FODDER CONSERVATION USING A
Marginal areas are characterised by many hostile conditions that affect both human and
animal populations. The scarcity of food and water is therefore a common problem. The rains
fall in the shortest season thus making the availability of water a major problem.
A big problem for farmers in drylands is how to preserve forage during the rainy season to feed
animals during the dry months. One way of doing this is by harvesting the forage, drying and
baling (compacting) it to make hay.
The process of hay bailing is less complicated compared to silage making. Hay also lasts longer.
Both planted and natural forages can be made into hay, but the forages have to be well secured
to avoid moulding or overheating. In good sunny weather, well spread and turned forages will be
ready for bailing in three days. A simple box baler or the improved mechanical type can be used
to make bales.
Making a simple baler
A simple baler is made of a solid wooden box with a hollow bottom. A good size is one that is
100cm long, 50cm wide and 40 cm deep. Other measurements can also be used but the box
should retain a rectangular shape and should not be too big. Ropes and some hay (dried grass)
are also needed.
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