Advantages of Balers Equipped with a Pre-Cutting System
Despite a slight increase in initial investment and fuel consumption, University of Wisconsin Forage Agronomist Dr. Dan Undersander will tell you that there are many advantages to using a baler with a pre-cutting system. In fact, he says that using knives to pre-cut forage before it goes into a bale is not only beneficial for the operator making the bales, but also for the producer feeding the bales and – arguably most important – the livestock eating the forage.
Dr. Undersander explains that by cutting hay into smaller pieces, denser bales can be created. By increasing the density and putting more tonnage in the same size bale, operators can store more hay in the same amount of space. This is especially helpful when transporting bales as operators are able to haul more tonnage per load. The same holds true when evaluating your bale packaging costs. If producers can get more forage per bale, they can use less netwrap and plastic to wrap their bales, which can result in monetary and time savings.
It’s a simple reminder, but Dr. Undersander will also tell you that cattle eat pounds, not bales. With denser bales, producers can save time and energy by not having to put out as many bales for their livestock. What’s more is that feed efficiency can be improved because smaller pieces of hay do not fall out of a cow’s mouth as quickly as larger pieces. Many producers can relate to the frustration of seeing a cow take a bite from the bale ring and watching the hay from the sides of their mouth fall to the ground only to get trampled on. Pre-cut forage allows cattle to consume four to six inch bites resulting in less chewing time, increased consumption and ultimately, less wasted hay. According to Dr. Undersander’s studies, a 10-percent improvement in animal gain can be seen as a result of this. With that, it’s clear that small bites can deliver big benefits.