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#1
Old 06-30-2014, 07:07 AM
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What are the "giant marshmallow" things I saw laying out in farm fields?

Last night, I drove up to the White River ampitheatre in scenic Auburn, WA, to see Kiss and Def Leppard perform live. (Both bands absolutely kicked ass, and their opening act, Kobra and the Lotus, was equally amazing, but that's a subject for another thread.) Coming from the south, the main way there involves taking a series of increasingly small highways until you're just plain driving down a two-lane country road straight through the middle of farm country. I've taken that route to get there several times before for concerts in the past, but this time I wasn't paying attention and I missed the last left turn, and I drove an extra six or seven miles out into the sticks before I realized I should've reached my destination by now. I eventually got myself turned around and made it to the venue in time for the show, but in the meantime I got to take in the sights of the farm country - cows, sheep, more cows, the ever-present aroma of dung, a fat elderly man in overalls driving a tractor down the highway, and the subject of my post today.

In several farms I passed by on the road, I noticed several dozen large cylindrical white objects lying out in the fields. I'd guess that they were about four or five feet tall or so and two or three feet wide, almost the exact same proportions as a marshmallow that you'd roast over a campfire. Not every farm had them, but at least a third to a half of them that I passed by had them, and they were mostly laid out in a grid across the area that I could see, maybe twenty feet or so apart from each other, lying on their round side. One farm didn't have any laid out like that, but they did have a stack of them in the corner of the lot by the fence.

What the hell was I looking at? If it helps, it's been mostly sunny and hot here recently with a few minor bits of rain, it hasn't dropped below freezing at night since March or so, and it's raspberry-picking season in this neck of the woods.
#2
Old 06-30-2014, 07:15 AM
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Hay!.
#3
Old 06-30-2014, 07:18 AM
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Yup - hay - the bales are often wrapped in plastic film, which is sometimes white (the machine that does this is freakin' awesome).

Wrapped bales might actually be silage (moist hay sprayed with acid to preserve it).

Last edited by Mangetout; 06-30-2014 at 07:19 AM.
#4
Old 06-30-2014, 07:20 AM
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Tractor eggs. Although there's no point in stealing one if you're looking to get a free tractor. Like the banana, tractors have been so altered by selective breeding they're now incapable of fertilising their eggs/fruits, and have to be produced by cloning. Under the right conditions (kept a secret by the manufacturers) as little as a single bolt can grow into a new tractor in months.
#5
Old 06-30-2014, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
They definitely didn't look like that, but if that was wrapped in plastic it'd be about the right shape.
#6
Old 06-30-2014, 07:24 AM
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Those big marshmallow looking things were round hay bales, baled/wrapped in white plastic. I'm from the South and how I know this is my FIL and neighbor are old time farmers. Hope that helps.
Have a blessed day!
#7
Old 06-30-2014, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Smapti View Post
They definitely didn't look like that, but if that was wrapped in plastic it'd be about the right shape.
HAY!,,,
#8
Old 06-30-2014, 07:25 AM
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Even though its been answered, here is a more accurate picture of what you saw. Google: Hay plastic wrapped

http://dreamstime.com/royalty-fr...-image30928369
#9
Old 06-30-2014, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Wrapped bales might actually be silage (moist hay sprayed with acid to preserve it).
"sprayed with acid"? Silage is fermented hay, and produces its own acid. I'm not a farmer, but I do know some, and there isn't a single mention of adding acid in the wikipedia article linked to by kayaker, just that some modern silage production uses starter cultures for a more consistent result.
#10
Old 06-30-2014, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
Yeah, that's definitely it.

Is there any particular reason they'd be laid out in a grid pattern like I mentioned - perhaps an artifact of how the baling machine works?
#11
Old 06-30-2014, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smapti View Post
Yeah, that's definitely it.

Is there any particular reason they'd be laid out in a grid pattern like I mentioned - perhaps an artifact of how the baling machine works?
Yep, they are made and spit out as they are produced. Imagine mowing your lawn and dumping bagged grass periodically.
#12
Old 06-30-2014, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naita View Post
"sprayed with acid"? Silage is fermented hay, and produces its own acid. I'm not a farmer, but I do know some, and there isn't a single mention of adding acid in the wikipedia article linked to by kayaker, just that some modern silage production uses starter cultures for a more consistent result.
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=acid+additive+silage
#13
Old 06-30-2014, 08:10 AM
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I thought hay, but the description sounded all off. The hay bales I see are much bigger than that, and when in a field they're certainly not twice as high as they are wide.

Also, I thought everyone would know what they look like. I see them all the time, and it's not like I live on a farm or anything. Are there whole areas where most people might not recognize hay bales when they see them?
#14
Old 06-30-2014, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by naita View Post
Tractor eggs. Although there's no point in stealing one if you're looking to get a free tractor. Like the banana, tractors have been so altered by selective breeding they're now incapable of fertilising their eggs/fruits, and have to be produced by cloning. Under the right conditions (kept a secret by the manufacturers) as little as a single bolt can grow into a new tractor in months.
There, there, Deere.
#15
Old 06-30-2014, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Bozuit View Post
I thought hay, but the description sounded all off. The hay bales I see are much bigger than that, and when in a field they're certainly not twice as high as they are wide.

