Considering that this year (2011) less acres were harvested for hay than in 100 years, the demand for your quality hay will continue to increase. Culbac® Hay preservative offers a great way for producers to ensure that they capitalize on the increasing value of dry baled forage. Culbac® Hay is a liquid Lactobacillus Acidophilus fermentation product that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria. These beneficial bacteria counteract the harmful effects of organisms that cause baled hay to mold and spoil when baled at higher moisture than is recommended for stored hay. Baling at higher moisture reduces leaf shatter and allows you to harvest greener, more palatable forage. Additionally, applying Culbac® Hay during mowing begins preserving forage immediately and offers a measure of windrow protection against unexpected rain showers.
Treating hay with Culbac...
- Maximizes the nutrient content (protein) of hay by reducing excessive leaf shatter.
- Increases yield (tonnage) by reducing field and harvesting losses.
- Reduces the number of days between cutting and baling.
- Increases palatability of the hay.
Harvesting More Value
The leaf portion of the alfalfa plant contains about 70% of the crude protein. When hay is baled at less than 18% moisture, leaf and stem fragments are broken or shattered. Shattered leaves represent a significant loss in both dry matter and nutrient content. When excessive leaf shatter occurs, the majority of the plant's protein energy, vitamins and minerals is lost.
The stem portion of the plant contains fibrous, less digestible nutrients. When baled hay has more stems than leaves, it has a higher fiber content and is lower in digestible nutrients.
New Mexico State University research (see chart below) shows the significance of leaf loss when alfalfa hay was baled at 23% vs. 15% moisture.
This data shows that approximately 28% of the leaf material was lost due to shattering when the hay was cured down to and baled at 15% moisture.
Additionally, the study shows that baling alfalfa hay at low moisture (15%) caused a significant loss of leaves and a consequently major loss of protein (21% crude protein at cutting and 13% crude protein at baling). The study also showed the freshly cut alfalfa plant (81% moisture) contained 21% crude protein at swathing. When the hay was baled at 23% moisture it contained 19% crude protein – a loss of only 2 percent between cutting and baling.
Field and baling losses result from the shattering of leaves and primary stem fragments caused by the mechanical handling of the hay during the harvesting process. This presents not only a loss in dry matter (yield) but also a loss in digestible nutrients. The following chart shows a summary of dry matter losses during harvesting and transporting (Marten, 1980, Univ. of Minn.)
|Operation||Loss of Dry Matter|
|Respiration Loss||2.0 – 16.0%|
|Cutting & Conditioning||2.0 – 5.0%|
|Raking||1.0 – 25.0%|
|Baling||1.0 – 15.0%|
|Transportation||1.0 – 10.0%|
|Total Losses||10.0 – 71.0%|
Research results reported by New Mexico State University showed when alfalfa was baled at 23% moisture; only 11% of the crops total potential was lost during harvesting. When the hay was allowed to dry down to 15% and baled there was a loss of 59% of the field's total potential harvest.