Homepage Blog The real value of a good Netwrap

The real value of a good Netwrap

Everyone makes a bad bale now and again, yes? But what does it actually mean to you and, more importantly, to your business?

When Netwrap took over from fine twine for binding round bales, the higher ‘quality’ of the bale being made became obvious. Quality in this respect was the protection the Netwrap was able to provide to the valuable crop within. This was in contrast to the inability of twine to do anything more than hold the bale together.

Round bales do provide themselves a certain amount of weather protection, from the roof-effect of the crop stems being layed over and flattened against themselves, all in the same direction, almost like a thatch roof. Netwrap further enhances protection from rain of course, firstly by surface area covering and also from capillary-action of water tracking down the strands of Netwrap on the bale.

The Impact of Incomplete Bale Coverage

Now that Netwrap is the recognized way of binding round bales it has become easy to spot those that have been badly wrapped. This may be a result of incorrect baler set-up or, more likely, that the chosen Netwrap is not able to fully cover the bale. Whatever the reason the result is bad for the baler operator, especially so if contract baling for a customer, but also bad from the point of retaining the ‘value’ of the crop. This latter point is, surely, the most important as this is why you make the bale in the first place.

Consider this. Exposed edges of 10cm each side (only 4 inches in old-language so not much you might think) means 15% of the bale width is not covered. Therefore the Netwrap is only doing 85% of its job! This is the equivalent of three bales in every 20 not being protected at all, quite an alarming statistic when looked at in those terms.

Larger diameter bales are even more critical, as the greater bale circumference means more of the total crop volume is at risk.

The diagram below is a stark reminder of how much crop is contained in the outer layer of a bale.

The Vital Role of Bale Protection in Maximizing Crop Value and Silage Quality

Making a round bale is, in essence, making food or a bed for your animals. The better the bale was protected the lower the amount of crop loss, making each bale go further when finally used and therefore providing a greater return in value. This is equally important in silage baling (in fact often times it is even more so). After all these years the myth remains that ‘any net will do for silage baling’, thinking that it is not necessary for the net to fully cover the bale for silage, because it will eventually be wrapped in film giving it the protection. This is completely incorrect.

Effective Fermentation: Minimizing Air for Quality Bales

Good fermentation comes from eliminating all the air within the bale. Any un-covered parts of the bale width will create fluffy shoulders on the bale. These become a natural ‘trap’, collecting air within as the crop is folded down by the wrapping film. Added to this is the risk that the exposed shoulders may contain tough stalks or stemmy crop that can easily puncture the film, allowing yet more air inside the bale.

“Minimising losses is key to ensuring home grown supplies last the winter and achieve the livestock performance producers are looking for,” says Research Scientist and forage specialist Rhun Fychan of the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth. The remedy is simple. “Make the best silage you can” he urges. “But even that needs to be done well to achieve the best results. Using Edge-to-Edge netwrap to achieve a consistently shaped bale, with square edged shoulders is vital to achieving both the tonnage and quality of forage desired”. Mould growth leads to spoiled forage, less nutritional
value per bale and ultimately the need for more bales over winter.

Netwrap Selection: A Crucial Factor in Quality Winter Forage Production

In the quest to make the highest quality winter forage, the choice of a good Netwrap is as important as any other element in the process. Longer length rolls bring about efficiencies in operation but the actual quality of performance of the Netwrap is the most important factor. Many Netwraps look alike when packaged and on the pallet, it is impossible to know how good they are at protecting your valuable forage until you begin to use it and by then it may be too late.

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