the mechanized compaction of loose hay to form bundles, or bales, of various sizes and densities. In the USSR, hay is usually compacted into bales of 35 × 45 × 85 cm. With a moisture level of 20 percent during baling, a bale weighs between 30 and 45 kg (depending on the kind of hay). Baling is done by pick-up balers (from windrows) or stationary balers (from stacks and ricks).
Baling cuts harvest losses to a minimum during transport and preparation for storage. The volume of compacted hay is five to eight times less than that of loose hay. The most valuable parts of the plant (leaves and flowers), as well as its aroma, color, and vitamins (carotene), are preserved better in bales. Compacted hay is less hygroscopic and therefore less subject to spoilage from atmospheric precipitation than loose hay. Hay with moisture levels as high as 25 percent can be baled. It is best to compact hay that is uniform in composition: grass or legume (without admixtures of poor-drying forbs). In the USSR, 12 to 15 percent of the hay is compacted. In many Western European countries (Great Britain, the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Democratic Republic, Denmark), the United States, and Canada, most of the hay is baled.
REFERENCESenokosy i pastbishcha. Edited by I. V. Larin. Moscow, 1969.
A. P. MOVSISIANTS