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Discussion Starter #1
We are building a lean-to on the run-in shelter to store hay. About 8 x 12 feet, should hold 60 - 70 bales (3 string squares). Stud frame construction sheathed and roofed with corrugated steel. The floor will be plywood on joists. It is not the best drained piece of land ever but we can ditch around it and keep it dry, I believe.

My last hay storage experience was on concrete in a kind of half-basement open on the ends. We stored the hay on a layer of pallets which invariably filled up with sifted hay which then molded. It was quite hard to keep the bales from molding especially in our rainy winters. Summers here are cool, rainless, and rather foggy since we live close to the ocean. Still humid.

So my questions would be, one, should I put pallets on the plywood floor? Something else? And two, should there be air vents at the top of the shed? Could even be continuous venting all the way around.

Thoughts?
 

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We are building a lean-to on the run-in shelter to store hay. About 8 x 12 feet, should hold 60 - 70 bales (3 string squares). Stud frame construction sheathed and roofed with corrugated steel. The floor will be plywood on joists. It is not the best drained piece of land ever but we can ditch around it and keep it dry, I believe.

My last hay storage experience was on concrete in a kind of half-basement open on the ends. We stored the hay on a layer of pallets which invariably filled up with sifted hay which then molded. It was quite hard to keep the bales from molding especially in our rainy winters. Summers here are cool, rainless, and rather foggy since we live close to the ocean. Still humid.

So my questions would be, one, should I put pallets on the plywood floor? Something else? And two, should there be air vents at the top of the shed? Could even be continuous venting all the way around.

Thoughts?
for sure use pallets. Turn the bottom row on its side. That will help with mold although it is common on bottom row. I just keep old hay and bottom and never use it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've heard of people bedding their bottom row on shavings and paper. Anyone ever do that?
 

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I've made the mistakes when it comes to storing hay. Lay a big sheet of heavy plastic on the ground under the floor. This helps keep ground moisture down below. Use pressure treated joists. Once the floor is built stack pallets two high before adding the hay. Air movement is important to help keep hay from molding so don't close in the walls. Use 1x4 boards spaced 1,1/2 to 2" apart, horizontally to stiffen the uprights. With a 1' overhang on the roof it should keep rain out. If you have the space, leave walk around room. Setting it away from the walls means it won't get wet even if bad weather rolls in. Mine is 12 x 16' built onto the barn wall. We get nasty cold winter winds out of the north so the barn blocks the wind while I'm in the shed. I can get 100 sq.bales in there even with them set back a bit.
 

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If you put a plastic tarp down on the floor and stack the hay on top of it you should be ok. In one of our barns we had pallets over a gravel base and they would still mold on the bottom. Put a tarp over the pallets and so far so good.
 

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do not place the hay on the tarp.
if you want a moisture barrier, on your floor beams place the plastic, the plywoods sheet over the plastic. you could use some pallets, yes , hay will drop into the slats, as you empty a pallet, move it and clean it. Or you could use square post , lay them on the ply wood floor, and stack the hay on top of those. Pallets are easiest. We may get lucky and get a TON of rain this year , and you will be glad to have those bales up off the ground. You could also tack a tarp up for siding to help keep some of the moisture out from the fog.
 

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I learned the hard way that stacking the pallets two high is much better for air flow under the bottom bales, than a single layer. Air movement is vital.
 

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I do also think plastic-ing under the plywood floor will be better for your wood, and also for a moisture barrier to the hay. I say this because when we pull our pallets there are always a few that have rotted parts, still use-able, but you can tell the dirt floor gets them. And a pallet is way easier for me to replace than flooring is for you. I would possibly even salt under the pallets, many do it with great results. The plastic likely will also protect mole-made dirt from contacting the plywood.
Next pallet or double pallet the hay. The way we have our hay stacked, I won't get to the sifted hay until nearly ALL of our 10 tons are gone. It is stacked to the walls, no walk around space. There will be a bit of mold on the bottom of some bales on the bottom layer (one layer is 42 bales, almost 2 tons). BUT... We discovered it isn't our stacking, it is the dang little mice/moles that get past the cats and tunnel under the pallets (dirt floor) and make the dirt raise up and contact the hay, then that moisture transfers through. It wasn't enough mold for me to bat an eye at this past year when we undid the stacks after 2ish years of them being the untouched bottom row.

