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UMaine will Introduce New Hay Rebaling Technology at AG Trades Show

Contact: Associate Extension Professor Donna Lamb, (207) 564-3301

ORONO, Me. — The University of Maine’s J. Frank Witter Center has developed hay rebaling technology that promises to raise profits for Maine hay producers and increase hay availability for livestock owners.

Hay producers like to harvest hay in large round bales, rather than small rectangular (known as “square”) bales, because round bales allow them to harvest and store hay with minimal cost and labor. A single person can often bale and store all of the hay grown on an average Maine farm with round bale harvesting. The drawback is that these large bales average about 750 pounds, making them difficult to handle, transport, sell, and use as feed.

Small-scale livestock owners who buy hay like small, square bales averaging around 40 pounds, even though they cost more per pound, because these bales can be picked up and handled manually. Yet it costs hay growers an estimated 60 percent more to bale hay in this manner.

The technology being tested at UMaine’s Witter Center is used in feeding the farm’s horses. It allows easily harvested and stored large round hay bales to be remade into small square bales as needed. Preliminary trials suggest that the rebaling process costs considerably less than baling square bales in the field, and could result in a projected increased revenue for hay growers of about $105 an acre.

James Leiby, University of Maine, and Donna Lamb, UMaine Cooperative Extension, will discuss this new “value-added” hay marketing concept on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 10 a.m. in the Androscoggin Room at the Agricultural Trades Show at the Augusta Civic Center. All interested people are welcome to attend.

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