This is the third in a four part series we put together based on our first winter of bale grazing. In today’s post, we outline supplies needed for hay bale grazing.
Recommended List of Supplies for Hay Bale Grazing
- Round hay bales – The amount and quality of hay bales you need will depend on many factors such as herd size, animal age, length of feeding period and nutritional requirements for your herd.
- Tractor – You will need a way to unload and set-up your hay bales. See if you can borrow a tractor from a fellow farmer or if a family member or friend that has as a tractor, see if they will let you borrow it.
- Hay bale spike
- The tractor you use may already have a hay bale spike but if not, you can buy one relatively cheap. We purchased ours for $200 and we will reuse it each year with unloading and setting up hay bales.
- 12 ½ – 14-gauge smooth, high-tensile electric fence wire
- Electric fence energizer or existing electrified wire/fence to tie into
- Metal t-posts
- T-post insulators
- Rod post insulators – We like to use yellow, screw-tight rod post insulators. If the insulator comes off the rod, the yellow color stands out in the snow.
- Polywire in-line tensioners
- Handles to attach polywire to high tensile electric fence wire. We used gate handles that were available and also made makeshift handles out of scrap wire.
- Shovel for removing snow
- Axe for cutting out frozen and/or moldy hay
- Leatherman, knife or scissors for cutting bale string and frozen tarps
- String and/or twine
- Empty milk jugs or containers with a similar type handle.
- Graphing paper and pencil
- Notebook for taking notes in the field
- Computer with spreadsheet software
We hope this supply list is useful. Feel free to experiment with whatever materials work in your hay bale grazing situation. These materials work for us, but we’re always looking for other items that work best on our farm.