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Old Hay/Fines/Chaf Clean Up - How Often?

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    Old Hay/Fines/Chaf Clean Up - How Often?

    For those of you storing and feeding hay, how often to you pull out your pallets/sweep your mow and clean out all the accumulated waste? It seems ideally and to avoid mold and dust that you'd want to do it at least annually but does everyone really do that? If not, what is YOUR program?
    Last edited by PaddockWood; Sep. 7, 2020, 08:33 AM.

    #2
    Just once each year before filling up the hay sheds in summer/fall.

    Comment


      #3
      In the fall, after our hot humid rainy summer. We mostly use hay in the winter here in Ocala, so hay room is mostly empty , easy to clean under pallets. During the winter, if the hay room gets close to empty, I'll do it then also. I generally do not keep much hay around at any one time - 8 or 10 bales at the most....

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        #4
        Once a year is probably best. I just had somebody come by and get all my old hay to feed to their cows and I am cleaning out that side of my hay area. That side hasn't been done for a few years and it is pretty musty and damp due to the climate here. So I would say it would be best to clean it all out and put clean plastic down under the pallets yearly. I am trying to transition to plastic pallets so I took those out and hosed them down good to get the old hay out and will leave them sitting in the sun for a day or two.

        If you don't live in such a humid climate you could probably do it less often and use the old hay as a bottom layer. But with all the rain we have had this year the musty stuff I had needed to go. My sinuses are not happy with me tonight!

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          #5
          Last place I managed, we bought hay in roughly 300 bale loads and stored in a bank barn loft with good ventilation -- no need for pallets. We swept before the next load came, so 4-5x/year. The loose hay was generally perfectly good, so we fed it in the paddocks.

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            #6
            I miss having a hay loft. I really don't like storing hay on ground level in this climate. Hay never got that musty in the loft where we co-opped and we never used pallets up there. Of course we had to get it up there - Ugh! A bank barn would be the best of both worlds.

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              #7
              Once a year, before my coming year's supply of 1st cutting arrives, so mid-June usually.
              300 small squares are stored on pallets over crusher-run stone floor in my barn.
              Nothing under the pallets.

              When I'm down to the last couple dozen bales, I lift the empty pallets, rake out the fines, shift the remaining bales & repeat.
              I use the raked stuff as mulch in my vegetable garden.

              In 16yrs I have lost maybe 5 bales to mold.
              If the bottom bales are damp on the side that was on the pallet, turning that up has them dried & usable in a day or two.
              *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
              Steppin' Out 1988-2004
              Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
              Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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                #8
                Every time a new section of floor becomes exposed, it gets cleaned, and when possible, I blast my leaf blower under the entire stack. I live in a very humid climate, bottom bales even lifted on double pallets, get musty quick. Any chaff I can clean up is just that much less potential for mold/must.
                Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

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                  #9
                  We have a pole barn,, store hay at one end and above the feed and tack rooms. As we reach the bottom of the stacks, we sweep up chaff and throw it in the spreader with used bedding, then spread it on the fields. We find the chaff to commonly be very dusty, don't want the horses breathing that in. It is dry chaff above the feed and tack rooms.

                  We have a fake wooden floor over cement floor, on the end of the barn where we stack bales from floor to the roof. Not using pallets anymore. This solid wood floor is raised a little with a plastic layer under. Previously the cement drew moisture, caused molding on the pallets. We sometimes find a moldy bale along the outside wall, despite a plastic barrier layer. The sun shines hard on that wall, which I think draws moisture to create the mold. I start feeding winter hay from that area first, get bales off that wall to minimize any loss. So all those floor sweeping also get spread outside because of possible mold and dust.

                  We did our own baling this year with the mower set very high, 6 inches, so I am hoping we have much less dust in the hay, less on the floors when hay is gone.

                  I just won't take the risk of feeding dusty sweepings. Hay areas are cleaned to the floor yearly. We do have plenty of humidity here unless the weather is frozen! So we can lose bales to mold. Once it has those mold spores, mold dust, hay and chaff goes in the spreader. We never feed that moldy or wall damp stuff from the piled hay, inside or out.

                  We did have some damp bales right after baling it, which we left under cover on the wagon. Some got cut open to dry faster. They got fed immediately or had dried by the time it was fed a couple days later. Each bale was checkled before feeding, for mold, musty smell. Shed has a constant breeve over that wagon, so they had dried instead of cooking or molding. No mold in them and soon gone. We could tell by their weight unloading, that they were damp, did not stack them in the barn..

