The Green Horse section provides practical information on managing environmentally sustainable horse properties, readers stories and tips, as well as advice and articles from equestrian experts in their fields.
Vol 36 No 4
In this issue of The Green Horse you will find the following articles:
Bees and Allergic Reactions - Andrea Carmody
Grass Species -pt2 Rye and tall fescue by Mariette van den Burg
Weed Watch- Box Mistletoe
by Nicola Field
Treat hormonal mares by growing a Chaste Tree
by Jackie Rive
‘Lady Bales’- mini round bales
by Wendy Elks
Fencing Series pt 2- Setting out the Fence
by Chris Highley
Pelleted Lime - Feeding the pasture by Wendy Elks
Small Round Bales especially designed for ladies
The traditional small square hay bale, that a horse owner can take home in the car and serve biscuit by biscuit, is becoming increasingly rare as the more economically produced and transported large round and rectangular bales dominate the forage market. However, large bales have some disadvantages for horse owners, such as the difficulty of moving them, and serving the hay in manageable quantities that doesn’t result in a lot of waste.
With the proliferation of small horse properties and hobby farms, innovators have provided an alternative: a small-scale baler that churns out mini round bales. Steve and Jackie Sherar of the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria decided to give the mini-baler a go to augment their agricultural contracting business.
The net-wrapped mini bales are equivalent in weight to a small square bale. Stored end-or side-on, the round shape increases air circulation, keeping them fresh, dry and cool, reducing the chance of freshly cut and stacked hay combusting in hot weather. Small round bale haystacks are less stable, though, and might be dangerous to climb on.
“Small property owners can find it hard to get a large bale contractor to come as there isn’t enough pasture to warrant it, or the gateways and paddocks are too small for large machinery,” said Steve. “The mini-baler fits through a 6-foot gate, and quite small paddocks can be baled, making it possible for small landholders to cut and store their pasture for winter months.”
Because of the less efficient cutting rate, small round bales are more expensive, but there are advantages. Wrapped in netting and lying end-on when cut, they can be left in the paddock for some time and even rained on without spoiling, so long as they are not stored wet. The small rounds are a convenient amount to serve and not difficult to keep out of the weather, so the hay doesn’t spoil. Whole and part-bales and unrolled hay can easily be loaded into hay nets, reducing waste to a minimum.
“Lady bales fit upright in some tyre feeders, and the hay unrolls in a layer that’s easy to manage. You can carry one out to a paddock, unroll some of it along the ground, then pick up and carry the remainder somewhere else,” Steve says.