Also, I thought everyone would know what they look like. I see them all the time, and it's not like I live on a farm or anything. Are there whole areas where most people might not recognize hay bales when they see them?
What can I say? I'm a city boy and I rarely venture into the parts of the world where fat elderly men drive tractors down the highway at their leisure.
#16
Old 06-30-2014, 08:28 AM
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Some farmers get creative with their hay.

http://assets.inhabitat.com/wp-conte...-1-537x357.jpg
#17
Old 06-30-2014, 08:46 AM
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A place near my house likes to line up their plastic-wrapped hay bales and spray paint a face on each one. Those wacky farmers.
#18
Old 06-30-2014, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob++ View Post
Some farmers get creative with their hay.

http://assets.inhabitat.com/wp-conte...-1-537x357.jpg
With their corn fields as well. My buddy Herb plans his yearly corn maze a year ahead of time, using a computer and the help from a friend with a plane.
#19
Old 06-30-2014, 10:38 AM
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those were specially bred mallow plants. they now run them through a slicer compared to the old fashioned individual picking.
#20
Old 06-30-2014, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
Wrapped bales might actually be silage (moist hay sprayed with acid to preserve it).
Quote:
Originally Posted by naita View Post
"sprayed with acid"? Silage is fermented hay, and produces its own acid. I'm not a farmer, but I do know some, and there isn't a single mention of adding acid in the wikipedia article linked to by kayaker, just that some modern silage production uses starter cultures for a more consistent result.
I don't know where you are from, but on the farms of Minn (I grew up on one) silage is just chopped corn; cobs, stalks and leaves. NOT hay.
It's stored in special air-tight containers (steel silos that are usually blue (it's a brand)) and the decomposition stops once it's used up all the oxygen.
These silos are filled from the top and 'used' from the bottom, which is the oldest silage.
#21
Old 06-30-2014, 02:19 PM
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Grass silage was common in PA where I grew up.
#22
Old 06-30-2014, 03:32 PM
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Previous two posts are both correct. Locally haylage is grass based and silage is corn based. Around here the local mega farms no longer bother with silos. They either blow the product into giant plastic bags looking like huge white french bread loaves or into bunkers. Two of my sons were covering bunkers full of haylage yesterday for a neighbor. They usually hire jr high or high schoolers to drag the plastic sheets over the top of the concrete bunkers and to toss the tires on to hold the plastic in place. Bunkers are 3 sided concrete bins about 20' wide and up to 100' or more long with 10-15' foot walls. Product is dumped in the entrance and dozed into as large a pile as possible with a compactor on top pressing it down.
#23
Old 06-30-2014, 04:39 PM
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It may be that the process of directly acidifying silage is a practice more common in colder climates, where an early onset of cold weather might inhibit natural fermentation. I know it is practiced here in the UK - and had no reason to suspect it would be different elsewhere.
#24
Old 06-30-2014, 05:03 PM
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So silage is for preservation, huh? I always thought it made better feed (either because it was partially "digested" or because it released more nutrients into the food or whatever), but Wikipedia says that's a lesser consideration. Ignorance fought.
#25
Old 06-30-2014, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naita View Post
Tractor eggs. Although there's no point in stealing one if you're looking to get a free tractor. Like the banana, tractors have been so altered by selective breeding they're now incapable of fertilising their eggs/fruits, and have to be produced by cloning. Under the right conditions (kept a secret by the manufacturers) as little as a single bolt can grow into a new tractor in months.
That is the silliest thing I've heard all evening.

I mean yeah, on the bolts and cloning, but tractors used on farms are the larvae; the big things in the field are the pupal stage of the creature. Several variants of the adult forms are shown on this site.

Not all survive the metamorphosis, however, and I really don't want to think about what they do with the ones that don't. Sausages, I suppose .
#26
Old 07-01-2014, 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by DrCube View Post
So silage is for preservation, huh? I always thought it made better feed (either because it was partially "digested" or because it released more nutrients into the food or whatever), but Wikipedia says that's a lesser consideration. Ignorance fought.
I think it's a bit of both - it's for preservation, but the fermentation process does also improve the digestibility and some nutritional aspects of the fodder.
#27
Old 07-01-2014, 03:32 AM
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Here in Oz, we use bright green plastic - exactly the same shade as pumpkins.

Many people have been fooled into thinking 'Wow. This giant pumpkin-growing craze is really getting out of hand'!

