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The Basics of Hay Storage.

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  • The Basics of Hay Storage.

    Please educate me on what I need to know to store hay safely.
    If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.

  • #2
    I want to hear what folks say about this...I know that some people insist on stacking the bale on its side...of course never touching concrete...also sometimes with pallets ever so often for air flow....

    Personally I can only keep 5 bales at a time or otherwise it gets moldy here in Fl....but my friends buy it by the semi loads and have NO problems in their concrete floored buildings (on pallets)

    Also I've seen it stored in enclosed humidity controlled buildings...while other times in open sided pole barns with air flow....
    "My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sunlight and nicker to me in the night"

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Wow BS... we have 300 bales stacked for the year... We stack on pallets currently with pretty open air flow. I'm trying to find out when kind of storage I'll need for our hay once the ponies are home instead of across the street.
      If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.

      Comment


      • #4
        1. Do not store hay near anything flammable or any source of heat.

        2. Do not stack hay higher than a height that allows you to safely move it or stack it in a manner which could greatly accelerate the burning of a fire.

        3. Do not allow anyone to smoke around your hay or in your hay storage area.

        4. Check hay frequently for mold and infestations.

        5. Keep your hay storage area secure and locked. People will come on your property to steal it when prices go up and supplies are short.
        Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!

        Comment


        • #5
          Good air flow and a dry place is important. Also make sure you sweep or rake up excess hay often.

          Comment


          • #6
            Dry for obvious reasons.

            Air circulation to keep it fresh.

            Dark to keep it green.
            www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Number one is close proximity to where you will be feeding. Lugging a bale of hay through knee deep snow with a 20mph headwind is So Not Fun.

              All else can be improvised to a point.

              There is a way to stack hay so that each layer ties the previous layer in place and the stack won't tip over. And unless you aren't going more than three layers high, you'll have to learn it.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm assuming you don't stack hay on concrete to prevent mold--is that right?

                LexinVA, what do you mean by "infestations"?
                --Becky in TX
                Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
                She who throws dirt is losing ground.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Rodents, insects, bacteria, and the occasional Canadian tourist.
                  Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Such an important topic and I do think climate makes a difference, too. One supplier told me he has never been able to keep his bottom layer from getting moldy, whether using palates over ground or concrete or tarps, whatever, so he doesn't try anymore. He assumes the bottom layer will not be good so he just leaves it there and stacks on top of it.

                    I have had similar problems with the bottom-most layer; my hay shed has a dirt floor and we do have palates over gravel but it still gets damp under there.

                    My current hay guy recommends stacking cut side up. Not sure how much a difference this makes.

                    I have to say as much as I hate hate hate to bait for rats and mice, I have lost too much hay to them so I put bait under my pallets once a year. Rats chew through baling twine (for some unknown reason) and the time I had to move 50 bales of hay that were all loose I decided that was it. I don't have cats to worry about, though.

                    I clean my hay shed out completely each year before getting any new bales in. I think this important to make sure you don't have wet hay sitting under your pallets or anything else yucky under there (dead rat, for example) before putting in new hay.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      how we do it for resale....may not apply

                      Originally posted by Catersun View Post
                      Please educate me on what I need to know to store hay safely.
                      well here's what we have learned the hard way over 10 years...including how to manage hay in one barn that is one acre under one roof we have 6 barns but she is just the biggest and the one the customers come to...

                      our barn is concrete floored for machinery ease and more importantly to keep the dust down...as we are a resale facility...no one wants to buy hay coated in red clay dust, no matter how nice it is underneath


                      30,000 lost bales (and $80,000 lost dollars later ) we learned that 4 inches off the floor on pallets will not prevent bottom "must"....not exactly mold and not exactly dust but the stuff sends horse hay buyers into same spasm as the dust (see above)...

                      8 inches of pallets over one acre and chicken house fans circulate air year round to keep "must" at bay...and no one in the good old US of A could tell us this, it fell to the university in ontario for the design...hay is like a sponge and the moisture does truly travel to the bottom of the sponge over time and the fans provide the airstream to carry it out...

                      as my mountains get the second most rain in the USA ,second only to the PNW, we guard against moisture loss more than anything....we had no drought two years ago just do to the air moisture from the mountains....


                      vents in roof are essential to let hot air rise and form an airstream around the hay to keep the dew burnt off a little longer in the night time....the same principle is what keeps hay in the old barn lofts useable...hot air rises...


                      covering hay with a tarp in a humid climate will mold the hay underneath...if you do not live where hay is stacked outside uncovered for storage do not try it....our hay stacks up to 18 feet high across the entire barn...

                      stack the hay high and tight...the closer together the better it will hold it's leaf and shape and color....if you are so afraid that you a stack the hay apart and in single file lines like soliders you need a new supplier...

                      buy a moisture tester and keep every thing at about 12%...this alone will keep your storage losses down more than anything else....

