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News Releases Archive (Prior to 2011)

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick: Large round bales (for the week of Sept. 9, 2001)

August 20, 2001

Dear Twig: What are those big, round things I see in farmers’ fields? They look like bales of hay. You’re right. They ARE bales of hay. They’re called “large round bales” (imagine that!) and they help feed cattle and other farm animals. Why large and round instead of, say, small and rectangular? Well, lots of farmers DO make small rectangular bales. But large round bales, if you have lots of hay and have the right equipment, are easier to work with. Better to move one big whopper than a bunch of little ones. Also, rain and snow cause less damage to large round bales (especially if the bales are wrapped in plastic, which is easy to do). The bales stay drier. They see less rot. That’s important to farmers who keep hay outside, like those who practice year-round grazing. What’s year-round grazing? That’s when livestock spend the winter on pasture instead of in a barn. They eat what’s left of the pasture plants. Then they’re fed hay in large round bales. In fact, large round bales were brought to North America by Ohio State scientists who were studying year-round grazing. They did this in 1971. The lesson to be learned? If it’s big, round and brown, it’s a large round bale. If it’s big, round and green, it’s Gamera. RUN! Twig Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick," a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, is a weekly science column for kids. "Twig" is a bow tie-wearing cartoon walkingstick, a type of insect. He's the voice of the column and appears at the left in the hard-copy version. "Bob the Bug," Twig's pal, is a bald-headed bug of an unidentified type who doesn't say much and appears in the bottom-right corner. For more information or to receive "Twig" columns by mail or e-mail, contact Kurt Knebusch, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691, (330) 263-3776, Hey Editor! Bill Weiss, professor, Department of Animal Sciences, Ohio State University, reviewed this column. A free, 18-page booklet, "The History of the Development of the Large Round Bale," is available from SCT, OSU/OARDC, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691, (330) 263-3700, Single or multiple copies are available.

Kurt Knebusch
Bill Weiss