5 Tips to Protect Hay in Poor Weather Condition

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

As the days and nights get colder, hay producers, worry about how to protect their investment correctly. Usually the concern is more for the large round bales of hay which are more susceptible to dryness, and indigestible to livestock. However, it would be a great loss to lose any of their valuable assets. Here are some ways to store hay and minimize its loss.

Hay Stored Outdoors
Cover it up. If you cannot move the hay indoors, it needs to be covered. Use a tarp, plastic wrap or canvases against extreme weathering condition. Round bales exposed to poor weather will lose its nutritional value and be indigestible to livestock.

Select a Storage Area
A good storage area is one with quality airflow and drainage. If possible the storage should not be shaded and air should be able to flow to enhance drying after rain or other type precipitation.

Keep Bales off Ground
Use racks, tires, build floorboards to keep the hay off the ground. Hay kept on the ground loses about 5 to 20 percent of dry matter.

Stack Bales in Rows
It is recommended to stack bales of hay end-to-end, with about 4 feet between each row, and to keep air circulating. The bales should also be north to south direction. However, if you do not plan to cover the bales there is no need to stack them.

Tighten Bales
The most crucial step in protecting hay during wet weather is to tighten the outer layer of the bales. Moisture seeps in through loose packed hay, this allows bacteria to produce, multiply, and destroy its nutrients. The density can be checked by doing a palm test. Press your palm to the hay, if it can depress the area more than a half inch it will experience serious dry matter loss.

It is important to understand that the best way to keep your hay safe during wet winter weather is to store it indoors. To find out more about SB Hay and Feed can help you protect your hay investment, contact us.