(Okay, that was just me...............)
#28
Old 07-01-2014, 03:40 AM
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I think those actually are marshmallows, the way they grow, before they are cut into the bite-size pieces seen neatly packed in stores. They are a type of fungus, similar to mushrooms. Like mushrooms, those are just the fruiting bodies you see above ground, as opposed to the mycelium underground. They've been bred by marshmallow farmers for several centuries to become that large; feral ones are much smaller.

In the farmland area where I once lived (See this post), farmers made bales that size and shape but didn't wrap them in anything. One farmhouse about a mile down the road had one in front of his house with two legs sticking out the end of it.

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Originally Posted by Ulfreida View Post
San Miguel: joke. The large population referred to are cows. Does San Miguel even have one restaurant?
#29
Old 07-01-2014, 03:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Smapti View Post
What can I say? I'm a city boy and I rarely venture into the parts of the world where fat elderly men drive tractors down the highway at their leisure.
Where I grew up, this kind of event was very common.
#30
Old 07-01-2014, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Wallaby View Post
Here in Oz, we use bright green plastic - exactly the same shade as pumpkins.
In this hemisphere we have orange pumpkins.
#31
Old 07-01-2014, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
Those were outlawed here in Virginia.

The cows weren't getting a square meal
#32
Old 07-01-2014, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
In this hemisphere we have orange pumpkins.
It's like they're doing everything the opposite on purpose. They live upside down, their pumpkins are green. Their chickens probably lay cube-shaped eggs...

Last edited by ZenBeam; 07-01-2014 at 06:48 AM.
#33
Old 07-01-2014, 09:04 AM
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They bale cotton the same way, here in cotton country. Although for some reason the outer wraps on cotton bales are usually yellow.
#34
Old 07-01-2014, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
I think it's a bit of both - it's for preservation, but the fermentation process does also improve the digestibility and some nutritional aspects of the fodder.
It's also vital in producing that authentic "country" smell, so city folks know where they are.
#35
Old 07-01-2014, 06:54 PM
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It could be bundles of rolled up field tile...except it's the wrong time of the year for that.
#36
Old 07-01-2014, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
It's also vital in producing that authentic "country" smell, so city folks know where they are.
It doesn't produce that smell until the livestock are finished digesting it.
#37
Old 07-01-2014, 08:13 PM
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Yes...exactly...those are hay bales...nothing else...they are most definitely not alien hive larval pods preparing to hatch and launch a second wave of mind control attacks against the people living in towns and cities after their first scouting wave took over rural areas last March...because that didn't happen...
#38
Old 07-01-2014, 09:34 PM
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The were giant Quaaludes, specifically Rorer 714's as most long time Kiss and Def Leppard fans will attest.

Last edited by Little_Pig; 07-01-2014 at 09:37 PM.
#39
Old 07-02-2014, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Max Torque View Post
They bale cotton the same way, here in cotton country. Although for some reason the outer wraps on cotton bales are usually yellow.
Around here, most of the cotton farms are still using the giant rectangular bales. I assume because they're the right size to easily fit on a flatbed to go to the processing plant and maybe because they're too cheap to go the round bales (which are supposedly more efficient - but require newer equipment). You're right about the yellow plastic.
#40
Old 07-02-2014, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Zakalwe View Post
Around here, most of the cotton farms are still using the giant rectangular bales. I assume because they're the right size to easily fit on a flatbed to go to the processing plant and maybe because they're too cheap to go the round bales (which are supposedly more efficient - but require newer equipment). You're right about the yellow plastic.
Nitpick: those "giant rectangular bales" are called modules. Made by a module builder.
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#41
Old 07-02-2014, 03:42 PM
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Locally, we have some major hay production going on now. Just suing the light green plastic to hold them together of the truck rides. 4 & 5 18 wheeler tuck/trailers picking them up and taking them to places with more cows just as fast as they can be rolled up.

Still looks like to much work to me. I spent too many hours picking up the old square bales and tossing them on trucks to enjoy anything but the smell since I am now old.

We also still have city slickers who don't know what the white ones are.
#42
Old 07-02-2014, 11:56 PM
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Mike Edwards of ELO was killed by a cylindrical hay bale that rolled down a hill,
#43
Old 07-03-2014, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Darryl Lict View Post
Mike Edwards of ELO was killed by a cylindrical hay bale that rolled down a hill,
Wow. If only someone coulda warned him; ideally by yelling, "HEY!!!".
#44
Old 07-03-2014, 06:41 AM
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I had a dream once that I was eating a pillow. When I woke up, my Giant Marshmallow was gone.
#45
Old 07-03-2014, 06:27 PM
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I worked on a farm for 10 years some thing I really don't miss, like making hay.

Moving those giant bales takes a specific method. You spear it from the end. My high school girlfriend lived on a farm and a hired hand lifted one with a set of forks on the tractor like lifting a pallet with a forklift.

At about 1100 pounds it shifted and he rolled the tractor over and Darwined himself by getting paralized from the waist down.
#46
Old 07-03-2014, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
Aren't those individually wrapped roles of giant toilet paper?
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