We don’t take the time to pay much attention to hay storage, but it’s an important topic to visit. Without proper storage techniques, quality loss becomes a big problem. Also, the risk of accidents involving fire increases dramatically. So, we’re going to take a brief look at some of the basic tips you need to know about hay storage. Let’s get started.
Moisture levels are important to prevent hay quality loss. We’re taking a page out of AgWeb’s book with these tips. According to them, “Small square bales should be baled at less than 22 percent moisture, and round bales should be less than 18 percent moisture before baling.” You also need to make sure that hay bales are given plenty of air circulation. Without that extra ventilation, they may suck up excess moisture from the ground. Another worry is that mold or fungus can grow, too.
Your hay bales need protection when they’re outside, and tarping is the best way to provide it. Ultimately, it serves to keep out bad weather and other damaging effects like the sun’s UV rays. You can find extensive tarp product info from Nasus Supply and other retailers. When looking online, make sure you find something that will suit your specific needs. There are a range of great choices out there.
Let’s take a minute to think about fire risks. Indoor storage is always a risk when it comes to hay baling, so you need to be extra careful. Firstly, you don’t want to store it overhead in a barn if it catches fire. Ideally, you only want to keep small amounts in the barn at any one time and not let it come into contact with gasoline or aerosol cans, for example. If your barn is electrically wired, make sure regular checks are done on the wiring to prevent fire hazards. And, keep in mind that safe storage temperatures are generally around 120 degrees.
While we’re on the subject of fire risks, let’s talk about how to monitor hay bale temperatures. There is a device on the market called a bale thermometer. However, this is a dangerous task that shouldn’t be taken lightly. To ensure you remain safe, always carry out this task with a partner. If an emergency arises, you’ll need their help to pull you out of danger. You don’t necessarily need a commercial bale thermometer for this purpose, either. You can actually use a pipe of the correct dimensions, which will give you a basic reading.
Before we wrap up, this is an important final note. You want to animal-proof your barn to prevent any nasty incidents. They’ll find ways to get in if you don’t, and they’ll spoil your hay or even eat through wires.
It’s important to keep in mind that hay will eventually spoil and lose quality, no matter what you do. You can’t always protect it from the elements and the onset of time, but our tips will improve its longevity.