Storing hay with no hayloft - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 33 Old 04-26-2020, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by JCnGrace View Post
I've been storing hay in a hay loft for years without issue. If the hay is good and dry when it gets baled there shouldn't be a problem with heat building up and causing a fire. Repeat, the hay needs to be DRY when baled. It will keep the hay mold free better than storing it at ground level. Even with plastic down and then pallets the bottom layer will get moldy in our climate (hot & humid summers).

As for moisture building up from horse breath you should have proper ventilation to prevent this and for more reasons than keeping your hay mold free.

To the op, I used my garage before I had a barn that I could store hay in.
I agree - I store hay in my hayloft without problems, but carefully sift through the hay as we bring it in and any bales that have even a little more weight than the others (suggesting they're not as dry) get fed immediately so they don't go into storage. I have ventilation in my hay loft and my barn is never closed up completely, nor is it insulated. My horses have 24/7 turnout with access to a large common "stall" (actually two stalls opened to make a large run-in). I have very high ceilings and a very open barn. The hay loft is open on the sides since it only spans the center aisle of my barn, not the stalls - this allows for air to move very well. Vets are always impressed with the openness of the barn and horses do better in a barn with good air quality than a humid, stale, and dusty barn. My barn is cold, but my horses are healthy and they cope just fine (I do blanket my senior, but my other two stay naked all winter). Also, making your building taller to allow for hay storage is far cheaper than making it longer or erecting a separate structure.

That said, the OP said they didn't want to have a hay loft so I respect that choice and responded with that in mind. Personally, I contemplated all the options when I built my barn four years ago and decided to put in a hayloft with all the precautions in place. For me, having to bring hay into the barn from another building with the amount of snow we get in the winter is just not feasible. It's all I can do to shovel a path to the manure pile - I'm not really keen on shoveling another path to a separate building, but in a perfect world, I can see how it makes sense. However, I want to have horses at home for as long as possible as I age, and I know that it's important to do things in a way that is sustainable in the long term. Hauling a couple of 50 lb bales of hay through 4 feet of snow every day for at least 6 months of winter is not realistic for me.
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post #12 of 33 Old 04-26-2020, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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All great advice thankyou! I have called around and I should be able to pick up hay as I need it, I'll just pay the 300amount upfront on contract so they dont sell the hay on me.
I'm not wanting to put a hayloft in my barn for my own personal anxiety about fire lol I'm a young 23 year old heavy equipement mechanic that I'm not worried about hauling hay my job will cripple me before moving hay does 😂.
I have a quad and trailer and a small kubota tractor to plow and move stuff.
As for acrage I'll have 45 acres. The 2 acres is just to start for our first year then I'll probably fence in 2 more 5acre pastures. I'll keep in mind that they probably wont have any grass this year tho thankyou!
I will be making a fairly large 10x14 hay storage area in the barn tho. Thank you for all the advice!
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post #13 of 33 Old 04-27-2020, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCnGrace View Post
I've been storing hay in a hay loft for years without issue. If the hay is good and dry when it gets baled there shouldn't be a problem with heat building up and causing a fire. Repeat, the hay needs to be DRY when baled. It will keep the hay mold free better than storing it at ground level. Even with plastic down and then pallets the bottom layer will get moldy in our climate (hot & humid summers).

As for moisture building up from horse breath you should have proper ventilation to prevent this and for more reasons than keeping your hay mold free.

To the op, I used my garage before I had a barn that I could store hay in.
Hay lofts cause a lot of ventilation problems, that's why you don't see them built by good barn builders anymore. In all my research and from what I've been taught hay lofts are not to be done anymore. Way too much risk.

I understand the reasons some do, but I have never actually seen a barn with a hay loft nowadays. Everyone stores it somewhere else and uses a gator/tractor/ATV to bring it to the barns.
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post #14 of 33 Old 04-27-2020, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Interstellar View Post
Hay lofts cause a lot of ventilation problems, that's why you don't see them built by good barn builders anymore. In all my research and from what I've been taught hay lofts are not to be done anymore. Way too much risk.

I understand the reasons some do, but I have never actually seen a barn with a hay loft nowadays. Everyone stores it somewhere else and uses a gator/tractor/ATV to bring it to the barns.
My brother is a contractor and exclusively does pole buildings/barns and the reason they advocate hay storage on the floor is because it's cheaper and easier to build out rather than up.

Not seeing barns with hay lofts must be your area because there are still plenty in the Midwest.

Logistically it is easier to store it at ground level, it's hard work tossing it up in a loft if you don't have a hay elevator. But if you put hay in the barn that hasn't been properly cured before baling then it's going to cause a fire no matter if you store it in a loft or on the ground. We don't want people to get the wrong idea and think it's safe as long as they stack it on the floor. If you have a questionable bale then you do like @Acadianartist does and set it aside to be used immediately or away from the other hay until it has had time to go through it's sweat and cooled off.

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post #15 of 33 Old 04-27-2020, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCnGrace View Post
My brother is a contractor and exclusively does pole buildings/barns and the reason they advocate hay storage on the floor is because it's cheaper and easier to build out rather than up.

Not seeing barns with hay lofts must be your area because there are still plenty in the Midwest.

Logistically it is easier to store it at ground level, it's hard work tossing it up in a loft if you don't have a hay elevator. But if you put hay in the barn that hasn't been properly cured before baling then it's going to cause a fire no matter if you store it in a loft or on the ground. We don't want people to get the wrong idea and think it's safe as long as they stack it on the floor. If you have a questionable bale then you do like @Acadianartist does and set it aside to be used immediately or away from the other hay until it has had time to go through it's sweat and cooled off.
Barns in the midwest are typically older and have haylofts because it was the norm. I don't see any new barns built with a hay loft, and certainly wouldn't condone it.
It's not just the questionable bale, it's respiration creating wet heat in the barn that can lead to moisture settling in the hay.

You also have to think about the way ventilation works, and how a hay loft prevents proper air flow and ventilation especially for a closed off barn in the winter. Plus, on top of that, all the dust and hay particles are floating down onto the horses. Not good for respiratory systems or the eyes at all.
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post #16 of 33 Old 04-27-2020, 12:46 PM
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I think I mentioned proper ventilation in my first post. I don't want to argue the point to death.
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post #17 of 33 Old 04-27-2020, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCnGrace View Post
I think I mentioned proper ventilation in my first post. I don't want to argue the point to death.
How do you get proper ventilation - especially of the humid and hot air from respiration as well as warm summer days - with something blocking off the top of the barn? Especially in the winter when all the doors are shut? I'm honestly curious because I've never heard of being able to accomplish that.
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post #18 of 33 Old 04-27-2020, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Interstellar View Post
How do you get proper ventilation - especially of the humid and hot air from respiration as well as warm summer days - with something blocking off the top of the barn? Especially in the winter when all the doors are shut? I'm honestly curious because I've never heard of being able to accomplish that.
Don't shut the doors. Easy.

My hayloft only spans the center aisle of my barn. Over the stalls, it is open all the way to the roof trusses. On the sides of the hay loft are 2 x 4s frames, I just never walled it in. So when you're standing in a stall, you can see right up to the roof. I can also easily drop hay down from the loft (I do have a hay elevator to stack it up there). There are vents on either side of the hay loft and there is still lots of space above the bales so they're not all the way up to the roof.

Finally, I have converted two 10 x 12 stalls into one large run-in which my three horses use. The two four-foot wide stall doors open out onto a paddock. They are never shut, even in winter. I shut them once, I think, for a few hours, when a blizzard was driving the snow sideways, but usually, it isn't a problem even in a storm - and we have our share of those. A big help is the 10 foot long overhang that spans the length of the large, open run-in stall. They often stand under there, or inside the double stall looking out into the paddock when the weather is unpleasant. My barn is not insulated and because it is never closed off, I have never had a drop of condensation. The horses are perfectly fine in very cold weather, it's the humans who don't like it!

Again, I am absolutely not telling the OP or anyone else to build a barn with a hayloft. I'm just explaining how I have good ventilation in mine since you asked. A tightly shut barn might seem more comfortable, but the air quality often suffers when people feel the need to shut in their animals.

Oh, and in the summer, the horses are happy to come in to escape the heat and flies since the barn is nicely shaded. I also have screened windows that are placed up high so the air is always moving. In the summer, it is always much cooler in the barn than it is outside.
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post #19 of 33 Old 04-27-2020, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by samlovesnemo View Post
All great advice thankyou! I have called around and I should be able to pick up hay as I need it, I'll just pay the 300amount upfront on contract so they dont sell the hay on me.

One word of caution here- I can only store 500 bales (in my hay loft ) but given our cold, long winters and late springs, I actually arranged for an extra 200 bales on top of the 500 my hay guy bought me. He agreed to store the 200 for me. I worked my way through the 500 bales between September and March, and when the loft started getting low in late March, I called to get the rest of the bales brought over. Imagine my surprise that I got a voicemail in return saying, "sorry, something weird happened in the barn I had them stored in and they're way too dusty to feed to horses." So, basically, I was out of luck even though I had planned ahead. This guy is reputable and the person I've used since I've lived here, but he basically left me high and dry...erm, actually, NOT dry high and dusty! I understand things happen, but what made me livid is that he didn't proactively call me to tell me this months ago. So I've been furiously searching for someone to bring me out some more to get me through between now and when first cut comes in. Fingers crossed, I have someone my vet recommended who I think will be coming out with 100 bales tomorrow or Wednesday (assuming it stops snowing!). But just know that even planning ahead, if you don't have those bales in your own barn, you may still need a backup plan.
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post #20 of 33 Old 04-27-2020, 02:12 PM
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Yep, what @egrogan describes has happened to me too many times. I do have lots of backup plans, and friends who have bailed me out, but I'd much rather have the hay in my barn. I thought I had connections too, and that they would never let me down. They did.
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