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How To Make Haylage. By Martha Thomas UF/IFAS Livestock Agent. Haylage Production. Haylage is forage that is baled at a higher moisture content than dry hay and then stored in a sealed plastic wrap.

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how to make haylage

How To Make Haylage


Martha Thomas

UF/IFAS Livestock Agent

haylage production
Haylage Production

Haylage is forage that is baled at a higher moisture content than dry hay and then stored in a sealed plastic wrap.

Because of high moisture level and air-tight environment, the forage ferments and is preserved by acid production during fermentation.

  • Decreased curing time needed from cutting to bailing, which makes weather less of a factor in harvesting.
  • Potential for more timely harvest of large quantities of forage.
  • Decreased need for mechanical handling and time curing to dry the forage reduces the loss of leaves, the most digestible part of the plant.
  • Potential for higher feed quality bale through leaf preservation and possible nitrate reduction.
  • Increased harvest cost per bale vs. conventional hay.
  • Disposal of used plastic wrap.
  • More likely to spoil as compared to silage in traditional silos.
  • Risk of forage spoilage if integrity of wrap is not maintained. Birds Rodents can puncture plastic and holes must be covered.
  • Transportation of bales is limited due to cost of moving high-moisture bales.
haylage production1
Haylage Production
  • Forage is baled at 50-60 percent moisture. This is the single most important variable.
  • To much moisture reduces feed quality and reduces dry matter storage in wrap.
  • Inadequate moisture reduces fermentation and increases mold production, greatly increasing storage losses.
  • Dry Hay bale is used at the ends to seal tube. Caps can also be bought for end of tubes.
  • Wrapper walks forward as new bales are placed on platform.
  • Site should be cleared of stubble and sharp objects. Perimeter of the stack can be sprayed to kill weeds that would harbor rodents and insects that would damage wrap.
  • Find a shady area, preferably on a north facing slope, to avoid temperature fluctuations that can degrade haylage and plastic.
  • Holes in the plastic should be patched as soon as possible. Wind causes loose plastic to billow out, providing an air exchange that usually spoils most of the outer layer of the bale.
  • Similar to feeding large round bales of hay. Can be safely fed to cattle, sheep, and goats.
  • Not recommended for horses because of the risk of mold if not properly harvested or damaged during storage.
  • The tube may be opened to remove individual bales and resealed without significant spoilage for up to two weeks.

University of Florida Forage Workers Tour- Heldon Ranch Dunnellon, FL

Haylage. Robeson County Center: NC Cooperative Extension. September 9, 2008