Why Wrap Hay Bales? Hay which is properly baled and stored can last a long time without degrading in quality. Farmers often bale hay in large round bales instead of small square bales because they require less labor to bale and move than small square bales. The shape of round bales enables them to be stored outside, something you would never do with square bales. Rain and snow naturally run off their curved sides. Three Ways to Wrap Hay Bales • Twine Hay bales wrapped with twine is the least expensive method. However, hay can be lost as it is bales and the amount of time it takes to twine wrap a bale can be 5 to 10 times as long as wrapping with netwrap. Twine wrapped bales must be stored in a more protected environment to prevent spoilage and hay bales that go uncovered in wet weather can experience nutrient loss. • Netwrap A study by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers shows bale production increased an average of 32% when using netwrap instead of twine. This study also states that storage and handling losses were reduced by as much as 65% when netwrap was applied instead of twine. Netwraped bailage can be made from 40-65% moisture forage, while traditional hay is dried to 16% percent before it is baled. Because forage is at its highest quality when cut, bailage is higher in protein and more palatable for livestock than dry hay. • Plastic Wrap Plastic wrap is the most common material used to package high-moisture bales because it’s the best way to properly encase them. However, to create a smoother bale surface, net wrapping them first is recommended. This reduces the possibility of holes in the film. Netwrap is also recommended over rodenticide-treated sisal twine, because the latter tends to degrade the plastic film. Hay in the U.S. U.S. farm land produces over 150 million tons of hay annually. Primarily used to feed livestock, hay can last a long time without losing its nutritional value. • Uncovered HayUncovered hay can incur damage if weather conditions are not ideal. Rain can cause hay to reach high levels of moisture which often result in crop losses. Also, as rain passes through hay it strips away nutrients. • Hay MoistureMoisture levels above 20% can result in the overgrowth of bacteria, fungus and mold. This damage may be limited to the surface layers depending on the size of the bale. • Covering HayHay bales can be protected from the elements by covering it with a tarp or wrapping it in plastic netwrap.