But to add...We live in eastern WA, so we are drier than you, aren't we?
And in regards to ditching, is it slope that is the issue, or just general drainage muck? Our entire property is on a hill, so the upper pasture water naturally goes down towards where the barn was placed because it was flatter there. So we had a friend put a long berm behind the entire barn and lean-to's to make the water run away. It has worked *wonderfully*. So we don't have drainage issues really, it is just the natural path of the water creating issues.
 

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When we store hay downstairs, we put down plastic first as a moisture barrier then pallets ( I suppose two high would be even better) then the hay. Even with this the bottom layer could get a little musty.
Luckily we found someone to buy hay from who had an elevator and could put the hay up in the loft which is great, no more wasted hay.
 

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Even in a loft you can lose bottom bales as they sweat against the floor. I bo't from a loft and the cattle got all the bottom row.
 

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Even in a loft you can lose bottom bales as they sweat against the floor. I bo't from a loft and the cattle got all the bottom row.
After 55 + years of having hay stored in a loft I have never had that happen, the hay has always been good.
Not saying it couldn't happen though, maybe hay that is stored for more than one year, it could happen to.
 

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After 55 + years of having hay stored in a loft I have never had that happen, the hay has always been good.
Not saying it couldn't happen though, maybe hay that is stored for more than one year, it could happen to.
Ours was stored for 2-3 years without being moved,, but our hay on 1 layer of pallets on a dirt floor barely had any real mold to worry about.
I would have been able to salvage nearly all of each of our bales, had it not been for my husband storing them straight on wet-able ground while we were levelling and re-palleting the hay storage. We got rain while it was out, and I didn't want to bother with pulling off the bad chunks, esp. because it was orchard hay that our horses hated anyhow. I mean, ****y annoyed moods when they realized that was all they got to eat lol. Poor spoiled things. I just gave the 10 bales or so to a friend with cows.
 

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This is a great thread at a great time because I really need to do something with my hay barn next spring.
It's not a real hay barn but a grain drying building. There are 2 long sides that are all metal with little air gaps all over, except the top. Those sides are no problem except getting hay in & out as the doors are not real wide.
The problem is the large area between the 2 sides (think of a rectangular building divided into thirds). This area has a concrete floor that can't remember when it was last level.

I've done the heavy plastic over & under pallets with still some hay loss to the very bottom of bottom bales. I'm sure the hay is very dry when put up because I've never felt heat or found any wet/moldy areas except where stated.

How do you stack hay on double pallets? I mean how do you walk on them without getting stuck or breaking through?
I use small bales so getting equipment into the area isn't needed.
I plan to level that area with stone but would be thankful for suggestions as what to do after that. Thanks
 

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This is a great thread at a great time because I really need to do something with my hay barn next spring.
It's not a real hay barn but a grain drying building. There are 2 long sides that are all metal with little air gaps all over, except the top. Those sides are no problem except getting hay in & out as the doors are not real wide.
The problem is the large area between the 2 sides (think of a rectangular building divided into thirds). This area has a concrete floor that can't remember when it was last level.

I've done the heavy plastic over & under pallets with still some hay loss to the very bottom of bottom bales. I'm sure the hay is very dry when put up because I've never felt heat or found any wet/moldy areas except where stated.

