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Storing hay rolls

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  • Storing hay rolls

    My hayfield has just been cut and will be baled in the next few days and I need some advice on storing the rolls. I have a 60 foot long barn that has a 10 foot overhang on the back and planned to put some there - up close to the barn wall in a single row so that any sideways driving rain will not get on them. So my questions are: should I put pallets down on the ground (dirt) ?- if so, with or without a plastic tarp underneath? Is is okay for the bales to touch (side to side) or should they be spaced a bit apart? Any other things I need to know??? Thanks.

  • #2
    We store our round bales (hay rolls) outside in the open.
    The bales will actually shed water (like a thatched roof)
    and only the outer few inches are ruined. We have ours
    baled with mesh wrapping rather than string as they hold
    together better.

    You do want air to circulate around the bales to keep them
    dry so pallets would not be a bad idea under them if you
    have enough of those. Store the bales on the side with
    the flat ends butted one to the next; that works best for
    us. You might lose a little of the outside of each bale to
    weather, but very little will need to be rejected unless the
    hay is baled before proper drying.
    Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
    Elmwood, Wisconsin


    • #3
      rolled hay

      I put pallets under mine that are stored outside and they are sitting on a slight incline so the water runs away. Plastic wrap is good also.


      • #4
        Our bales stored in the hay barn are stored on their ends, stacked three high. Dirt floor. Which doesn't bother me because the majority of the bales are fed outside, and need to be set in the mud anyway. For the bales I'm feeding in the barn by unwrapping them, I just take a bale that wasn't on the floor.

        Our bales stored outside are on their sides, end to end, as described by Robin.


        • #5
          I would use pallets and no plastic. the plastic will just trap moisture under the bales and increase humidity around them and therefore chance of mold. If you put a tarp over them, I would suggest using cinderblocks or something between the rolls and the tarp to keep the plastic from touching the bales for the same reason - that way if some moisture gets in there (and it will) it will dry faster and keep air circulating. Also in those conditions I'd give a bit of space between bales.


          • #6
            Ours are stored under a shed roof too, but I just sit them on the ground and stack them up. If water from the top is kept off of them, not anything to worry about will spoil on a little spot on the bottom. Now if the ground under there gets wet, then I would put them on something, but if the ground is always dry like ours, I wouldn't worry about it.


            • #7
              We live in MD so I think where you are located plays a big factor. As wet as it is here I would not dream of feeding hay stored outside, uncovered on the ground.
              We store 400 4x5 round bales in a building with blacktop floor. We put plastic down on top of the backtop and pallets. All of the bales touch as they are stacked on top of each other. No different than squares stacked on top of each other.
              Again I am sure different locations require different storage but every wrap you throw away due to mold is money out the door and a mess you clean up later.


              • #8
                Originally posted by anchodavis View Post
                I would use pallets and no plastic. the plastic will just trap moisture under the bales and increase humidity around them and therefore chance of mold. If you put a tarp over them, I would suggest using cinderblocks or something between the rolls and the tarp to keep the plastic from touching the bales for the same reason - that way if some moisture gets in there (and it will) it will dry faster and keep air circulating. Also in those conditions I'd give a bit of space between bales.
                This is pretty much how I've been doing it for years. I have an old pole barn with concrete floors. I put them on pallets with some room for air circulation. I can smell the difference between bales stored like that and ones I've bought out of other people's barns where they were stacked. The others aren't bad, but they're mustier smelling. IME, stored outside or right on the dirt, the bales get musty clear though fairly quickly and get mildewed spots where they touch the ground or each other.

                This is in the fairly humid (currently underwater) Midwest, though, so ymmv. The mow where I put my squares has a lot of air circulation and from experience I don't pack them tightly, either.