If you are considering purchasing a hay baler that includes a pre-cutting system, many experts agree that you are making a good decision. While there may be a few drawbacks to such balers, in the long-run these type of balers will pay off.
Balers with pre-cutting systems use knives to cut forage before it goes into the bale. These balers are a bit more expensive than traditional balers and use slightly more fuel but make up for both of these things in the long run.
The first way balers with pre-cutting systems pay off for hay producers is through denser bales. When hay is cut into small pieces before being baled, hay bales are denser and result in more tonnage—without increasing the size of the bale. This allows for more efficient storing of hay bales because more hay is stored without creating the need for more storage space. It also allows for more hay bales to be transported without requiring larger trucks or trailers. Finally, these bales, although containing more hay, do not require more wrapping materials or time to prepare.
The second way that balers with pre-cutting systems make for a good investment is in feed efficiency. Farmers do not have to put out as many bales, saving time. They also do not have to replenish bales as often. This has to do with the fact that denser bales make for better livestock feed. Denser bales are composed of small pieces of hay. This type of hay is less likely to fall out of animals’ mouths and get trampled, making it inedible. For example, when forage is pre-cut, cattle have to chew hay less while consuming more. This means producers save more money through less waste. Research has shown weight gain of up to 10 percent in animals who are fed smaller pieces of hay. Cutting forage into shorter pieces increases the amount of surface area on the forage. This allows bacteria and fungi in the rumen to digest the hay faster. In other words, more nutrition is taken in because gut-fill is reduced.
While balers with pre-cutting systems can cost about $10,000 more than traditional balers, it is easy to see how this money is well spent through a reduction in winter forage costs as well as a drop in supplemental feeding bills.
The Hay Manager, LLC
24064 478th Avenue
Trent, SD 57065