Hay fire worries...
We just bought our first load of hay. So far we have 225 square bales and tomorrow we'll be getting another 75. This is just from the first cut - I may get another 100 bales from the second cut.
So I did a lot of reading about the dangers of hay fires. I read about how your hay should have less than 20% moisture (but how the heck do you measure moisture??? I don't have a chemistry lab in my house...) or use a 10 foot probe to read deep into your hay pile to check the temperature (who has a 10 ft thermometer?).
I know it should be no hotter than 125 F. I do have a long (like 18 inches) thermometer we use for making maple syrup I can stick into a few bales and I was planning on doing that a couple of times a day for the next while.
Our hay does appear very dry, however. Conditions are very, very dry at the moment, so it should have been well-cured in the field before being baled. But since I am stacking some of it in the barn (some is going to an outbuilding, but I am short on space), I am concerned about spontaneous combustion.
Is there anything else I can be doing? Is there another way to tell if your hay is dry/cured enough? Oh, and the horses are never shut in the barn this time of year, so they wouldn't be trapped. We leave the dutch doors of their stalls open, leading out into the paddock, 24/7. Should a fire erupt, they'd be outside anyway. But I'd rather not lose my brand new barn!