Haystacks instead of bales - DIY Hay
 
 

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Haystacks instead of bales - DIY Hay

This is a discussion on Haystacks instead of bales - DIY Hay within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Haystack design diy
  • Salt hay as you put it into loose hay stacks

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    06-10-2013, 02:55 PM
  #1
Weanling
Haystacks instead of bales - DIY Hay

Does anyone have any advice for cutting your own hay and storing it in haystacks instead of in bales?

We don't have a baler, or any place indoors to store large quantities of purchased bales.
I see all of our extra grass going to waste in the open field outside the pasture and it makes me wonder if I should keep paying high prices for what I already have on my own property. After all, people were making hay for centuries before balers were even invented, the hay was stored outside for years, and their horses were fine....
     
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    06-11-2013, 12:07 PM
  #2
Started
How much land are you talking about? If it's a few acres than it might be worth it to find a local farmer to come in and for a fee or % of the crop to cut and bale the field. You can store hay outside (rounds preferably) but you are going to waste a certain amount. A loose pile of hay is going to allow moisture to penetrate the pile, heat up, ferment and spoil. I have been hay collect and run through a type of "baler" that just lays it into about 6x6 piles and even in my dry climate, it was cattle fodder by the time it was fed. Your best bet it to fence it in and create more grazing area. You are talking first about a lot of hand work and in the heat and humidity in KY, your ability to keep it from spoiling are pretty much zero. You could mow it (not a lawnmower) and toss it over the fence in a drylot area and save the fenced in pastures for later too.
     
    06-11-2013, 12:24 PM
  #3
Weanling
^ agree. You should have no problem finding someone to bale it for you and share the bales.
     
    06-11-2013, 12:39 PM
  #4
Trained
I've done it by hand, many moons ago, and pretty much ruined it, overestimating our manpower. Haystacks work, but it has to be done a certain way, salted, and you have loss. The complete bottom, because it draws moisture from the soil, and the top layer of the whole stack, due to being exposed to the elements.
I'd ask a farmer to cut and bale for a fee or a percentage of the crop.
     
    06-11-2013, 02:11 PM
  #5
Weanling
It's probably only about an acre, but it's nice and thick because there hasn't been anything on it since the whole area was a cattle farm 25+ years ago. I don't think it's big enough for it to be worth anyone's trouble to bring their equipment in, but I think it would give us enough to get our animals through the winter.
     
    06-11-2013, 03:46 PM
  #6
Trained
Well, try it then
As I said, be prepared for the bottom and the outer layer to get spoiled. As for the salt...a layer of hay, generously thrown on loose cattle salt, layer hay, layer salt and so on. The salt will pull excess moisture out and release oils, making the hay smell and obviously taste good. Any excess just falls out.
You ARE prepared for turning it a couple of times while drying, and windrowing by hand, I hope? That's where I overestimated my manpower, lol...
     
    06-11-2013, 04:12 PM
  #7
Trained
When I was a kid there was a family from the old country in my neighborhood that cut their own hay by hand & stacked it. From what I remember, I used to help them, they used a sycthe (not sure if they even sell those anymore & it takes skill to use one otherwise you could really cut yourself seriously) and cut all the long grass in their orchard, about an acre or more. They raked it out thinly in the sun to dry and after a few days they raked on to a flatbed handpulled wagon to their hayshed. It was a handbuit 3 sided shelter with raised false plywood floor. As the hay was being put in the shed, they added handfuls of blue loose salt between wagonfuls. It was a lot of work as I recall.
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    06-11-2013, 06:07 PM
  #8
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by waresbear    
When I was a kid there was a family from the old country in my neighborhood that cut their own hay by hand & stacked it. From what I remember, I used to help them, they used a sycthe (not sure if they even sell those anymore & it takes skill to use one otherwise you could really cut yourself seriously) and cut all the long grass in their orchard, about an acre or more. They raked it out thinly in the sun to dry and after a few days they raked on to a flatbed handpulled wagon to their hayshed. It was a handbuit 3 sided shelter with raised false plywood floor. As the hay was being put in the shed, they added handfuls of blue loose salt between wagonfuls. It was a lot of work as I recall.
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There ya go!
Very handy tool, a scythe....I used to cut grass for dinner for 6 horses every night. I am from the old country.... hubby is a bit less sufficient, he plows more than cuts......
     
    06-11-2013, 06:23 PM
  #9
Trained
Scythe, knew I was spelling it wrong, on the iPod here in the yard, hard to spellcheck! My dad was from what was called Yugoslavia, he was a master with a scythe, he had all different types of blades for different types of grasses and some serrated ones for cutting brush such as wild blackberry bushes, he was so precise, you'd swear someone had used a mower. He taught me but during the lesson, I stabbed him in the shin, lesson over! I plow like your hubby, haven't used one in years, but if I see one, I am buying it for sure.
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    06-11-2013, 06:58 PM
  #10
Trained
I've seen these masters too( im faaaaar from it lol), precise, fast, efficient and all-wheel drive. Im from the mountains, these steep hillsides are way too dangerous for a tractor. Im pretty sure nowadays some machine can do it, or they're not hayed.
     

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