On a working farm, hay can pile up quickly. This is an essential resource, of course, but it can take up a ton of space while waiting to be used. If your current hay storage plans aren’t working out so well, it might be time to take a fresh look at this important topic. In this article, we’ll touch on some of the top hay storage ideas that are effective and efficient.
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Understand the Enemy
When thinking about top hay storage ideas, it’s important to understand the primary enemy that you are facing – moisture. Keeping your hay dry is the top priority in the storage process. Hay is made by drying out grass or other plants, so allowing moisture to be reintroduced could ruin the product.
Steering clear of moisture can be a challenge when you have a large quantity of hay to protect. This is because moisture can not only come from above in the form of rain but also from below in the form of groundwater. Whether coming from below or above, water can damage much of your hay supply in short order.
Get It Off the Ground
As a starting point, you’ll need to figure out a way to get your hay off the ground while it is stored. Often, hay is stored high up in a loft inside of a barn – this approach gets it safely away from the moisture in the ground and covers it with a roof. Even if that arrangement isn’t an option for you at the moment, you can use a variety of methods to get your bales off the ground.
- A collection of old tires could be laid out to create a bed for the hay bales
- Old wood pallets can be lined up to serve the same purpose
- Even a section of gravel on the ground would work to limit how much moisture comes up from below
Two Rain Protection Options
Your two main options for keeping rain off your hay bales are tarps or a roof. Tarps are an economical choice, but those savings might be washed away when some of the hay must be discarded due to spoilage. Even when carefully covered, it’s hard to keep all the hay dry when storing it outside under tarps.
A roof is going to be far more effective at keeping your bales out of the rain, and it will make your life easier, as well. With plenty of covered space for all the hay you plan to store, it will be easy enough to just move the bales in and keep them dry. It is worth remembering, however, that you will need to have enough room to move the hay in and out of the building you are using for storage. Hay bales are heavy and sometimes must be moved by machines rather than people. Planning the layout of the building to allow for easy storage placement and retrieval will make the whole operation work nicely.
Thinking About Fire Danger
On the other end of the spectrum from spoilage from water damage is losing your hay to a fire. A fire would not only destroy your stock of hay, but it would also create a dangerous situation that could threaten the lives of animals and people in the area. Hay can get hot, especially early in the season, and it can combust in the right conditions. Monitoring the temperature of the hay regularly is a good idea to avoid letting it reach a dangerous point.
The potential for a fire is another reason to consider a metal structure instead of a wood barn. Metal doesn’t burn, where a wood barn would almost certainly be brought down in a hay fire. You’d like to avoid fire at all, of course, but having a metal structure can give you some peace of mind that your barn is not a fire hazard, as well as the hay itself.
A Streamlined Process
Don’t let hay storage problems take over the day-to-day management of your farm. Instead, put a plan in place with the help of a sturdy reliable structure from American Carports, Inc. With your top hay storage ideas and needs satisfied, you can return your attention to the many other aspects of keeping your farm on the right track. Let’s get started today!