For manually baling hay: Insert 2 sisal ropes, inside the gaps of the blanks along the 60cm sides, overlapping on both sides. Fill closed box with hay, somebody standing on top to compact it. When filled to top, tie the ropes and open locks to remove the
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Pictured   above   is   haymaking   European   style,   depending   on   large   parcels   of   land,   little   manpower   &   which   is   fully   mechanized. The   grassland,   natural   pasture   or   established   fodder   grass   is   mown,   after   which   the   cut   grass   is   turned   several   times   and finally,   overnight   or   when   totally   dry,   collected   in   windrows.   A   big   round-baler   will   compact   and   tightly   pack   the   ready   hay, which   makes   storage   that   much   easier.   If   not   totally   dry   (mainly   due   to   poor   weather   conditions   during   the   haymaking process),   the   hay   can   also   be   collected   loose   &   stored   in   big   barns.   Fire   hazard,   often   caused   by   self-combustion   due   to overheating   in   wet   hay,   must   always   be   kept   in   mind.   Grassland   should   be   cut   at   the   optimum   growth   stage,   early   flowering, to ensure optimum digestibility and protein contend, but this is often made impossible by rainy weather conditions.
For   several   years   we   have   tried   to   make   hay   during   the   active   growing   phase   of   the   grass,   which   is   in   and   shortly   after   the rainy   season   in   the   tropics.   Very   high   humidity   in   the   air,   recurring   showers   and   the   lengthily   process   of   making   hay   manually make   it   close   to   impossible   to   dry   the   grass   to   the   stage   when   it   can   be   safely   stored.   This   causes   moulding   and   extreme fire   hazard.   We   have   therefore   turned   to   making   silage   during   the   wetter   times   of   the   year,   and   hay   is   only   made   out   of almost   dry   grass,   or   “standing   hay”,   during   the   dry   season.   This   hay   more   resembles   straw   in   respect   of   quality   & digestibility   but   will   still   fill   a   hungry   cow´s   stomach   and   this   certainly   is   our   main   concern   in   this   drought   ridden   continent. For   full   instructions   for   building   a   hay-box,   which   greatly   helps   storing   manually   made   hay,   please   click   on   the   sketch.   This hay-box is one of our earliest and most widely adopted inventions, now featuring on most Agricultural Shows all over Kenya.
For   years   we   have   not   made   hay   any   more.   Quality   was   simply   too   poor.   In   its   active   growth   stage   dry   matter   content   of natural   pasture   grass   here   is   from   7%   to   10%.   Air   Humidity   at   that   time   is   between   80%   and   99%.   One   day   drying   increases dry   matter   to   only   10%   to   14%.   Making   hay   is   impossible   under   such   conditions.   But   even   silage   making   with   this   little   dry matter content is truly challenging, even after trying to wilt the grass. Therefore   a   new   idea   was   born:   Rather   than   to   wait   for   all   the   pasture-land   to   mature   to   a   workable   dry   matter   content (meaning   it   has   deteriorated   to   extremely   poor   digestibility   levels),   we   will   attempt   this   new   system   this   year:   We   have made   plenty   of   hay   in   the   middle   of   the   dry   season,   which   is   really   easy   to   make   as   you   only   have   to   cut   down   and   bale   the standing   hay,   no   additional   drying   needed   at   all!   Then,   once   the   rain   season   has   started   we   will   begin   harvesting   grass   at   only 10%   dry   matter   content,   when   it’s   digestibility   is   at   it’s   best   and   wilt   it   for   a   little   over   one   day   to   reach   at   least   15%   DM   or better   still   20%   DM.   Then   we   will   mix   this   in   certain   proportions   with   the   hay   and   chop   all   of   it   with   our   faithful   chaff cutter.   We   will   possibly   add   some   Maize   Germ   Meal   /   Wheat   Pollard   for   further   increasing   of   dry   matter   content.   Through this method at least 50% of the total silage mass should have good digestibility and therefore feed value levels.