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Extension > Agriculture > Livestock > Horse > Nutrition and forages > Make better use of round-bales

Make better use of round-bales

Krishona Martinson, PhD, University of Minnesota

Drought conditions have severely reduced the supply of hay and other feedstuffs, escalating the demand and driving up prices. Horse owners can reduce hay waste by using feeders and properly storing hay, especially when feeding round-bales.

In a study conducted in MN, feeding round-bales to horses without a feeder resulted in 57% waste. All nine round-bale feeders tested reduced hay waste, and ranged from 5 to 33% hay waste.

Research has shown outdoor hay storage losses can range from 5 to 35% depending on precipitation, storage site, and original condition of the bale. For example, the outer 4" layer of a 6' diameter round-bale contains about 25% of the total bale volume, and is most likely to be damaged by weather if stored improperly or unprotected.

There are a number of techniques that minimize outdoor storage losses:

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