Soil Fertility and Good Feed – That’s Why Greg Judy Unrolls Hay

Back in 1999 when we first started leasing idle land for grazing that needed serious fertility, I designed my first bale unroller. We had all these old farms that had been stripped of their fertility by folks continuously haying them every year without putting back any nutrients. We did not have any money to fertilize anything, so we custom grazed other folks cattle and wintered their cows on our newly leased soil bankrupted farms. The cattle owners bought the hay, we unrolled it for their cows across our worn out farms. Within one year you could see a major difference in the grass species. Former broomsedge fields on these worn out farms were now cranking out beautiful diverse mixes of forages. It did not take me long to think up a better way of unrolling hay after pushing a few by hand down a hill by myself in the dark after getting off work at night. My heart felt like it was going to come out of my chest from the exertion it took to get one moving down the hill! Several bales made their own path over a bluff and into a creek. One took out a perimeter fence, snapping off numerous wooden posts. My first bale unroller had to meet several design challenges. It had to be light, yet strong enough to unroll an 1800 pound round bale on pasture without leaving destructive ruts. I wanted minimal tongue weight so that it would be balanced, allowing one person to easily hook it up. It had to be very strong to take the abuse of unrolling an 1800 pound bale over rough t

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6 thoughts on “Soil Fertility and Good Feed – That’s Why Greg Judy Unrolls Hay

  1. I agree with the theory but I wonder if one of these works with baleage aka wrapped hay? I also struggle to picture anything but a tractor managing the snow we get in central MN. Also doesn’t it take a rather large atv to pull a large bale in muddy conditions?

  2. Hi Greg,

    Awesome invention! That’s an even better design (simpler) than another I’ve seen recently, and the weighting is perfect. If I was in the US I’d be tempted to buy (currently and forever Japan).
    Best regards,

  3. Why in the heck would you have baby calves in the winter when there’s no grass? You’ve got bigger problems than how you’re feeding hay. Not the best way to manage your baby calves if you are wanting to make a living with your cow herd.

    1. Not sure what your talking about, there was no mention of baby calves in this video describing our bale unroller. I did have a friend that calved in winter with bale rings, he lost baby calves every winter with them being trampled by laying next to the bale ring on cold nights. We have stockpiled grass all winter and graze every day of the winter that the ground is not covered with 2 feet of snow. I learned a long time ago to keep some hay around for blizzards, pretty good insurance. Good grazing to you.

      1. By feeding hay in a bale ring, only 15 or so cows can get around the ring to eat from it. Bale rings are also a very dangerous place for a baby calf to lay down at when it is dark, cold and wet. The cows can trample the calf into the mud by fighting for their spot around the bale ring not even recognizing the baby calf under their feet. Not the best way to manage your baby calves if you are wanting to make a living with your cow herd.

        1. Luke, am I missing something that you’re trying to say? In this article and video, Greg is saying exactly what you’re saying above. He notes the problems with bale rings as the reasons he unrolls hay, and why his animals graze year round.

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