Rebaling Offers Hay Marketing Advantages
University of Maine researchers have been investigating
the economic advantages grass hay producers could gain by rebaling large
round bales into small square bales. The technique allows growers to
harvest and bale quickly by using large round bales, while cashing in on
the demand for small bales from the equine and small livestock markets.
A Simpco, Inc., bale unroller has been used for a number of months at
the university's Franklin J. Witter Center, according to Donna Coffin
Lamb, extension educator at Dover-Foxcroft, ME. The machine unrolls
round bales and feeds the hay into a square baler. Lamb notes that
preliminary experience has shown that 3.5 workers -- an operator,
stacker, loader and floater/cleanup person -- can rebale about 6,000 lbs
of hay per hour while increasing net revenue by $114.09/hour.
The designer of the unroller, T. Whipple Simpson, used his regular
square baler to rebale the hay. He found that an 800-lb round bale
valued at $37.50 would yield 19 small square bales weighing 40 lbs and
valued at $3.25/bale.
The University of Maine researchers, headed by economist James Leiby,
used a similar process. He calculated a total cost of $357.16/hour to
rebale 7.5 large round bales. That includes the $37.50 cost of each
bale. The 7.5 round bales produced 145 square bales valued at $3.25
each, or a total of $471.25. Net revenue increased $114.09/hour or
$15.21/round bale. Labor costs were figured at $9/hour. Leiby points out
that, in the worst-case scenario, with round bales costing $45 and wages
at $13/hour, the breakeven price for square bales would be about
$3/bale. The rebaling costs alone were $75.91/hour, $10.12/round bale or
52 cents/square bale. The researchers used two tractors, one for power
and one to load, in addition to a square baler.
Lamb emphasizes that rebaling hay cannot improve its quality. "You need
to start with dry hay that has been stored under cover," she says. "Hay
that has a large amount of spoilage on the outside or bottom of the bale
usually binds up the equipment, so those looking for an option for
rebaling spoiled hay into small square bales for mulch hay should not
rely on this equipment."
Leiby says Maine has about 38,000 horses. They need an estimated 7
million bales of hay per year, with a value of around $22.5 million.
He cites an Iowa State University study that found baling hay into small
square bales in the field can cost $14/acre more than producing round
bales, plus small square bales cost more to handle. A University of
Georgia study found the average price beef producers were willing to pay
for hay in large round bales was $50-60/ton, which is very near the cost
of production. However, the price went up to $150/ton when the same hay
was put up in small square bales and marketed to horse owners.
University of Maine researchers involved with the project include Lamb;
Leiby; Justin Jamison, Witter Center farm superintendent; and Jake Dyer,
Witter Center forage manager.
Contact Lamb at 201-564-3301, Leiby at 207-581-3178, Jamison at
201-581-2793 or Dyer at 207-745-6181.
Haying season is wide open with the BW
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Holland dealer or call 1-888-290-7377. www.newholland.com/h4/
Gulf Coast Needs More Hay
Dairy and beef producers along the Gulf Coast in
Louisiana and Mississippi are still in need of hay to help get through
the winter after suffering devastating losses during Hurricanes Katrina
and Rita, says Rustin Moore of Louisiana State University's School of
Veterinary Medicine. "There is a tremendous need for hay to help with
wintering cattle in the cow-calf operations and for some of the few
remaining dairy cattle in south Louisiana," Moore says. "Any support
that could be provided through donations of hay and/or fuel for
transport of this hay would be greatly appreciated and is much-needed
for these hard-hit farmers."
The Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association (NAMA) has helped send 17
loads of hay to the area, according to Bernie Wrede, a hay producer from
Pierce, NE. Wrede, a NAMA member and volunteer with the Orphan Grain
Train disaster relief organization, has driven several truckloads of
relief supplies and hay to the Gulf Coast area. He says Orphan Grain
Train has obtained some money to help cover the costs of shipping the
hay, but transportation costs have been a big obstacle during relief
The cattle industry in southern Louisiana is mainly made up of beef
cow-calf operations and some dairy farms. Prior to the hurricanes, there
were approximately 170,000 cattle in the parishes hit by Katrina and
Rita, says Moore. Many cattle were lost due to drowning. An estimated
50,000 cattle either died or were dispersed from the area because of
insufficient fencing and feed and hay shortages after the storms. An
estimated 120,000 cattle remain in southern Louisiana alone.
"There is a real shortage of hay and pasture land for wintering of
cattle," Moore says. "Pastures are typically seeded with ryegrass for
winter grazing, but since much of the land was covered with saltwater
from the flooding, the grass has died and the pastures are not suitable
for growing ryegrass." He says hayfields that had not been cut prior to
the storms were ruined. Hay that had been stored from early cuttings
became completely submerged under flood waters and is not suitable for
feeding. Many fences are down, which has led to overstocking of a few
remaining pastures that were not damaged.
Wrede says both dairy and beef operations are being supplied with the
donated hay. He says the quality of hay donated to date has been very
good. Square bales are preferred, because it's easier to meet
transportation laws with square bales.
Recently, it has become apparent that there are also approximately 800
horses in Vermillion Parish in southwestern Louisiana that are in need
of hay. According to the parish extension office, about 6,500 small
square bales (or the equivalent in large bales) of horse-quality hay are
needed to get them through the winter until spring pastures arrive.
People specifically interested in donating toward the hay relief for
horses should contact Moore directly by telephone (225-578-9500).
To learn more about the relief efforts, contact Moore by phone or
or call Wrede at 402-649-0661. Learn more about Orphan Grain Train at www.ogt.org/index.cfm, or call 402-371-7393.
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While demand has been good, there hasn't been a big
premium for quality hay this winter, reports Bruce Telleen, Monticello,
IA. He has around 500 big square alfalfa hay bales in the 150 to 160
relative feed value range left to sell. "There hasn't been much
difference in price between average hay selling for $90/ton and real
good hay selling for $100-110/ton," he says. "Apparently there is a lot
of hay around, or maybe the economy and fuel prices are making the
Telleen says there were three weeks of cold, snowy days in December, but
most of the winter has been mild in his area.
He was the dairy haylage winner in the World's Forage Analysis Superbowl
at the 2005 World Dairy Expo. Contact him at 319-465-4728.
Hay demand has been good this winter, reports Bernie
Wrede, Pierce, NE. He raises and sells dairy hay, shipping to customers
in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Michigan. He
says demand remains strong in spite of higher freight prices.
Contact Wrede at 402-649-0661.
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Midwest Hay Business Conference & Expo Coming March
Mark your calendar and start planning your trip to the
Midwest Hay Business Conference & Expo, March 14-15 at the Ramkota
Hotel, Sioux Falls, SD. Commercial hay growers will be able to hear
first-hand about successful and innovative hay marketing programs
targeting the high-demand horse market during a March 14 session.
The first day of the conference will also include a panel of growers who
have researched and marketed their forage products into new venues.
Experts will also analyze the costs and pricing to achieve a profitable
hay business. On March 15, University of Wisconsin forage specialist Dan
Undersander will examine forage analyses and whether they're accurate.
Creating a successful dairy hay business using artificial drying and a
unique soil fertility plan, opening new markets by changing the package,
alfalfas with added value and new anti-terrorism legislation and how it
affects hay growers will also be discussed.
Registration costs $150/person and includes the two-day program, five
hours of trade-show exhibits, an evening reception on day one and
breakfast and lunch on day two. A second person from the same operation
can attend for $125. Registration deadline is Feb. 19. For more
information, or to register, call 800-722-5334 and ask for Cindy Kramer.
Or visit hayconference.com.
Early registrants may also want to make hotel reservations at
605-336-0650 and ask for discounted rooms at $69/night.