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Just did our yearly clean up yesterday!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I have a loft with a wooden floor, and I can only fit about one and a half tons maximum. We are in a damp climate, and I tarp the hay very carefully in fall winter spring, or else I get surface mold on exposed surfaces from the air. No pallets. I have never lost a bale, at most a flake off the end smells a bit musty and I discard it.

                      I need 3 to 4 tons over 12 months. So as I work my way down to empty floor, the hay scraps get swept down the drop chute to the stall.

                      The only times I have swept up and discarded hay have been when a pile of scraps sat under a tarp or in a corner too long and got mouse poop or spider webs in it. Even then it was not much, less than a wheelbarrow for sure. Now I am proactive about sweeping scraps down constantly so they don't get rancid.


                      Comment

                        Original Poster

                        #12
                        Appreciate all the responses. I thought it was annually but do some people NOT clean up in between and just let it accumulate?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by PaddockWood View Post
                          Appreciate all the responses. I thought it was annually but do some people NOT clean up in between and just let it accumulate?
                          I would not want it piling up under the pallets and possibly touching the new stuff and wicking moisture. I have a GREAT hay farmer but he does not deliver during our "lovely " winters. So I have to store my November through June hay. It would be really bad to find mold in say, February.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by PaddockWood View Post
                            Appreciate all the responses. I thought it was annually but do some people NOT clean up in between and just let it accumulate?
                            Oh yuck. I would not want mildewed hay near the new hay. I would think any well run place would sweep up whenever the floor is visible, whether that's once a year or every couple of months.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I clean it up frequently. We don't use pallets but I like to keep it swept out. I bag up what is on the floor and give to a man who has goats, they love it.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                I live in a hot and humid environment. Because of that, I generally buy hay every 3 weeks - sometimes I can stretch to 4 weeks in the winter. I generally clean out my hay storage area every time I get new hay.

                                I only clean so often because I have issues with mold and mildew, so I figure that sweeping out old hay and fines and keeping the pallets clear are necessary for air flow.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by HPFarmette View Post
                                  Just once each year before filling up the hay sheds in summer/fall.
                                  this. Every fall.
                                  A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's wine...wine does that...

                                  http://elementfarm.blogspot.com/

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    I clean up before I receive each load which is 3-4x up north and monthly when we are south.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      I clean up around the edges as I go, but the bulk cleaning happens once a year when I've got about 10-15 bales left before I pick up first cutting.

                                      Growing up we did it about every other year.

                                      Plastic, gravel, pallets. I pick up the pallets and rake out all the old scraps. No matter what I do, the darn bottom layer is a total waste. Very humid Missouri summers and very wet Missouri winters.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by PaddockWood View Post
                                        Appreciate all the responses. I thought it was annually but do some people NOT clean up in between and just let it accumulate?
                                        Yipes, I could never let chaff accumulate, it would be white with mold if I did. But, everyone is different depending on their climate.

                                        Because of my weather, I have to clean as frequently as I can. My weather is so rotten (clean hay can mold in 12 hours here), I have a daily routine:

                                        Any chaff spilled from daily feeding hay (I frequently peel-n-serve laps off stored round bales, which can be messy), is scooped up with a rake (set aside just for hay) and given immediately. Anything the rake doesn't pick up is blown away with a battery leaf blower (battery op. blower in the hay barn so there isn't gas/spark around the hay, and so I don't have to be bothered starting it given as frequently as I use it). This way, the daily feeding area of the hay barn is clean each day. So when I'm in a rush, and hay is flying everywhere as I peel a lap off a round, I *know* I can safely pick up anything in my path and its clean enough to feed.

                                        Every week or two, the outside area I've been blowing this chaff too gets raked so it doesn't start to pile up -- I don't want a bank of moldy wet chaff hay in front of my nice clean hay barn.

                                        In the dry months, I'll rake up that chaff hay and cover manure piles with it. In the wet months, it gets its own compost heap (so the horses don't mess with it).

                                        When my wood pallets start to get a musty smell to them (aka, weeks and weeks of tropical weather and rain, like we have now), I spray them with chlorhexidine. A dear friend of mine will actually scrub hers, but I don't have that kind of time. A spritz with hex kills the nasties, dries safely for storing hay.

                                        I tell you, everything about hay -- from the making, to the buying, to the storing, and even choosing whats right for your animal -- is complicated and demanding. Suicidal tendencies of equines aside, I don't think there is anything hardly as stressful as choosing, buying and storing hay.
                                        Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

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