Large rectangular bales need to be about two per cent drier (12 – 14 per cent moisture) than large rounds (14 – 16 per cent) which themselves need to be about two per cent drier than the small squares (16 – 18 per cent).
To increase curing time, leave wide windrows behind a mower-conditioner, ted immediately after mowing, and use a form of hay preservative.
Some of the signs to look for to prevent haystack fires include:
■Heating of bales.
■Dampness on the tops of bales.
■Steam rising from the stack.
■Unusual odours (e.g. pipe tobacco, caramel, burning, musty smells).
■Moisture build-up on roofing iron or under a tarped outside stack.
■Corrosion on underside of tin roof.
■Sometimes the stack may slump in places.
- Agriculture Victoria’s senior dairy extension officer Frank Mickan