I need to come up with some way to store hay outside of the barn that is not on my property....thinking "modified" trailer, rental unit or just having someone build a very simple shed. Any advice at all greatly appreciated!!
In New England....an old horse trailer is what I was thinking. Fact that it is not my property somewhat complicates it. I would like to be able to store 50-75 bales.
I would recommend either storing hay on a flatbed and covering it with a tarp, or buying a small storage shed. I have a Rubbermaid storage shed that holds about 60 bales, would something like that work?
I have stored hay in a rental storage building. Boy that was expensive hay!!!!!! My friend and I were doing self-care and had a bunch of hay in the loft and had to move our horses where we had no real hay storage. We didn't want to sell the hay because we needed it but it wasn't very smart fiscally. So no I don't recommend that option.
A lot depends on how rainy/ humid your location is and how long it will be stored before you use it.
I think the Rubbermaid sheds or similar (Lowes also has some portable premade sheds that are other types) are an excellent solution for what you need. Plus, when you relocate, you can take it with you.
Around here you can get those portable sheds made by the Amish on craigslist. also a great option if that's available near you.
After my experiences storing hay at ground level in a barn and also in tractor trailer bodies, I'd never use either method again. The tractor trailer bodies don't breathe enough, even with the vents open, so we inevitably had mold issues. Also had mold issues when we stored hay at ground level in the barn, though that hay may have been bad to begin with.
A good hay loft works so much better. No issues with humidity condensing on the hay, like when it was lower. Also can't get any snow blowing up into the barn that high.
We do have long, wet, humid springs and summers that don't get too hot (80s is hot here) and either cold, wet winters or very cold, snowy winters.
Something like Pods maybe? Might have the same ventilation-related issues as a tractor trailer but in a NE winter I'd think mold would be less of a concern. If there will be a better storage option in the spring maybe something like this could work for now. It is less portable than a horse trailer since you can't move it yourself, but more portable than an Amish shed. I'd use pallets on the floor and crack the door for ventilation if you can do something to keep rain out.
FWIW, I store hay at ground level and have never had an issue. It's in a larger building but the hay is up against the walls on two sides and there is really no ventilation except when I open the overhead doors. I don't leave them open due to rain and not wanting wild animals to move in and nest, so most of the time it's all closed up and it has been fine. All of the hay is on pallets to keep it off the concrete.
We tried the "hay stored on a flatbed trailer, covered with a tarp" method one year, when we had an overflowing hay shed. Several bales went bad, very quickly, even though we started with excellent quality hay. Might work in a desert-type climate, but not here.