Don’t delay removing hay bales

While driving around the district the past few weeks, I have seen that round bales often are still sitting where they were dropped by the baler.
If you are planning a second cut or wish to keep a strong stand for future years, delaying removal of these bales can be harmful.
Plants underneath often are killed if covered for more than a week or two, providing a great starting place for weeds to grow.
Most of the damage, however, is due to wheel traffic on the re-growth. Studies show that when fields are dry, plants driven on before re-growth occurs yield about five-seven percent less at the next cutting.
Even worse was waiting awhile to remove those bales. Just seven days after cutting, when re-growth shoots had started to grow, yield in the affected areas was reduced by more than 25 percent and survival of these plants also was less.
Worst of all is removing bales when fields are wet, as wheel traffic causes much more compaction, with yield loss typically exceeding 30 percent in the affected areas.
These studies emphasize the benefits of baling and removing bales from hay fields as quickly as possible after cutting, as well as minimizing driving on wet soils.
They also suggest that following the same trail when removing bales or stacks from fields can reduce losses from wheel tracks by limiting the total area damaged.
Hay fields must be driven on, of course, to remove bales after harvest. But you can lessen damage by controlling where, when, and how often you drive.
< *c>Dates to remember
•Sept. 6-8—Dr. Stacey will be in the area (call 1-204-326-3955 to book an appointment); and
•Sept. 8 – Cattle sale, Stratton sales barn

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