Successfully forming round or square bales depends on a number of factors. For high-quality forage, the mowing and wrapping time is just as important as a good stretch film. When making round bales, the machine settings and a stretch wrap with the correct stretch percentage are crucial. The optimum mowing time and machine settings, the right stretch wrap and correct bale transport all contribute to forage quality. 

Identifying the right time for mowing

Everything starts with good grassland maintenance, optimum regrowth and a dense, strong sward. This is the basis of good grass. It is important to identify the right time for mowing. The ripeness (shown by the stage of ear development) and height of the grass are good indicators. A mowing height of 6-7 cm can be used. This ensures that the maximum amount of grass is mown without affecting regeneration. Also ensure that the crude ash content is low. A round or square bale with a dry matter content of 45% conserves well and can also be pressed easily.

Net wrap or mantle film

Net wrap or mantle film can be used to hold the pressed grass together before the bale is wrapped. Nets are traditionally used for this purpose, but the use of mantle film is on the rise. The huge advantage is that the edges of the bales are neatly finished and it can be removed together with the stretch film. Time and labour saving!

Wrapping bales

Use a baler which wraps the bales tightly. The wrapper should rotate the bales neatly and evenly. Wrap the bales as soon as possible after baling. Preferably 1-2 hours after baling. Preferably do not wrap bales during heavy rainfall as the film layers will not stick together properly.

Wrap at least 6 layers of film round the bale, with 55% overlap. With grass with a coarser and harder structure, wrap at least 8 layers of film round the bale, preferably 10. This minimises the risk of gaps and tears in the film and guarantees high-quality forage. Also check the optimal stretch percentage of the wrap.

Transport and storage

The bales should be removed from the field as quickly as possible. Use a grab to load the bales. Bales should be transported and stored vertically.
Ensure that the floor in the storage area is clean. Check the floor for stones, etc. which can damage the film. If you notice a tear in the film, seal it using the appropriate tape.
If necessary, cover the bales with a Meganyl protection net to protect them from birds, branches and extreme weather influences etc. 

Types of agricultural stretch wrap

MegaStretch is a supremely all-round stretch wrap suitable for every type of wrapper and for round or square bales. MegaStretch also has a very good price / quality ratio. The cardboard tube is easily disposed of in the paper collection bin.

Triowrap is a higher quality stretch film. This is due to the raw material used to make Triowrap which gives it a higher stretch percentage. Triowrap comes on a PVC tube with ensures that it rotates smoothly on the baler/wrapper.

Trioplus has the same quality as Triowrap but there are more metres on the roll.  The standard length is 1500 metres, but Trioplus has 1900 metres per roll. This means more bales per roll and less installation of new rolls, which saves a lot of time.

Additional tips

  • Always store the film vertically in a cool, dry environment.
  • Bring the stretch film up to temperature before use
  • If packed in a box, do not remove the stretch film until just before use
  • Install the rolls on the machine carefully to prevent damage
  • Remove any dirt particles and adhesive residues several times a day
  • Wrap the bales within 2 hours of baling.
  • Heavy rain reduces adhesion of the glue on the stretch wrap.
  • Bales can be stored for a maximum of 12 months after wrapping.