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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2008
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    8,070

    Default Hay storage in loft

    We have always stored our hay on wooden pallets on top of plastic, but the new barn has a loft. Do I need pallets or can I store it directly on the plywood floor of the loft? I imagine I don't need plastic as there's no ground dampness to worry about.

    Thanks for your input! You guys are awesome.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 23, 2003
    Location
    itty bitty town, GA
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    3,004

    Default

    Storing hay in a loft can be risky. If you have an alternative storage area, use the alternative. Some insurance companies will even raise farm premiums if you store hay in a loft in a horse barn (ours questioned us about it). We do have a loft and we used it for hay storage years ago. We unfortunately had a barn fire that was due to an overheated drop cord (another big no-no). My husband fought to contain the fire until the fire department arrived and if it had gotten to the hay in the loft, we would have lost the entire barn. After that we never kept hay in the loft (or left drop cords of any sort plugged in). The fire department gave us a lecture about the combustibility of hay that day as well.

    If you go ahead and use the loft, use pallets, leave space between stacks of bales and make sure there is plenty of ventillation.
    Susan N.

    Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.



  3. #3
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    Apr. 28, 2008
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    Default

    Thanks. We have always stored hay in a separate building for exactly that reason, but unfortunately that's not an option in the new place yet -- and building a separate hay barn is out of the question at least for this year. One more reason to keep the horses out 24/7....



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2002
    Location
    Zone 6
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    2,005

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fordtraktor View Post
    Thanks. We have always stored hay in a separate building for exactly that reason, but unfortunately that's not an option in the new place yet -- and building a separate hay barn is out of the question at least for this year. One more reason to keep the horses out 24/7....
    We keep hay up in the loft without any problems. I try to make long thinner stacks, not one large stack, if that makes sense. I don't use pallets but do put down something to keep hay from constantly falling through the cracks.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
    Location
    In Jingle Town
    Posts
    34,819

    Default

    Put it on pallets.

    make sure it's good and dry before you put it up.

    Once upon a time my Grandma's hay loft caught fire because of the hay. Made them install a vent in the loft, huge beast of a machine, loud as he**...

    I think, without the vent, leaving some room around the bails is common practice, Tamara from Tn will know more.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.
    GNU Terry Prachett



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
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    36,321

    Default

    Our hay is in the loft, no pallets, stacked tight. The one thing that MUST be assured is that the hay is DRY, properly cut, properly baled, and properly cured. Everything else is trivial by comparison in terms of reducing fire risk. We do have a ridge vent and the soffits of the barn are wide open, so it's a pretty breezy place.

    Insurance company did not blink an eye at the setup, BTW.
    Click here before you buy.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2009
    Posts
    9,341

    Default This

    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    Our hay is in the loft, no pallets, stacked tight. The one thing that MUST be assured is that the hay is DRY, properly cut, properly baled, and properly cured. Everything else is trivial by comparison in terms of reducing fire risk. We do have a ridge vent and the soffits of the barn are wide open, so it's a pretty breezy place.

    Insurance company did not blink an eye at the setup, BTW.
    We have stored in hay in our huge lofts for literally three generations - no trouble EVER ~one huge loft covering the entire show barn 20 stalls and in a smaller barn covering the shed (three sided) for pastures stock ~ mares and colts and retirees ~ with a good hay man, who knows how to properly dry ~cut ~bale and cure - windows open & end doors open and huge exhaust fan located mid-way up on the north side we have had no problems. Hope this helps. *Our hay is stacked directly on the wooden floor ~ in sections so the feeder can walk down the middle aisle of the loft and walk into the front of each drop chute.
    Last edited by Zu Zu; Jun. 22, 2010 at 09:36 AM. Reason: spelling
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT"S A WONDERFUL LIFE !"



