1992 - Volume #16, Issue #2, Page #34[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Beef Fat Protects Round BalesCovering big round bales with a layer of melted beef fat does just as good a job preventing spoilage as plastic wrap and eliminates the problems of disposal because cattle eat the fat right along with the hay.
University of Missouri researcher Dale Watson tried the new method for the first time last summer. He got the idea after another U of M researcher got a plastic bale cover tangled up in his mower. The incident prompted him to look for a new way to protect bales stored outside without using plastic.
After coating a batch of bales with melted tallow, Watson let them sit until the middle of winter. More than 8 in. of rain had fallen on the bales when he finally cut into them. He was pleasantly surprised to find that the alfalfa was bright green and fresh right to the top of the outer rim of the bale. There was no rain damage at all.
For his experiment, Watson used foodgrade tallow flakes that are normally used by bakers and food processors. He melted the tallow and applied it with a garden sprinkler. Now that his first tests have proven successful, he plans to mechanize the application process for next season.
Treatment cost was about $3.00 per bale for the initial test but he figures he can use less than half as much tallow and do as good a job and possibly find a cheaper form of fat such as lard or chicken fat. However, tallow works ideal because it has a higher melting point and should stay in place even under the hot summer sun.
Watson says there is a surplus of tallow on the market right now because many fast food chains have switched to vegetable oil for cooking fried foods. He hopes to interest tallow manufacturers in his research.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dale Watson, Univ. of Missouri, 111 N. Mason, Carrollton, Mo. 64º33 (ph 816 542-1788).
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