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Baling swasi

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Whitewing

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It seems like a month ago but I guess it's been only a week or so since I started baling a 110 acre pasture of grass known as "swasi". From the bit of research I've done on the plant, it appears to have been introduced into Venezuela in just the last few decades. While it serves as a general pasture feed for livestock, most of the use it gets in my area is a feed for horses. Here it ranks second to bermuda in popularity.

Anyway, after cutting my baling teeth on bermuda, swasi turned out to be an entirely different animal to bale. This particular pasture was not cut for the entire growing season and the plant coverage is now a thick mat of material. I'll post some photos to give you guys some idea of the conditions and challenges.

Here's a close-up of plant material as I found it.
100_3745.jpg


This shot shows what swasi looks like standing and after it's been cut. For the record, it's so dry here now that I can cut and bale the same day.
100_3748.jpg


I use a tedder on my bermuda and always am pleased with the results. That was not the case with swasi. Here's a shot of the ugliest windrows known to man.
100_3749.jpg


After that first failure (the tedder experience), I decided I'd just pick it up right off the ground. Here's a shot of swasi "carpet" feeding into the baler.
100_3763.jpg


Check out this shot. We've had strong winds for days now and along the edges where I'd baled previously, this stuff just rolls up.
100_3837.jpg


When I made those first windrows I told my guys I had at least 1000 bales to be made. Again, I was thinking bermuda, and again, I was wrong. Swasi has a really fine stem and, in the end, it ends up making about the half the bales one would expect for an equal volume of bermuda.
100_3755.jpg


And while it's not nearly as easy to sell as bermuda, the clients still show up.
100_3767.jpg

100_3768.jpg


The owner of the pasture asked if I could sell his bales for him and I agreed (with a service charge, of course). I also expressed my concerns with the fact that I had no experience selling swasi to my clients and that if I had to move the bales to my ranch, it might be too cumbersome to pull off. My ranch is at the base of the mountains you can see in the distance in some of the photos. Anyway, he offered some "sheds" he had available in the pueblo which cut that trip in half. Here's a shot of our hay in his "sheds".
100_3799.jpg


When I left the ranch this afternoon, the sheds were empty. I made close to 2000 bales this past week and they've all been sold. I've got an order from a single client for 1000 bales for this week so I'll get started on them on Monday. So far, so good. :D
 

Hayguy

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if you build them,they will come :wink:

looking good Whitewing


those windrow's just need a wider pick-up on the baler :wink: :lol: :lol:
 

Whitewing

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hayguy said:
if you build them,they will come :wink:

looking good Whitewing


those windrow's just need a wider pick-up on the baler :wink: :lol: :lol:

I figured you'd get a kick out of those windrows. Here's what the field looked like without that massacre of mine.
100_3784.jpg


Here's another you might get a kick out of. My guys went a bit overboard on this load but it still made it to market without going in the ditch....180 bales. :shock:
100_3794.jpg


And I just like this shot because it was the last one of that particular day and we were headed to the pueblo for the night.
100_3792.jpg
 

Whitewing

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Faster horses said:
I'd be curious to know the nutrients in that hay; protien, energy, etc.
Do you ever test hay there?

That was interesting. Thanks.

Here's what one blurb had to say about it:

Family: Gramínea
Nutrition value: 9 - 14% Protein
Digestibility: 51 - 63%

I've not tested hay here yet, don't even know where to begin, but will manage to find someone eventually who can do a reliable job....I hope. :D
 

Faster horses

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Whitewing said:
Faster horses said:
I'd be curious to know the nutrients in that hay; protien, energy, etc.
Do you ever test hay there?

That was interesting. Thanks.

Here's what one blurb had to say about it:

Family: Gramínea
Nutrition value: 9 - 14% Protein
Digestibility: 51 - 63%

I've not tested hay here yet, don't even know where to begin, but will manage to find someone eventually who can do a reliable job....I hope. :D

Thanks. You do realize the lower the digestiblity number, the easier it is to digest? Well, that is if it is measured in acid detergent fiber (ADF). Maybe this
isn't measured on the same scale. It doesn't look very digestible tho...
anyhow, looks like things are rolling right along for you and you are still
having fun!! Good for you!
 

Whitewing

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myersfarm said:
what kind of soil does this grow on ?
could we grow it here in USA

In this case, it's growing on some really poor-looking soil.....red clay from what I can see. Seems to do well under a wide range of precipitation levels. It's a very popular horse feed in the state to the east of here and they get lots of rainfall. We're generally much drier.

Here's a link to a website that describes the plant. As you'll note, it's in Spanish, but should be relatively easy to translate.

http://www.tropicalforages.info/Multiproposito/key/Multiproposito/Media/Html/Digitaria%20swazilandensis.htm
 

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