Large round bales are commonly fed to livestock; however, it has been well documented that outdoor storage can negatively impact dry matter (DM) and forage quality. These factors, in addition to mold growth, can influence dry matter intake (DMI) and hay waste by livestock animals. To combat this, new wrap-types and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) cultivars have been introduced but these technologies are not well understood. The objectives of this research were to evaluate time required to wrap large round bales, determine changes in DM and forage quality, and examine the economics of reduce-lignin and reference alfalfa hay wrapped in twine, net wrap and B-Wrap while in outdoor storage. Then to determine preference of beef cattle and hay waste when alfalfa hay had been stored in the different wrap-types. Hay was baled into 24 large round bales; 12 bales each of reduced-lignin and reference alfalfa. Within each cultivar, four replicates were bound with each wrap-type. Using stopwatches, time to bind each bale was recorded. At the time of harvest and every 90 days (±3 days) for 365 days, individual bales were weighed and cored to determine DM loss and changes in forage quality. Twine required the most time to wrap a bale (56 seconds) compared to B-Wrap (28 seconds) and net wrap (18 seconds; P < 0.01). Alfalfa cultivar had minimal effects on the parameters measured; therefore, the interaction of wrap type and storage length was reported. After 365 days in outdoor storage, DM losses were 7% for twine wrapped bales, 5% for net wrap bales, while B-Wrap bales maintained DM. Changes in forage quality were commonly observed at ≥180 days of storage with a dilution of nonstructural carbohydrates and a concentration of insoluble fiber components. B-Wrap bales had a higher dollar value compared to net wrap and twines wrapped bales at 180 and 270 days in storage. Then, alfalfa hay (n=24) stored outdoors for 15 months in plastic twine, net wrap, and B-Wrap. After the storage period, round bales were fed in a switchback design to 18 Angus cow-calf pairs. Pairs had ad libitum access to three round bales, one of each wrap-type, in individual feeders for 48-hour periods (n=8). Feeders were weighed and waste surrounding feeders was collected at 24 and 48 h to calculate DMI and hay waste. Total DMI, and DMI during the first 24 hours, were greater in B-Wrap bales compared to twine wrapped bales indicating the cattle preferred hay wrapped in B-Wrap. Net wrapped bales resulted in similar forage quality and DMI to both B-Wrap and twine wrapped bales. However, no difference in hay waste were observed between the wrap-types. These results indicate that B-Wrap appears to shed precipitation better resulting in a conservation of DM and forage quality compared to twine and net wrap while also being preferentially consumed over twine wrap.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis.August 2019. Major: Animal Sciences. Advisors: Krishona Martinson, Marcia Hathaway. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 78 pages.
The Effect Of Alfalfa Cultivar And Round Bale Wrap-Type And Outdoor Storage Length On Dry Matter, Forage Quality, Beef Cattle Preference, And Hay Waste.
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