Storing hay with no hayloft - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 33 Old 04-30-2020, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Interstellar View Post
We have stored our hay on the concrete ground under an awning in our shop area for 15+ years and have never had one mold because it was on the ground. And that's ordering 200-300 bales at a time. Plastic can cause moisture, can it not? Maybe that was an issue. I'm no expert, though.
I've read so many people say the bottom of their hay does mold, and so many say the bottom of their hay doesn't mold. My take is that it's obvious there is no one hard and fast rule - it must be dependent on climate and local conditions - humidity of air, and if there's no vapor barrier, the dampness of the underlying soil, which will reflect amount of rain, soil type, and drainage patterns.

I can completely believe that some people have had no mold on the bottom of their hay. I can also state absolutely that my sister lost the whole bottom layer in a stall, on pallets over a concrete floor, with no vapor barrier (either under the concrete, or on top). Lesson learned. We took no chances when we stored hay in a stall; we put down several layers of vapor barrier (tarp plus well-overlapped huge bubble-wrap sheets from a local furniture/appliance store) and then pallets.

However, half my hay this year and all in the future (when we clear the loft) will be in the hayloft. We have limited flat and open buildable land here and I want use of my 2nd stall back. And housing animals is the least part of our barn's functions, as they live outside with run-in sheds. Being able to securely store a full winter's hay is #1. #2 is tack & feed storage, and #3 is indoor work space in inclement weather. So it's the correct choice for me.

I can say that my loft is definitely a dryer place than ground level in my barn. but with the ground prepared as mentioned above, we haven't lost a single bale to mold. And it certainly was easier to load into the stall than the loft.

All of which is to say, in lots of words, that there's no one hard and fast rule on what will work! I'd just suggest "better safe than sorry" if you don't know your local conditions.

The one thing I would add, which I haven't seen anyone else address, to the OP: don't believe "50-pound bales" are 50 pounds unless you weigh them! My "40-pound bales" are generally closer 30 pounds, and a few are as little as 25. (I take that into consideration when calculating that yes, it's still a good price, and yes, I got enough to last the winter.) I don't know if this is an issue in other areas, but one other HF poster (also in northern New England) also found her bales weren't quite as heavy as she thought.
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post #32 of 33 Old 05-01-2020, 05:41 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Interstellar View Post
We have stored our hay on the concrete ground under an awning in our shop area for 15+ years and have never had one mold because it was on the ground. And that's ordering 200-300 bales at a time. Plastic can cause moisture, can it not? Maybe that was an issue. I'm no expert, though.

Also, like said above, yes hay can combust on its own. So can many different materials.
Indeed, and I think @avjudge hit the nail on the head. Everyone has different climates, different conditions.

I have lost hay to mold because it was on concrete. Since my loft will only hold about 220 bales, I store some of it in the equipment bay at ground level. I can literally see my concrete "sweat" on damp days. Yet I have a full foundation with frost wall (I am in eastern Canada). I had to put pallets under the hay and now it's fine. My loft on the other hand, never gets humid or hot. The humidity seems to stay on the ground level - the loft is always nice and dry. I check on the hay frequently after bringing it in, and am very, very fussy about my hay. We don't have that much heat here anyway, but the ventilation in my barn is very effective. Having a horse with heaves will do that to someone.
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post #33 of 33 Old 05-02-2020, 10:17 AM
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Very interesting information above. We've always stored our hay the exact same way with no issues at the Arkansas farm, use it all up every year and do it again. The only mold issues I've had is with round bales because our herd just never seems to eat them up fast enough and the winter rain soaks them through.

I'm going to do more research on hay storage and vapor barriers and the like - see if we could be doing something better this fall when we get deliveries.
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