Why Do Farmers Use Net Wrap?
Ever wonder how hay is Stored in Cattle Fields? Farmers use Net Wrap, which is often made out of plastic or twine. Plastic Net wrap and twine are used to hold Hay Bales together until it is time to feed cattle. It is a quick and convenient way to gather, load, and unload Hay Bales. In fact, when stored and applied properly, Net Wrap can maintain most of its strength for about 12 months. This is good for the farmer but bad for the cattle.
“Round bales are wrapped with plastic or twine. Wrapping Bales allows the hay to hold up better because rain and snow run off the curved sides like a roof.” Russell Smith
Instead of small square bales, cattle farmers typically bale hay in round bales. Round bales are wrapped with plastic or twine. Wrapping Bales allows the hay to hold up better because rain and snow run off the curved sides like a roof. Round Hay Bales are used because they require less labor to bale. Round Hay Bales are much easier to move than small square hay bales and can be moved by hand if needed.
Are There Health Effects From Net Wrap?
Plastic net wrap, just like plastic bags, is non-biodegradable. They will never decompose. This is a major issue in Cattle Farming. When you have a large field and a large number of cattle to feed it is all about efficiency. Often times the net wrap gets cut from the bale and is left in the field due to time constraints. Cows do not differentiate between hay and net wrap when grazing. They are actually eating the plastic wrap left in the field.
Common causative factors for ruminal impaction are:
- Poor feed quality
- Low protein forage rations
- Abrupt change or alteration of the dietary ration
- Introduction of foreign substance to diet
Common causative signs of ruminal impaction are:
- Abdominal Distension
- Poor Hair Coat
- Abnormal or Dry/ Reduced Feces
- Abdominal Discomfort
- Reduced Body Condition Score
- Reduced Weight Gain
Why is Plastic Net Wrap a Big Problem?
In one word: Ruminal Impaction.
Net Wrap Production is cheap and quick. The amount of hay produced in the U.S. last year was over 128 million tons. On average, hay management teams use around 2.5 Net Wraps per bale. Large round bales can weigh up to as much as 2,000 pounds.
With the growing amount of plastic waste found the number of cases of Ruminal Impaction is increasing.
What is Ruminal Impaction?
“Ruminants comprise the cattle, sheep, antelopes, deer, giraffes, and their relatives.” The National Center for Biotechnology Information
Plastic left in fields such as water bottles or plastic wrap can cause Ruminal Impaction (Plastic Disease) due to ingesting plastic materials.
When this happens it creates a significant economic loss to farmers that appear in the form of:
- Low Milk Yield
- Poor Weight Gain
- Reduced Draft Ability
- Heart Disease
- Low Protein Yield
What Are Alternatives to Plastic Net Wrap?
Farmers have a few choices for wrapping bales:
- Baler Twine
- Sisal Twine
- Plastic Wrap
- Hemp Wrap
- Edible Bale Net Wrap
Health should be considered at all times to avoid plastic disease. It’s about baling efficiency and storage. If properly baled and stored, hay can last a long time without degrading in quality.
Unlike gift wrap, the choice isn’t just about presentation, it is about the safety of the cattle.
Maxilator creates tools for edge to edge safety to prevent plastic disease. The products easily remove and reduce the use of plastic and wrap in the field. The growing concern of cattle
The Maxilator Accumagrapple and other products like a skid steer will remove wrap efficiently while still showing the visible warning stripe in hay bales.
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Maxilator works hard for the everyday farmer. Efficient and high-quality products, like the Accumagrapple, Bale Splitter and Bale Cracker, allow producers to save time and money.
Maxilator values the hard work and hours spent on your operation and we want to make the job easier for you!