Should You Remove The Net Wrap From Bales?

Ideally, net wrap should be removed from bales before tub-grinding or processing, but there’s no definitive research indicating that not doing so leads to intestinal problems. That’s what Greg Lardy, North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension beef cattle specialist, gleaned from conversations with manufacturers of net-wrapping balers. He was tracking down the answer for a North Dakota producer who wondered whether he should worry about taking off the wrap. “According to company reps, there have been no conclusive studies on the topic to date. However, they were unaware of any reports of intestinal or stomach damage in cattle due to ingesting the small pieces of plastic resulting from net-wrapped bales being tub-ground or shredded with the wrap on,” Lardy reports. He says cow-calf producers seem most likely to remove the wrap, using the logic that cows are around longer and would have the opportunity to ingest more of the plastic bits than stocker or feeder cattle. Meanwhile, Lardy asks producers to let him know their observations and experiences along these lines. Contact him at or 701-231-7660. — Wes Ishmael, BEEF Stocker Trends newsletter

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