                      best
                      Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                      I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just how much hay are you planning to store at any given time and for how long? If you're stacking less than 100 bales, and using it within a month - you can pretty well stack it however, and be okay unless you live in a super humid climate like I do (S.Carolina can be pretty humid in the summer). We grow and put up our own hay normally although recent drought years have forced us to buy some. If you're stacking by hand, you can stack your bottom bales on the cut ends to help prevent mold but the longer the hay is stored, the harder it becomes to keep the bottom bales fresh. Also, if you stack by hand, and have enough storage area, leave space between your bales instead of stacking tightly. Good air flow is a must if you are storing hay in your horse barn to prevent spontaneous combustion. Try not to purchase freshly cut hay - buy hay that has been cured for a bit to avoid excessive heat. If you purchase freshly cut hay and MUST store it in your horse barn, put a fan on it for at least a month to cool it. A huge cause of fires in horse barns is from people stacking fresh hay too tightly and it combusts. You should be very concerned about this if you don't have a separate hay storage building - it's not to be taken lightly. We have a large hay barn and have a layer of plastic tarps on the bottom over which is a heavy layer of aged hay. Living in Georgia, there is no escape from humidity at all times of the year and occasionally we do have bottom bales go bad, but not all of them. You really need to give us more info before the question can be totally answered. My best suggestion is to keep only enough in your horse barn for a week or two and locate additional hay in a separate building for combustion control purposes.
                        Susan N.

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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by S1969 View Post
                          My current hay guy recommends stacking cut side up. Not sure how much a difference this makes.
                          We always stacked cut side up mostly to help the stack lock together more evenly and be more stable. We piled as many as 250 bales so the pile was REALLY, REALLY tall and we didn't want it to fall down!! Our hay was in HUGE loft, the hay on the bottom never got moldy (wood floor) but I always left a little bit of loose hay on the floor before stacking, instead of stacking new bales directly on the wood floor.
                          Jigga:
                          Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            covering hay with a tarp in a humid climate will mold the hay underneath...if you do not live where hay is stacked outside uncovered for storage do not try it....
                            I lost about twenty five bales when I first brought my boys home, because I thought I could store it outside on pallets and cover it with a tarp. Doesn't work.

                            But in a way it was a good lesson, because I got to experience first hand how damp hay will get hot and smoke, There's no way I'd ever store it in a barn after that!

                            Vents. Very important. No closed up metal sheds like you get at Lowe's.
                            I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Well by fall we need to have around 300 bales stacked. So what I'm getting is... Tall building with vents and exhaust fans..... We stack in piles of 50 or 100 bales. As we buy 100 bales per cutting. We stack as high as the hubby is comfortable climbing currently.

                              Thankyou for posting tamara... I was hoping you would chime in. How fast do you guys move your hay out? as in what is he longest it is stored for?

                              We buy for the whole year, so I need to be able to keep it for that long as the numbers dwindle. Does the type of hay have much to do with it keeping? We use coastal hay. Current hay storage we haven't had any problems with loss. I'm just trying to figuire out how to replicate the luck we have had when we move the horses.

                              I'm not woried about how far away from feeding it is.. as we don't get snow... worst thing I have to deal with is rain and since hubby is getting me a haycart, I'm not too worried about it.
                              If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Cut side up also reduces dusty bottom bales. Dust filters down when hay is stored string side up, everytime you remove top bales more dust filters down. If you have quite a bit of hay, byt the time you get to the bottom layers, they'll be all dusty if all the top bales were stored string side up.
                                Air circulation, roof vents and as little sunlight as possible.
                                Tamara's directions. She's probably the biggest hay storer on the BB.
                                You jump in the saddle,
                                Hold onto the bridle!
                                Jump in the line!
                                ...Belefonte

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  [QUOTE]
                                  Originally posted by Catersun View Post

                                  Thankyou for posting tamara... I was hoping you would chime in. How fast do you guys move your hay out? as in what is he longest it is stored for?
                                  the big barn is emptied and refilled three times in a calendar year...the smaller barns are emptied to refill the big one...it is very rare that we'd have an april hay still there in Nov...
                                  Does the type of hay have much to do with it keeping?

                                  no...but it can effect leaf loss and shatter...which is why you bought it to begin with

                                  best
                                  Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                                  I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I read that if you open a bale and it's hot to the touch (160 degrees F or higher) you're at risk for fire. I don't know what causes this, maybe Tamara can chime in.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Tamara.... what is your smallest barn and how much does it store?

                                      (I had written a bunch of good questions... and now I can't recall them cause the puter ate my post... :-(

                                      Anyone have any idea how to come up with how much square footage I'd need to store 300 bales comfortablely?

                                      Does light or fading effect the nutriant value of hale or is the keep in darkness more of a cosmetic issue?
                                      If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        [QUOTE]
                                        Originally posted by Catersun View Post
                                        Tamara.... what is your smallest barn and how much does it store?
                                        hummm...maybe 40x60 and a capacity of only a few semis worth (10 maybe??) ...when Calvin comes in tonite from plowing I'll ask him for the exact number so don't quote me yet



                                        Anyone have any idea how to come up with how much square footage I'd need to store 300 bales comfortablely?
                                        we are able to put 24 tons of our hay into a space that is 102" by 53'...(one enclosed semi) that is about 780 bales (+/-) ours are also slightly compressed and weighted so if you went to a full 41 inch bale you'd only get about 11 tons in the same space...

                                        Does light or fading effect the nutriant value of hale or is the keep in darkness more of a cosmetic issue
                                        our very best hay is kept in darkness in the back away from the doors...only because it commands the best price and people expect it to look like <X> when it arrives....nothing makes people scream "I"m being cheated" like a bleached top coat...it would take a few years to actually injure the feed value

                                        best
                                        Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                                        I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                                        Comment

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