Round Bale Quality

Asked October 8, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT

Have some oat straw (with some oats on it) and grass round bales. Put up just slightly above optimum moisture 3 weeks ago, stored outside on pallets, covered with tarp. Now outside of bales touching tarp are black slimy and have mushrooms--black layer is up to 8 inches thick. Insides look fine. Ok to peel outside and feed green area? Is outside toxic? At this point, should I uncover the bales and let them cure in the open and if so, do I need to peel the mushroom part first?(Feeding bred cows and calves). Thank you!

1 Response

Proceed with caution. Certainly, it sounds as if the outside layer of the bales are not suitable for feed. The inside of the bales may be salvageable, but they are likely to contain white molds that are simply less visible. Moldy feed can cause cattle to consume less and in some cases cause pregnant cows to abort. It is the later that I would be most concerned about. The recommendation for salvaging any moldy feed is to dilute it with clean feed as much as possible. Watch for signs of digestive upset, loose stools, depressed appetite. I don't know how much of this feed you have, and what other feed supplies you have available. When determining what to do, consider what the cost of abortion(s) may be with the cows. At today's high calf prices and moderate feed prices, it may make your decision a conservative one.

Our MSUE beef educators are also available for consultation.
http://msue.anr.msu.edu/experts/search?lname=&fname=&county=&topic=beef

I hope this helps.

Best regards,
-Dan