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3 Myths About Round Bale Hay

Updated: Sep 21, 2021




Round bale hay plays an essential role in the farming and agriculture industries in Australia. Despite the wide usage, there are still myths that surround it. We’re going to bust three of these myths.


Myth #1: You can’t feed round bales to horses


There is some concern around big round bales of hay and silage and the increased possibility that they may spread diseases to livestock, particularly horses. Diseases like botulism and other bacteria that lead to colic can grow in moist conditions, with things like dew and rain creating the perfect environment in bales to grow bacteria. Large round bales are more commonly stored outside and usually more tightly packed, so the concern is greater for these bale types.


This is why large round bales can get a bad rap, particularly in countries with high rainfall like the UK. While the risk is real, there is less chance in Australia and there are plenty of ways to store them safely.


If stored outside, bales should be covered with tarpaulin, raised off the ground if possible, and space should be left between bales and rows to allow for air flow and ventilation. If stored correctly, inside or outside, large round bales are perfectly safe to feed to horses and other livestock.


It’s important to always check the quality of your bales before feeding out to livestock, as it could pose a health risk and also impact the effectiveness of your round bale feed out cart.


Myth #2 - Bale fodder is only needed in drought


Supplemental fodder is used all year round for a range of usages. It may be because animals have a greater energy requirement than the pasture or regular feeding schedules can provide, or it is used to meet the needs of a growing herd.


However, it is true that hay and silage is particularly important in times of drought. It is a saving grace for properties that experience tough and extended periods of drought and can’t rely on their pastures to provide enough food. In these times, hay and silage gets shipped in from all over the country to keep livestock fed.


For example, in 2020 a convoy of 20 trucks delivered more than 2,000 bales of donated hay to drought stricken properties in Western Australia, bringing much needed feed for landowners from Leonora, all the way through to the Gascoyne Junction. This not only helped out struggling farmers, but it showed the generosity of the Australian farming and wider community.


The Australian Fodder Industry Association expected between 10-12 million tonnes of fodder would be produced nationally in 2020. This was a particularly good season, so it was an ideal time for farms to stock up on bales. Having this safety net ensures that they are prepared for seasons to come.


Myth #3 - Not all cattle farmers use fodder


In Australia, the dairy and beef industries are the largest market for hay and silage fodder. In the southern region in Australia, there are over 6,770 registered dairy farms with over 1.5 million head of cows between them. Most dairy farms in this region have a pasture based feeding system, but they also rely on supplementary feeding of fodder to fill seasonal gaps when pastures don’t produce enough, or they are overstocked.


The demand for fodder in the beef industry is also usually determined by seasonal conditions. This could be any kind of extreme weather, from drought to flooding. Given that the national head of cattle is around 28.5 million, the demand for hay and silage becomes extremely high at certain times of the year. Ensuring that all cattle get enough feed is essential for health and production, so fodder plays an integral role in the dairy and beef industries in Australia.


Cattle producers around the country usually opt for large square and round bales as they feed out larger heads of cattle and are more efficient to be used with farm equipment like feed out carts.


These types of feeders reduce the need for manual labour when feeding out, as they can automatically lift, carry, and feed out bales and can be used for carting in. Round bale feed out carts save property owners time and money and are the most efficient way to feed out. They also offer value for money, as they will last for years and are a great investment for any size of farm.



Our round bale feed out carts include our Albybone, Pa-Mick, Elite, and Champion designs. Each provides a different capacity and design to suit all usages. If you need a bigger or smaller version, or even other customisations, we can offer customised feeders to suit your needs. Speak to our team today about your best options or discuss any customisations you may need.


Call us on 03 5560 5713 or email sales@wmifeeders.com.au to talk to our team of experts.


You can see our dealer locations around the country here.


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