There are many uses for hay on farms, from providing much-needed nutrients or supplemental feed to livestock, to being used inside horse stalls and chicken coops, or even weed control mulch for gardens or crops.
However, many people confuse hay with straw–and even use the terms interchangeably–but they are very different. Both are used on farms, but straw is generally not used as feed as it provides very little nutritional value and is not palatable or digestible. Hay on the other hand is a highly valuable crop and one with good nutritive value for animals.
Straw still has value though, as it can be used to replace hay for things like mulch, stall coverings, and anything in between.
Hay is generally available in either square and round bales. Some farmers have a preference over which they prefer working with, but is there a difference between them?
Is there a difference between round and square baled hay?
There is not a large difference between square and round bales, the main difference is the type of machinery used to make them. The shape of the bale doesn’t influence the nutrients of the hay.
You are, however, more likely to see large round bales of hay nowadays instead of square. This is because of advancements in machinery and the reduced labour requirements to produce round bales.
Square bales need to be picked up from the field, moved on a trailer and then stacked inside for storage. While it might not seem like much more work, there are now better and more time efficient methods.
Large round bales contain the same amount of hay as about twenty small square bales. Not only are they more space efficient, they are designed to be moved easily using tractors. Most large-scale hay producers make round bales because the process is much more effective and efficient.
However, square bales are still produced and widely available. Some farms don’t have the need for large round bales or only want to use smaller amounts of hay at a time. For more on the differences between the two bale types, take a look at our deep dive.
No matter if you use round or square bales, you will need a bale feeder for efficient livestock feeding.
Benefits of square bale hay feeders
If you prefer to use square bales, investing in a square bale hay feeder will greatly benefit your farm and your bottom line. While there are many benefits to using feeders, we’re going to detail some of the most important to Australian farmers:
There are never enough hours in the day, so one of the ways to overcome a long to-do list is to look at ways to increase efficiency. It’s not necessarily about working faster, but smarter. By using equipment that easily transports and feeds out hay, you not only save time in carting out but also in the manual labour involved.
Not only are feeders time efficient, they are also economically efficient. A good quality feeder, like one from Willie’s Manufacturing Industries, will last for decades. The amount of time they save you over that period is priceless. For example, our machines are built-to-last, and a testament to this is the fact that the first one we ever made is still going strong 17 years later. We understand machinery needs to be built tough in order to withstand harsh Aussie farm conditions. Our feeders are made in Australia, for Australian conditions.
Another way that feeders save money is by reducing hay wastage, which can start to add up after a while.
Feed wastage can happen for any number of reasons, but one of the most common reasons is the feed out method. Feeders allow for feed to be distributed evenly to large herds and also kept off the ground so that livestock don’t trample and soil the hay. Not only does feed wastage end up costing a lot of money but it can also be detrimental if you have limited access to hay or are experiencing tough conditions.
Why WMI Feeders?
At WMI Feeders, we pride ourselves on producing the highest quality range of bale feeders in Australia. We utilise modern technology in the design of our machines, and use feedback from farmers for the design and production of new machines. This means that are feeders are specifically catered to the needs of Australian farmers.
We aim to create high-quality, long-lasting products that can withstand the tough Aussie climate. Your feeder should be durable and hard-working and be able to withstand the day-in day-out work needed on a farm. That’s what makes an effective and value for money piece of equipment.
You can find out more about our range of square bale hay feeders here.
Find your nearest WMI Feeders dealer here.
Or get in touch if you have any questions.