Called the local feedplace that is selling orchard grass. They didn't have any today but would be bailing later today so would have some tomorrow. I was a little surprised as they had previously told me it came from CO. Plus, nothing is growing around here, so I was confused. The guy then explained to me that they buy round bales and make them into square bales?? I asked if that was even possible and he said "it takes a bit of work". He said that's how they manage to keep it at $9/bale rather than the going rate around here of $13/bale just now.
Has anyone heard of this before? I thought Tamara might be able to give me some insight into how possible this is? Right now I have a vision of them unrolling round bales, making them into windrows and then taking a square baler over them.
Absolutely possible!! We have done it for our own use before...but...the quality of the round bale can be an issue. The outside layers of a round bale may be weathered, rotted or at the least discolored. When squaring rounds we unroll off a hay spear at the baler and stuff it in the hopper. If they are disposing of the outer layers it's probably ok, but if they are mixing the outer "junk" with the inner hay you may be buying moldy trash mixed with good hay!!
It is done all the time and a great way for resellers to hide the bad hay on the edges of the round bale. also, beware of Bermuda that has been re-baled, it becomes to fine and can cause colic.
but it is standard practice these days as square bales are a PITA to bale and collect out of the field, unless the Farmer has expensive equipment. Round balers are cheap and make moving the hay easier.
Two of my local hay dealers sell hay like this, but there's a HUGE difference between the two.
One grows, cuts, & bales his own hay, & is very intimately involved in the quality, curing, etc. I've yet to get even one bad square-baled-from-a-round-bale bale from him.
The second is simply a middle-man dealer, & he sometimes gets good deals on local round bales that have been re-baled square. I stopped buying these from him months ago - just had far too many bales that were moldy in the middle. Although he always makes good on bad bales, having to return or complain just got too tiresome for me. So now I only use him for the absolutely pristine & lovely 100#-120# bales of Montana alfalfa he sells.
It's done around here as well (VA). The hay producer I know of that uses this process stores the rounds he produces under cover and then rebales them as needed.
He sells some as rounds and then when he gets an order for squares he can rebale.
I've never bought any of the rebaled, but I've bought the rounds and they are high quality orchard grass rolls.
He had to go this route as finding people willing to help pick squares and stack squares during the heat of the summer was very hard. By doing rounds he can keep up with the work and produce squares when things are a little slower.
One of the hay suppliers here does it. I refuse to buy from them any more. The coastal gets too chopped up and fine. Bad hay is easily mixed in with the good to hide yet you still pay the same price.
the nature of the slicing machine is to both unroll and cut...the cutting action is VERY useful in hard core big rounds...which no one uses as they can't/won't afford a baler upgrade (think push mower to small riding tractor for a comparison)
so in the bales made from cheaper balers (soft core and small) the cutting and side to side action of the slicer actually destroys the leaf still attached to any stem from things like alfalfa (where the leaf is the gold) and further shortens things like second cuttings into lawn trimmings
for a hard core large bale of a thick deep first cutting it's great,nothing can beat it