How do you stack hay on double pallets? I mean how do you walk on them without getting stuck or breaking through?
I use small bales so getting equipment into the area isn't needed.
I plan to level that area with stone but would be thankful for suggestions as what to do after that. Thanks
I say stack pallets double in theory. I haven't ever done it, but don't see how you couldn't if you do onsS for breaking through, I don't think it is any harder with 2 layers than with one- just step carefully. I get stuck all the time because I seem to have perfectly sized feet to slip through, then can't get out, so I have to slip off my boots while trying to not fall over lol.
OH! I forgot, what we also do is grab small, trash plywood sheets to cover problem spots when they aren't filled yet. Then move the sheet as it gets filled.
As for it happening, we are only at the bottom bare pallet level for a bit of time- when we fill them and when it is towards then end of the 10 tons (1x a year)- when we are filling lol. The rest of the time, I have 6-8 layers of 42 bales a layer, and pull from one layer at a time only, no staggered pulling. We did that the 1st couple of years and while it was nice to be able to easily climb in, it was a bear to actually get them in, since they were 3 different sized bales and we couldn't Tetris them in well. I have an extension ladder tied into my rafter so I can climb up and when I drop the bale, if it hits the ladder, I am not screwed because it won't fall over lol.

As for your uneven floor... can you use the slats from busted pallets to build up the areas, or is it not that large of an unevenness? My husband actually cuts the pallets down to get them to fit perfectly in the 30x12 hay cover. We even use some privacy fence panels we got free, if needed.
Those air gaps must be nice! Ours is a metal walled pole barn, with the hay cover as a lean-to off of it. We walled the hay cover in with the slats off of privacy fencing. It was oh such a joy to bust those ******s free without damage! But it looks cool and old school barn. :) And the air gaps are perfect.:)
I wouldn't think plastic between the pallet and the hay would be good, because it wouldn't leave a very good air gap, I wouldn't think.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
This is a great discussion, thanks!

The hay shelter is going up now . . . the floor is conventional joists sitting on concrete blocks, with 3/4" OSB on top, which will have floor paint on it, mostly to address abrasion. There is a slight slope; the uphill corner of the floor has a bit less than six inches clearance from the ground, but I still think it will be better than gravel, dirt, concrete, or anything with ground contact.

The 3 free-standing walls will be corrugated steel panels but they will start 6" up from the floor, with some kind of louvre to keep rain out. Then there will be a gap under the eaves all around.

I'm planning on a double bed of pallets, and stacking with an air space of at least 6" all around the walls. The shed is only 8 x 12 feet so we certainly can't store a year of hay in there for two horses, but it is what there is room for. The plus side to that is several times a year I can re-evaluate and adjust my system.

Air flow is the thing, clearly.
 

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Having to do it multiple times per year will be nice for you in learning. If you ever move, or get a bigger building to store it, you will have a huge learning curve.
We have lived here and had horses only 3.5ish years, so have been learning it as we go. This past summer was the first time since we were here that we had so little hay that we could pull the leftovers to start anew. Of course, this summer was also the 1st summer we had 3 horses instead of 2, so we went through more hay which helped. :)

It does sound like air gapping is very important where you live.
As for your uphill corner- the 6 inches from the ground, you mean to say the rest of the wood floor has more distance from the dirt below it? I think the 6 inches is plenty, so therefore the rest would be just as good. I think having the airgap, the OSB, then your pallets is going to be a wonderful system for moisture control.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Having to do it multiple times per year will be nice for you in learning. If you ever move, or get a bigger building to store it, you will have a huge learning curve.
We have lived here and had horses only 3.5ish years, so have been learning it as we go. This past summer was the first time since we were here that we had so little hay that we could pull the leftovers to start anew. Of course, this summer was also the 1st summer we had 3 horses instead of 2, so we went through more hay which helped. :)

It does sound like air gapping is very important where you live.
As for your uphill corner- the 6 inches from the ground, you mean to say the rest of the wood floor has more distance from the dirt below it? I think the 6 inches is plenty, so therefore the rest would be just as good. I think having the airgap, the OSB, then your pallets is going to be a wonderful system for moisture control.

:)
Hope you are right! Moldy hay really sucks.
 

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We have just started to feed the horses hay, they have lots of pasture and it's been mild this Dec so they are still eating grass.
I threw down some hay that is left over from the previous year and it is still nice and dry and we will use this up before starting on the new crop.
 
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