**Jan. 31- Feb. 1 -- Midwest Forage Association 2006
Symposium and Annual Meeting, Stoney Creek Inn, Mosinee, WI. Call
Midwest Forage Association at 651-484-3888, visit midwestforage.org, or
**Feb. 3 -- Northern Indiana Grazing Conference, Shipshewana.
Call 260-463-3471, ext. 3.
**Feb. 7-8 -- Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association's Mid-America
Alfalfa Expo, Kearney. Contact Barb Kinnan at 800-743-1649 or visit
**Feb. 7-9 -- Producing Cash Hay for Virginia's Equine Industry
Workshops, Feb. 7-Armory in Chatham; Feb. 8-Southern Piedmont
Research Station, Blackstone; Feb. 9-Tidewater Research Station,
Suffolk. Registration for each will begin at 8 a.m. and the programs
will end at 3:30 p.m. Early registration deadline is Jan. 27. Contact
Chris Teutsch at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or call 434-0292-5331, ext. 234.
**Feb. 14-16 -- World Ag Expo, Tulare, CA. Learn more at www.worldagexpo.com.
**Feb. 16 -- Indiana Forage Council Annual Meeting and Seminar
Presentation, Cornerstone Hall, Salem. Contact Lisa Metts at email@example.com or 765-494-4783.
**Feb. 21- 22 -- Central Plains Irrigation Conference, Comfort
Inn, Colby, KS. Learn more at www.oznet.ksu.edu/sdi/REvents/cpia.html.
**Feb. 22-23 -- Pennsylvania Hay and Silage Conference, Holiday
Inn, Grantville. Contact Lisa Crytser at 814-865-2543.
**Feb. 23 -- Kentucky Alfalfa Conference, Lexington. Contact
Garry Lacefield at 270-365-7541, ext. 202.
**Feb. 25 -- Bi-State Forage Institute: Focus on Hay, The
Stratford Inn, Harvard, IL. Call 847-223-8627.
**Feb. 27-28 -- Idaho Hay and Forage Association Meeting, Red
Lion Canyon Springs Hotel, Twin Falls. Learn more at www.idahohay.com/.
**March 4 -- Grass-Finished Meats Seminar, Bloomsburg
Fairgrounds, Bloomsburg, PA, in the industrial building. Contact Kris
Ribble at 570-784-4401, ext. 111, or Dave Hartman at 570-784-6660, ext.
12. Sponsored by Penn State Cooperative Extension and Project Grass
**March 10-14 -- 2006 American Forage and Grassland Council
Conference, Westin Riverwalk Hotel, San Antonio, TX. Learn more at
www.afgc.org, or call
Dana Tucker at 800-944-2342.
**March 14-15 -- Midwest Hay Business Conference and Expo,
Ramkota Hotel, Sioux Falls, SD. Sponsored by Hay & Forage Grower.
**March 22-23 -- Manitoba Forage Symposium, MacDon Product
Showcase Building, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Call the Manitoba Forage Council
at 204-322-5427, or visit www.mbforagecouncil.mb.ca/Default.htm.
**April 21-23 -- Midwest Horse Fair, Alliant Energy Center,
Madison, WI. Learn more at www.midwesthorsefair.com.
**April 28-30 -- Minnesota Horse Expo, Minnesota State
Fairgrounds, St. Paul. Learn more at www.mnhorseexp.org.
**May 25 -- University of Florida Corn Silage And Forage Field
Day, Plant Science Unit, Citra, FL. Contact Jerry Wasdin at
352-392-1120 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or
visit www.animal.ufl.edu. Under "Dairy Cattle," click on
"Corn Silage Field Day."
**Sept. 7-9 -- National Hay Association 111th Annual Convention,
Snow King Resort, Jackson Hole, WY.
**Oct. 3-7 -- World Dairy Expo, Alliant Energy Center, Madison,
WI. Learn more at www.worlddairyexpo.com.
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