...
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