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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long story short I was able to purchase 20 4x5 round bales out of New York of nice horse hay. Only problem is I can only store 10 of them inside the other 10 would have to be stored outside somehow. We have an area that is sand and I was thinking we could put some sort of either tarp or plastic layer down on the ground, then put pallets on top of that so the bales would be on the pallets. And then build some type of frame and cover that completely with plastic to keep any water/snow out. Those bales would be fed out first.

Any thoughts on this or other ideas that you think might work better? Usually the farm we get our hay from stores it for us, but they do not have enough this year for half of their customers so I had to source out another place. The place in New York is willing to hold the hay for a couple of months, but they will need the barn space for Winter equipment storage.
 

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Gosh I never fed round bales myself so I might not be the best person to answer…but around here I do see farms with round bales that are individually wrapped in plastic.
That sounds pretty labor intensive; I think your idea sounds better.
 

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Are they not individually wrapped? If not one place I worked put pallets down first, laid the plastic out (was HUGE), bale put on pallet with the plastic under and then wrapped over the bale and duct taped. This was for like.. 3 bales only though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Gosh I never fed round bales myself so I might not be the best person to answer…but around here I do see farms with round bales that are individually wrapped in plastic.
That sounds pretty labor intensive; I think your idea sounds better.
The bales are currently net wrapped and have been stored inside. I don't think individually wrapping them is safe as it could cause moisture/mold. The wrapped bales I've seen are used for cows only in CT.
 

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@BethR rounds that are plastic wrapped individually are hayledge (spelling??not sure).

Put the round bales round side down on pallets. If you tarp it make sure there's air flow or tarps will collect moisture.

People up here store net wrapped bales outside on pallets. As long as round side is down on pallets they'll shed water an be fine.

If you put netted bales out for horses make sure to cut netting off. Horses ingest it it will kill them
 

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I'd put down pallets, stack them on their side to make a pyramid shape. Tarp over and down the sides. The peaked pyramid shape will help shed the water, ice, snow the best. Side note, stacking round bales on their side rather than on end helps shed any rain from getting in the bale.

Feed your outside stored bales first, inside bales last to lessen the chance of mold..

Google image for reference..
Sky Plant Tree Wood Grass
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@BethR rounds that are plastic wrapped individually are hayledge (spelling??not sure).

Put the round bales round side down on pallets. If you tarp it make sure there's air flow or tarps will collect moisture.

People up here store net wrapped bales outside on pallets. As long as round side is down on pallets they'll shed water an be fine.

If you put netted bales out for horses make sure to cut netting off. Horses ingest it it will kill them
I always cut the netting off. I have a huge round bale slow feeder net/bag that thankfully these will fit in. I learned a long time ago regardless what type of hay is being stored it needs air flow.
 

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If you make a pyramid style storage is your tractor capable of lifting up/down those rounds from that height?
You have forks/spear on the loader end of the tractor?

A vapor barrier, then pallets {yes I would double them for added height so heavy snow melt falls and melts without your hay being a sponge} then here comes a enormous tarp to wrap under and over if possible other wise a enormous tarp that is thick and very weather resistant pulled over the top and secured with either concrete blocks or telephone poles so no billowing and allowing precipitation to invade and soak the hay if it gets under the tarp. Old farm/tractor/truck tires work well to to hold the tarp in place too...
If you are able to drive stakes into the ground so no hollows form but the entire tarp is snug will also dissipate weather accumulation away from your hay supply...
Elevating that hay will allow the tarp to be pulled taut and secured that way.
🐴...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you make a pyramid style storage is your tractor capable of lifting up/down those rounds from that height?
You have forks/spear on the loader end of the tractor?

A vapor barrier, then pallets {yes I would double them for added height so heavy snow melt falls and melts without your hay being a sponge} then here comes a enormous tarp to wrap under and over if possible other wise a enormous tarp that is thick and very weather resistant pulled over the top and secured with either concrete blocks or telephone poles so no billowing and allowing precipitation to invade and soak the hay if it gets under the tarp. Old farm/tractor/truck tires work well to to hold the tarp in place too...
If you are able to drive stakes into the ground so no hollows form but the entire tarp is snug will also dissipate weather accumulation away from your hay supply...
Elevating that hay will allow the tarp to be pulled taut and secured that way.
🐴...
Yes we have a big backhoe that has forks so stacking and moving them is no problem. And we have access to as many pallets as we need so we have to double them up we can. Thanks for the advice.
 

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We dont see round bales often here. We did get some years ago, and they sat outside on the ground for several years. We just hadn't needed them yet.
Then we have a really really bad winter. 85 if I remember right. Anyway, the snow was several feet deep, horses were stranded and we had to put hay on a crawler to get to them, cattle were down the country on another section. It was a mess. We had one Cat at home, the other where the cattle were. You had to tow the water truck to get it in, snow was just too deep.
But, those round bales, we found, fit really well in the back of a pickup. All we had to do, once we were able to get in where they were, was back up fast, stop hard, and it would roll out. Then, just unroll it. Those bales were several years old, and still so fresh and green looking inside! We were impressed!
I guess my point is, even if they are on the ground, and look awful, inside they can still be good.
 

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The one year our hay barn was stuffed full. Last 20 bales we're stored outside on pallets round side down. No tarps nothing covering them. Got kinda yucky looking on outside of bales.

Not even an inch into bales we're fresh an green smelled great. They got rained on ,hailed on, snowed on freezing rain and bales we're just fine. So when hay barn runs out of room we just put bales outside on pallets on high ground an done.

There's plenty of people up here don't have a building to store hay. Stored outside on the ground no tarps nothing. Tightly wrapped bales will shed water.
 

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The bales are currently net wrapped and have been stored inside. I don't think individually wrapping them is safe as it could cause moisture/mold. The wrapped bales I've seen are used for cows only in CT.
Around here, round bales are stored outside with nothing covering them.
The net wrap helps keep a lot of the water shed off and better preserving than just string tied.

But round bales need to breathe so you are right, you can't wrap them tight.
Yes, you will have a little waste on the outside layer of the bale, but you will always have a little bit of waste on a round bale.

And technically, you aren't supposed to stack round bales anymore like the picture above. They should be one single layer for best air circulation. (not stacked)
 

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beau159 is correct about the storing of rounds...

I came across this today on Facebook.. copy & pasted the article and where it is from to here...
I thought since the subject is a current one and so many opinions of how to do, it might help to see a reliable source give their insight and opinion too.
I learned from reading it too...

University of Minnesota Equine Extension Program

Although storing hay indoors is ideal, it is not always possible. To protect your hay investment, follow these 5 hay storage tips.
1. When storing outdoors, bales should be covered with a tarp or another durable cover. Tarps and plastic covers can reduced storage losses by half. For round bales stored outdoors, using net wrap or B-wrap reduces storage losses compared to twine.
2. Water and animal proof the storage site. Don't stack hay under a leaky roof as the potential for mold growth increases with each rainfall event. Plug rodent holes and detour wildlife, such as raccoons, from living in hay storage areas during the winter months. Not only can rodents and wildlife make a mess of hay storage areas, feces from some wildlife can cause diseases in horses.
3. Regardless of indoor or outdoor storage, do not stack hay directly on the ground. Instead, stack bales on pallets to allow air flow and help prevent hay from absorbing ground moisture. Hay bales stored on wet surfaces can have as much as 50% spoilage.
4. Use older hay first. However, hay should keep indefinitely if the hay was properly baled and stored. High humidity and seasonal temperature and moisture fluctuations can increase moisture content and reduce storage life. Therefore, we recommend feeding hay within two years of harvest.
5. When storing round bales outdoors, store them end to end. Stacking round bales while stored outdoors usually increases losses as stacking traps moisture and limits drying from the sun and wind. Additionally, buy or bale tightly packed bales, store bales on a well-drained surface, and never store bales under trees or in low lying areas.
For more information on storing hay, visit our website: https://extension.umn.edu/.../selecting-and-storing-horse...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you everyone for the advice. I feel much better about having to store some of the hay outside. On a side note I do vaccinate my two horses for botulism just to be safe since I do feed round bales.
 

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@BethR rounds that are plastic wrapped individually are hayledge (spelling??not sure).

Put the round bales round side down on pallets. If you tarp it make sure there's air flow or tarps will collect moisture.

People up here store net wrapped bales outside on pallets. As long as round side is down on pallets they'll shed water an be fine.

If you put netted bales out for horses make sure to cut netting off. Horses ingest it it will kill them
Oops… my bad!
 

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As mentioned stacking round bales is not ideal for outdoor, untarped, longterm storage.

We've been putting up meadow grass round bales for I don't know how long. Granted pretty dry climate. We had limited space in a stack yard. Some years they can be stored end to end on their sides due to the amount of hay put up. On a good year, God blessed, we need to stack them. Little to no difference in waste on the outside of the bale either way. (No tarps)

I've fed cows and horses with the same hay, some of it the irrigation water ran under it in the stack yard, rotted half the bale out, if falls off in the stack yard when you pick up with the tractor/feeder, burn it out in the spring with the string.
If you feed your animals good enough, if the questionable hay gets fed, they'll leave it. Cows and horses will only eat the bad stuff if they're literally starving.

For the OP who bought "nice horse hay" that was advertised as covered or stored inside, guessing bought at a premium horse hay, stacked on pallets, tarped and fed before her barn stored hay may be the way to go short term as not to get rained on. And not waste the outside layer.
 
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