How to Properly Store Hay Bales

Monday, May 7th, 2018

With the harvest seasons upon us, it’s so important to understand how to properly store hay bales so that they can be used all year round! If weather allows, hay can be cut as early as May. Are you prepared to store your hay after it has been cut?

Here are some tips on proper hay storage to ensure that your hay stays it’s best all year round:

Store your hay on an elevated platform
Never store your hay directly on the ground as this prevents air from circulating throughout the hay. To ensure that hay doesn’t collect unwanted moisture, keep hay stored on an elevated platform in an area that allows for air to circulate throughout the stack and keep moisture away.

Store your hay is a separate building.
Many livestock owners like to store their hay in the same building as their animals to make it easier when feeding time comes. However, hay can be extremely flammable, especially after it has been stored for a long time. Keeping hay in a separate building to your livestock is a precautionary measure to keep your livestock safe.

Check the bales before you store them
After baling the hay, it may seem repetitive to check each bale before storing them. However, simply being on the lookout for bales that feel heavier than others or are discolored can save you from contaminating the whole bunch. If a bale seems inconsistent with the others, break it open and check for mold. If you find bales with mold, get rid of them early by either composting them or using them in gardening.

Plan your storage before you begin
Before you begin stacking and storing your hay bales, think about a system that will keep the oldest bales towards the front. When you need hay, you’ll want to use the oldest hay first instead of letting it sit in the back for too long.

Keep the bales covered
Never let hay bales stay uncovered outside, exposed to sunlight and rain. Hay that is exposed to sun for too long will dry out and lose its nutrients, and hay that soaks up rain water is more likely to grow mold. Keep hay covered under a tarp and stored on an elevated surface to protect it from the outdoor weather.

In keeping hay bales properly stored, you not only ensure that your own livestock receives high quality hay all year round, but you also make your hay more marketable to be sold to other livestock owners. When livestock owners are looking to buy hay, they look for bales that have been stored correctly and will thus be the most nutritious for the livestock.

When you need to sell your next cutting of hay or your excess hay, visit SB Hay and Feed. Spencer Berry created SB Hay and Feed in order to connect livestock owners in need of hay with farmers across the U.S. and Canada. Visit our site to find the best hay for your horses and cattle, or sign up to sell your own hay! Contact Us for more information on how you can buy and sell hay and feed online using SB Hay and Feed.