Storing Loose Hay

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Ann Bledsoe

Well-known member
Jan 3, 2004
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Florida, USA
Picked up some small square bales of real nice prairie hay out of a field today and the elderly lady that owns it told me that the guy who bales for her has been having trouble with his baler. There are several large round bales that broke and are laying in piles, she told me that if I want the hay, I can have it, she just wants it out of the field -- there's enough hay laying out there to feed my handful of cattle for the whole winter.
This hay has not been rained on and we're not supposed to get any rain until at least Monday night, so I should have plenty of time to get most of it picked up.

But I have to figure out a way to store it once I get it here. I've never dealt with loose hay before.
Can I stack it outdoors without too much nutrient loss? How about tarping it? Or should I make the extra effort and pull pallets into some of the stalls in the barn and stack it in the stalls?

Ann B

In the barn is best - but ....

When living in Saskatchewan I put up about 10 or so tons of loose hay one year. Stacked it on some high ground and put a tarp over it. Weighed the tarps down with some old tires. Worked fine for me.

We lived just west of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan at the time. Suspect your weather could be relatively similar.

Heck, if you have a three sided shelter you could just throw it in there.

Be advised that loose hay can be decieving - what looks like a lot of feed can turn out to be "not enough".

Have fun with the pitch forks!

I normally go through about 6 large rounds over the winter -- there's at least 8 broken out there, so with any luck at all, there'll be enough.
Bought 10 for last winter and we just finished the last bale.

Ann B

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