At Home in Nature

  (Agate, Colorado)
TwoInTents Blog
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Tire bales make great shelters!

We have built three new shelters in two days out of tire bales!
Each tire bale weighs 2,000 pounds, meaning that it not only provides excellent heat absorption during the daytime (keeping animals warm at night), but also that it recycles that much waste.  We are building multispecies shelters so that our animals may be better housed together, and besides 30 tire bales per shelter, scrapwood, recycled tarps and other recycled materials are put to use reducing our costs of production (making food, fiber and other anima products cheaper for people).  More than 70,000 pounds of waste are recycled in every pen.
The tire bales are engineered to withstand more than 60,000 pounds of force in any direction, making them the new, hottest material in civil engineering!  The tire bales require a bobcat to move, which is very hard on the soil of the animal pens.  Luckily, we rotate pens, reclaiming them between uses, so that our animals always have good turf to walk on.
Though recycling is big money, agriculture is always on the forefront of the industry, developing low-tech methods of recycling.  However, low-tech often inspires high-tech, and we understand that tire bales are going out of style as higher uses for the old tires are found: a new machine just invented will allow recyclers to earn nearly $10 per tire by converting the tire into diesel fuel (about 1.5 gallons per tire), scrap steel (more than a pound per tire) and also carbon black.  That's about 23 times more value per tire than baling them!
And baling the tires is about 4.5 times more value than loose tires (which we also use on our farm).  Technology improves, and suddenly, the recycled material which farmers could get for free is rendered into products envied by civil engineers and becomes beyond their ability to buy.  Luckily, there's more kinds of rubbish than tires, and the farmer will find new materials to use: there's always new forms of junk.

Heavy or light hay?

A small bale of hay is 50 gallons of material, and sometimes, due to moisture content, density or other quality factors, the weight of the bale may differ.  Like a bushel, a small bale is a volumetric assessment.  Thus, it is often better to get “heavy” bales than “light” ones, because you are getting more hay for your money.

However, heavy bales are typically sold for more than light bales and the farmer who is buying hay must often do a per-pound analysis instead of a volumetric analysis.  If a heavy bale weighing 75 pounds is sold for $10 and a light bale weighing 25 lbs is sold for $10, the buyer of the light bale is paying an additional $1.75 per pound for hay.

Green hay is rarely sold: hay is typically dried.  However, a premium on fresh hay ought to be paid because it provides better nutrition to your animals and you do not require as much green hay as you do dried hay.  Paying twice as much for green would usually not be unreasonable.  If you buy green hay, however, make sure that it is very fresh, and buy frequently.  Old green hay that is not stored properly will quickly mold or ferment, which is not healthy for your animals.

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