  8. #8
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2009
    Location
    Location: Indiana, but my heart is in Zone II
    Posts
    3,180

    Default

    I store mine in my loft on pallets. I clean the loose hay up periodically to make certain there is a good air flow.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 23, 2003
    Location
    itty bitty town, GA
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    We stored hay in a loft in our old barn for six years with no problems. We stored hay in a loft in our current barn for approx. 5 years - no problem. Then...fire originated from another source (see above post), and we discovered all it takes is one time with fire and you don't get second chances. Not saying you shouldn't store hay in loft - I'm saying you should take every precaution available to you if you do so. Fire loves hay no matter how it's baled and when it's in a loft, it will catch the rafters on fire immediately, out of reach of a normal barn hose. We constructed a hay barn when we started growing hay and opted to no longer use the loft.

    If you ever suffer a fire in your horse barn, it will make you look at things in a whole new light - speaking strictly from experience. We do a lot of things very differently now than we used to.
    Susan N.

    Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2009
    Posts
    9,341

    Default Thanks needed to read your post ~

    Quote Originally Posted by bludejavu View Post
    We stored hay in a loft in our old barn for six years with no problems. We stored hay in a loft in our current barn for approx. 5 years - no problem. Then...fire originated from another source (see above post), and we discovered all it takes is one time with fire and you don't get second chances. Not saying you shouldn't store hay in loft - I'm saying you should take every precaution available to you if you do so. Fire loves hay no matter how it's baled and when it's in a loft, it will catch the rafters on fire immediately, out of reach of a normal barn hose. We constructed a hay barn when we started growing hay and opted to no longer use the loft.

    If you ever suffer a fire in your horse barn, it will make you look at things in a whole new light - speaking strictly from experience. We do a lot of things very differently now than we used to.
    Thank you ~ I needed to read your post ~ makes one think & re-evaluate & review the surroundings in order to maintain safety. Thank you posting this second thread.
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT"S A WONDERFUL LIFE !"



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 23, 2003
    Location
    itty bitty town, GA
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    Default

    You're welcome Zu Zu. The fire was a very sobering experience for us and if I can save someone the emotional trauma we experienced the day of the fire, I feel good about it. We were very, very lucky that we caught it in time and can attribute it to one horse - who refused to stop kicking walls until he got our attention - all the other horses were quiet.
    Susan N.

    Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 22, 2002
    Location
    where the grass is greener
    Posts
    706

    Default

    The one and only barn that we stored hay in the loft, the water pipes burst and soaked everything.
    The was a horrible job - sorting thru soaked bales and trying to restack, uggh!



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec. 7, 2001
    Location
    Cullowhere?, NC
    Posts
    8,692

    Default

    The barn on my place was built with the boards that make the loft walls spaced about 2" apart, so constant ventilation. The only problem I ever have with this is if we have a windy snow, I'll get snow in the loft, but if it's windy and snowing, it's easy to sweep up before it warms up enough to thaw. I had just filled the loft for the first time when hurricane Opal hit, and even through that, the hay stayed dry.

    I used to store hay on pallets, but find it makes life a lot easier for opportunistic rodents. The floor of the loft was also spaced boards, and a lot of stuff would fall thru into the barn aisle and stalls, so I put down plyboard. Now, I will put the hay that will be stored the longest on pallets, but a lot I stack right on the floor. I do stack loosely and leave space between ricks.

    Anything electric that has to be left on when I'm not in the barn (fans in summer; tank heaters in winter) is plugged in to a socket located on the outside wall of the barn. I check all heavy-duty cords regularly, everything else is in conduit. Horses are never closed in the barn unless I'm there waiting for farrier or vet; otherwise, they have run-in. It's all still a risk, but the barn is what I inherited with the property and there isn't a good place to put ground-level hay storage.
    "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

    Spay and neuter. Please.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 31, 2006
    Posts
    280

    Default

    We store in a loft, a lot of ventilation and we installed a thermostat for a fan to kick on. I have always been nervous about it and reading some of the above experiences are heart breaking. I would love to have a separate building for hay, but it just isn't an option right now.



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