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Re: GSBN:Re: Leaving bales bare



Derek and others,

I am very grateful for Derek's extensive reply as he crosses many T's I
failed to cross in my initial posting.

On Jan 19, 2005, at 01:26, Derek Roff wrote:

Fresh dry bales are basically relatively spore free.

Relatively spore free, compared to ???

Bales that have been sitting around under usual not so carefully
controlled storage at least what is usual here in The Netherlands.
These bales seem to be well infected with spores just waiting to sprout
mushrooms under sufficiently moist circumstances. Being prudent when
sourcing bales is very important.

Various decay-causing mold and
fungus spores are endemic to the environment where the straw was grown
and
harvested.  Spores are present in small quantities throughout the
field,
the baling machinery and within the bale itself.  Spore distribution is
determined by the environmental balance of the area.

And my I humbly add: under the specific weather conditions before and
when they were baled. Having the right 'vintage' bales besides
plastering might be a key element in the longevity of a SB house.

If these bales are rapidly encased in plaster there is very little
chance
that the straw will be infected with new fungus spores.


I doubt the importance of this, although the local environment could
make a
difference.  There aren't many new spores in the air, if we are talking
about an outdoor building site that isn't too close to a blooming mold
or
fungus colony.  In Rene's location, perhaps this is a big issue.
However,
if the bales are stacked in the same general environment where the
straw
grew, then the quantity and variety of the rot-inducing critters will
not
increase much with exposure to ambient air.  Dusting the exposed
surface of
a bale wall with a few dormant spores is not a good way to inoculate a
bale.  Those spores will stay dormant on the outside surface of the
bale,
until the bale gets wet.


I think the main thing separating these cases is the presence
or lack of- spores in the bales.

Granted, this is the cause of the difference.  But we need to
understand
the "cause of the cause."  I think picking up a few dormant spores on
the
bale surface is insignificant.  I believe that what makes the biggest
difference is the presence of developed colonies (for some
micro-organisms)
and magnitude of the total number of decay-producing organisms.  This
is
more likely to be controlled by the number of times, and the length of
each
time, when the decay-causing spores/molds/fungi in a given bale have
the
conditions needed to move out of dormancy and into the growth and
reproduction phases.

Following on to my previous assertion, adding a few dormant spores to
the
surface of a bale increases the total spore count throughout the bale
by a
tiny fraction.  Giving all the micro-organisms in the bale a few hours
of
growth time can increase the total spore count of the bale by many
thousands of times.  Giving some kinds of micro-organisms a chance to
organize their colonies before returning to dormancy, allows them to
reproduce much more rapidly and aggressively than a similar number of
scattered individuals.  I think these latter differences cause the
problems, and the diverse decay rates that we have seen in bales.

I could be wrong.  It would be great to get some biologists involved in
researching this question.  It will present a challenging research
design.
In the meantime, I endorse Rene's suggestion to always plaster the
bales as
quickly as possible, and add the suggestion that we do everything
possible
to keep all the micro-organisms in the bale dormant as completely and
continuously as possible.

I agree wholeheartedly with Derek on this. The chances of serious new
inoculation of the bales with wind blown spores is insignificant
compared to the effects of blooming already existent spores due to even
superficial wetting given enough time and or suitable circumstances.
(>15C, 20% rel)

In most cases all that we can do besides carefully sourcing and
selecting bales is to rapidly and fully encase the bales with plaster
endeavouring to do what Derek suggests in his last sentence.

Straw and bales exhibiting grey flecks should be avoided this indicates
fungus growth and most probably blooming with high spore inoculation.
The old and very true advice is that bales should be bright yellow.

Rene