3 Tips For Handling And Storing Wet Hay

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

When your hay gets wet, you may face a number of issues that affect its quality and safety. However, there are ways to handle and store wet hay that can minimize these problems. First, you must decide whether or not to bale the wet hay. Next, you must understand the issues that can arise from wet hay. The last tip you can use to handle hay is to know how to properly store it to prevent exposure to moisture.

Deciding whether to bale your hay

Leaving wet hay on the ground without doing anything to it can cause damage to the plants growing underneath. It is recommended that you move the grass as soon as possible. This means blowing the grass back on the ground in the form of mulch, chopping it, or baling it. If you drive back and forth across the field trying to dry the hay, you can compact the soil, especially if it is wet and soft. You might also injure re-growth during the process.

Problems that may occur from damaged strips

There may not be many benefits to managing hay that has been rained on. However, leaving the crop on the ground until the next cutting can end up being expensive. Wet windrows will eventually smother plants that lay under them if they are left on the ground too long. Yield will be lower and an awful weed problem will set in due to broad leaves and grasses infecting the strip. All future cuttings will be infested by these weeds. The windrows can also clog your mower and slow you down if left until the next cutting. Ignoring the problem of soaked hay can lead to less quality in new growth and the introduction of issues like insects.

You can store hay to avoid exposure to moisture

The best way to avoid moisture getting into your hay is to store it indoors. This is not an option that everyone has, however. Nutrients can be lost due to weathering. If hay bales are formed into even shapes or densely packed stacks, they can shed water better. Plastic twine or net wrap that is spaced out no more than four inches apart on a round bale will help the hay maintain its shape. The twine can also encourage water runoff due to the smooth surface of the bale.

Well drained or elevated storage areas are recommended for storing hay and keeping it from sitting in moisture. You should store round bales so that there is at least one foot on all sides of each bale for proper ventilation. The round bales should be stored end to end in rows, so that they look like a cigar. You should keep bales away from areas where snow can drift. If the bales do get exposed to moisture, place them where the sun and wind can dry them out.

If you would like to learn more about storing hay and livestock feed, contact SB Hay & Feed in Amarillo, Texas. Feel free to give us a call at (800) 652-3036 or Contact Us by email for more information. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have and help direct you to the right products for your animals. You can also view the hay we have available for purchase or sell your own!