How Do You Store Hay to Keep It Fresh?

sunrise with hay bales strewn across the landscape

sunrise with hay bales strewn across the landscape

As a hay producer, you know how crucial it is to keep your hay fresh. The quality of your hay can affect the health and productivity of the animals that eat it. If your hay goes bad, it can lead to serious problems, such as mold and even deadly toxins that can harm the animals.

Fortunately, storing hay properly can help you keep it fresh. Storing hay is not just about stacking it in the barn; it requires attention and effort to ensure it stays fresh and nutritious. Here are some tips for storing hay to keep it fresh.

Choose the Right Location

The first step to storing hay properly is choosing the right location. Hay should be stored in a dry and well-ventilated area to prevent moisture buildup and mold growth. You should also avoid storing hay under leaky roofs or areas prone to flooding.

If the hay will be stored outside, make sure it is elevated above the ground on pallets or a platform to prevent moisture from the soil. Exposure to sunlight will cause the hay to lose nutrients and become dry, so try storing it in a shaded area.

You can also use a tarp or a hay storage cover to protect the hay from moisture, sunlight, and wind.

Stack the Bales Properly

Stacking hay bales correctly is crucial to prevent damage and ensure that they stay fresh. Here are some tips for stacking bales properly:

– Stack bales in a pyramid shape to improve ventilation and prevent compression. The base of the pyramid should be wider than the top.
– Leave some space between the bales to allow for air circulation.
– Stack the bales tightly to prevent moisture from getting in but do not stack them too tightly, as this can cause pressure points and damage the hay.
– Do not stack hay bales more than three high. Stacking too high can cause the bottom bales to compress and damage the hay.

Monitor Moisture Levels

Moisture is the enemy of hay storage. You should monitor the moisture levels in the hay regularly to prevent mold growth and spoilage. Hay should be below 20% moisture to prevent mold growth.

You can use a moisture meter to determine the hay’s moisture levels. These devices measure the moisture levels inside the hay bales. If the moisture levels are too high, you can use a dehumidifier or fan to lower it.

You can also use a moisture-absorbing product, such as calcium chloride or silica gel, to absorb any excess moisture in the air.

Maintain Good Ventilation

Good ventilation is essential to keep your hay dry and fresh. Poor ventilation can cause moisture buildup and mold growth. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep the air circulating around the hay.

You can use fans or vents to improve air movement throughout the hay storage area. Ensure the ventilation is adequate for both the hay and the animals that will be consuming the hay, as poor air quality can cause respiratory problems in livestock.

Rotate Your Hay Stock

Rotating your hay stock is vital to ensure you have no spoiled hay bales in your storage. Always use the oldest hay bales first to prevent spoilage.

A good practice is to label the hay bales with the date they were stored. You can use the oldest hay bales first and avoid spoilage.

Contact Our Alfalfa Hay Suppliers

Storing hay properly requires effort and attention to ensure that it stays fresh and nutritious. Poorly stored hay can cause serious health problems for the animals that consume it. As a leading hay supplier, David Woods Hay Service is committed to ensuring our customers receive high-quality, fresh hay.

If you need high-quality hay for your livestock, contact David Woods Hay Service today. We offer excellent hay products that meet the nutritional needs of your animals.