Harvesting forage is frequently a multi-day and sometimes multi-week process. The common process is to cut the forage and then let it dry in the field until it is dry enough to bale, often requiring turning or other manipulation while it is still on the ground. Weather frequently creates havoc with the process by raining on your forage. Then you have to start drying all over again.
What if you could cut, bale, and wrap your forage all in the same day, without excessive heating or combustion concerns?
With fermented forage, you can. In fact, the wetter the forage is, the better the fermentation works (especially with grasses). Alfalfa may not be the same day (it bales best at about 40% moisture), but it is still a much shorter time frame. And, if it rains after cutting, it won't hurt a thing. The fermentation likes the moisture (see Salvaging Rain Damaged Alfalfa).
In the summer of 2019, we had a field of cover crop that needed to be harvested and baled after a long, wet spring. We started cutting in the morning and the baler followed not far behind. By that afternoon, the field was cut and baled and we started wrapping the bales to keep the moisture in. Within two days, we were completely done and the forage was all stacked and starting to ferment.
As we baled the forage, we applied approximately 1/2 gallon of our fermentation culture per ton of forage. We had mounted a tank and spray rig on the baler so it could be done in a single pass and operation. We will allow the forage to ferment for several months and will start feeding it during the winter.
We actually did the same thing last summer (2018), though the forage was a bit drier when we cut it. Some of that crop has been fermenting for over a year and it is very nice when we open it up for our animals. They love the taste of it too.
Don't be a prisoner of the weather any longer. Cut and bale your forage when you want to, not just when the weather cooperates.
If you want to know how we do it, call us at 435-753-2086.
For more information on fermentation, you can read the following articles: