More from: hay storage

A Few Fall Reminders for Hay Tarps

It is that time of year again when growers are starting to think about winter hay storage. Every year, there is that nagging question of whether to go with tarps or store excess hay in the barn. That is considering a grower even has a barn to work with. Those who do not are forced to rely on hay tarps or temporary storage structures.

The debate over whether to use tarps or not comes largely from the less gleeful stories we hear every spring about crop loss resulting from tarp failure. The first thing to understand is that no storage solution is perfect. The second thing to note is that much of the effectiveness of hay tarps lies in how they are deployed. With that in mind, below are a few fall reminders for those growers intending to tarp their hay this winter.

1. Pay Attention to How You Stack

One of the biggest problems growers face is snow and ice. When a stack is not constructed properly, it allows certain portions of the hay tarp to lay flat and, as a result, collect precipitation. Get enough snow and ice built up and it could be nearly impossible to remove a tarp when hay is needed in early spring. The best way to avoid this problem is to pay attention to how you stack.

Hay stacking should really be done in a-frame or pyramid shape if you are planning to use tarps. Giving the stack a sharp enough incline will make it easier for precipitation to roll off. You still may have to go out to sweep your stacks after an especially persistent snowfall, but clearing an inclined stack is a lot easier than clearing a flat stack. It is a lot safer too.

2. Check Your Tie Downs

Any experienced tarp user will tell you that the key to avoiding most problems is keeping hay tarps tight and secure. Doing so requires that tie downs be checked on a regular basis. Remember that even the slightest bit of wind underneath a tarp can cause big problems in both the short and long terms. Checking once a week should be sufficient. Tie downs should definitely be checked immediately after storms to assess the extent of wind damage.

3. Utilize PVC Pipe

Another common complaint among hay growers is that the grommets built into their tarps fail in severe weather. We suggest a tarp with webbing loops or a built-in sleeve capable of accommodating PVC pipe. Securing tie-downs with PVC pipe results in a much stronger system than tying down with grommets alone. You can still use the grommets along with bungee straps for a little extra strength.

4. Inspect Tarps during the Fall

Last but not least is the reminder to check all your hay tarps in the fall. Do not wait until you start stacking hay to find out that one or more of your tarps is ripped or torn. Now is the time to address any damage while you’re not under pressure to get that hay cut and stacked.

Minor damage can be repaired with one of our tarp repair kits. Major damage, like torn seams for example, may require a more heavy-duty solution. You can obviously browse our selection of farming supplies should any of your tarps need complete replacement.

Fall is harvest time in North America. In just a few months, the snow will be flying and the temperatures falling. If you plan to store hay this winter, make sure you are fully prepared with everything you need. Mytee Products carries high-quality hay tarps, spiral anchor pins, and temporary storage structures.


How to Build a Quick Hay Storage System

There are lots of different ways to store hay using tarps. In this post, we will outline the steps for building a quick and dirty hay storage system that will keep your hay safe and dry without the need for a permanent structure like a pole barn or garage.

Bear in mind that this description is just a general guide. You may want to modify what you read here to better suit your circumstances. Also remember your main goal: to protect hay from the elements so as to reduce spoilage as much as possible. Unprotected hay can suffer spoilage rates of up to 20%, making for significant losses in an exceptionally bad season.

To build your quick and dirty hay storage system, you will need hay tarps, rope, and PVC piping. Spiral anchor pins are optional if you would rather stake down the tarp rather than running rope under the bales of hay.

One last thing before we get to the build: depending on how you build your system the hay storage system designed here work best with round bales and square bales stacked in a pyramid. Use your own discretion when building your system.

Step-By-Step Process

The first step is to measure out the storage space. A 28-foot tarp should be good for 70-75 bales of hay stacked in a pyramid configuration. You can place the first layer directly on the ground or lay down some gravel first, it’s up to you. Most farmers just go straight to the ground.

Once your storage space has been measured out, lay ropes across the space at 3 foot intervals. You will eventually be pulling these ropes up and using them to secure your tarp, so leave some excess. Now you are ready to begin stacking your hay right on top of the rope.

