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Spray On Bale Cover Boosts Feed Value
"It protects round bales as well as plastic and improves their feed value at the same time. Cows lick it right up," says Dale Halford, Bingham, Ill., about his new edible mixture of soybean oil and feed ingredients that he calls "balebutter". The protective coating is sprayed evenly in a 1/4-in. thick layer over the top of bales.
"The soybean oil in the mixture repells rain and also keeps the balebutter from washing away," says Halford. "Balebutter is easier to handle than plastic and can't blow away in the wind or tear. It boosts the nutritional value of bales and provides a new use for agricultural products."
Halford, a former farmer and feed sales-man, began developing "balebutter" four years ago and has been working with re-searchers at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale (SIU) for the past two years. He has applied for a patent on the product and will test market it this summer, on a custom application basis, in Illinois. Balebutter costs $4 to $5 per bale to apply, compared to about $3.50 per bale for plastic. However, Halford says there's about $2 worth of feed ingredients added to each bale, according to tests by MU researchers. "The oil adds energy and the feed ingredients add minerals, including calcium and phosphorus. We think balebutter will work terrific on low quality, low energy corn stalks and grass hay. Also, balebutter lasts a long time. I applied some two years ago and it still looks almost as good as new." .
Balebutter probably can't be used to completely seal high-moisture hay bales in order to make silage bales, says Halford. "Balebutter is so heavy that if it completely covered the bale, it would probably fall off the ends or bottoms of bales. However, it should work great to cover silage pits. "We're testing an applicator with a slotted pipe that applies balebutter in 10-ft. wide swaths."
During application, balebutter has the consistency of tooth paste, but after a week it hardens to the consistency of playdough. It hardens further in cold weather but still retains its pliability. Cows chew or lick it right off the bales or it can be mixed into the bale by running it and the bale through a grinder-mixer."
Halford and SN are still working on the most effective way to apply balebutter. "It takes lots of pressure to drive balebutter into the outer layer of the bale. We've used a spray gun used to spray ceilings with plaster, but this method uses as much as 50 lbs. of balebutter per bale. We're experimenting with other spraying devices for semi-solid material. We hope that with the proper application equipment, we'll be able to apply only 42 to 45 lbs. per bale."
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dale Halford, Box 30, Bingham, Ill. 62011 (ph 618 423-9048).

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1989 - Volume #13, Issue #2