When stacking is complete, you are going to lay PVC pipe across the top of the stack to prevent the tarp from directly contacting the hay. This is important for allowing air flow to move over the top of the stack. If you don’t do this, you could get moisture build up that could promote mold or mildew growth in the top few inches of the pyramid.

Next, stretch your tarp out on the ground. With someone to help you, you can now lift the outside edge and pull the tarp up and over the entire stack. Do your best to center the tarp before tying it down. Also, do not worry too much if the tarp seems a bit too small. It’s better to have less tarp to work with than too much.

Next, string the ropes through grommets in the tarp and tie everything off. Your ropes should have enough tension to keep the tarp taught. The lower edge of the tarp should be positioned just slightly lower than the widest point of the stack in order to allow rain to run off.

Lastly, insert PVC pipe where the tarp makes contact with the first layer of hay. The tarp should already have enough tension to hold the pipe in place. The idea here is to replicate what you did at the top of the stack: keeping the tarp from making direct contact with the hay.

After Installation

If you did everything correctly, you should have a complete stack of hay properly covered and secured against the elements. After installation though, it is important to check the tension of the ropes every week or so. Your haystack will settle somewhat, so you will need to tighten the ropes throughout the storage season.

Save


Hay Storage: 3 Reasons to Choose a Temporary Storage Building

The arrival of spring has farmers who grow hay already starting to think about the first cutting of the season. They are also thinking about hay storage at the end of the year, especially if what was left over from last season went bad. It turns out that a farmer’s choice of storage partially determines whether he/she will get full value for the crop throughout the late autumn and winter.

 

doublecarport

Some growers choose to leave their hay completely unprotected. This is an option if you sell quickly enough not to have bales lying around for too long. However, when storage is needed, growers have several options:

•Permanent structures like barns and garages
•Temporary storage buildings
•Covering bales in large tarps.

Mytee Products sells a number of different models of temporary, freestanding buildings. We believe this is the best option unless you have a permanent structure like a barn or garage. Temporary buildings made of PE fabric and galvanized steel framing offer many advantages over storing hay under tarps.

Here are three reasons for choosing a temporary storage building:

Temporary Buildings are Flexible

You may purchase a temporary storage building with the intent of using it to store hay. That’s great. But you will likely not have a full crop stored throughout the year. Storage will be at a maximum just after cutting, but what you have in store will gradually diminish as hay is sold or used on your farm. The good news is that you can use the empty space for other things.

Temporary buildings are incredibly flexible. They can be used for storing a variety of things from hay to farming equipment. What’s more, they can be moved around your property as you see fit. You can erect your building where ever it makes the most sense for whatever purpose you need it.

Temporary Buildings Are Better for Airflow

It is important that stored hay is allowed to breathe. If a stack of hay is not exposed to good airflow, moisture can build up very quickly, leading to combustion or mold growth. Both can easily devastate a crop with little effort.

When you use tarps to cover your hay, airflow is always a concern. It is not a concern with a temporary storage building. You can stack your hay in such a way as to leave plenty of room on the sides and top to allow for the free movement of air.

Temporary Buildings Are Inexpensive

Let us say you have stored your hay under tarps in the past with unfavorable results. Now you are trying to decide whether to purchase a temporary storage building or erect a pole barn. Guess which option will cost the least?

One of the primary advantages of temporary storage buildings is their cost. They are relatively inexpensive when compared to permanent structures. Unless you absolutely know for sure that a barn or garage will pay for itself in the years after construction, it might be better to invest in a temporary storage building instead.

Another thing to consider is the cost of insurance. Constructing a new barn or garage is going to add to your property insurance – perhaps significantly depending on the size of the structure. There are no such insurance increases with temporary storage buildings. A temporary storage building would be covered under your current homeowner’s insurance.

Another haying season is now upon us. If you are looking for a new way to store your hay this season, we recommend a new temporary storage building from MyTee Products.