10 Tips for Round Bale Storage

Storing round bales outside, unprotected can result in significant storage losses. Depending on bale quality, storage conditions, and length of time in storage, dry matter losses can reach 50 percent.

Minimize your round bale hay storage losses by following these tips:
  1. Bales should be well-shaped and as dense as possible – the tighter the outer layer, the lower the losses.
  2. Use bales stored outside without protection by early spring, before air temperature, humidity, and precipitation increase significantly. 
  3. Select a storage site that is not shaded, is open to breezes, and is well-drained.
  4. Keep bales off the ground.
  5. Store bales, buffed end-to-end, in rows at least three feet apart.
  6. Orient bales in a north/south direction.
  7. Consider covering bales with reinforced plastic as it withstands punctures & tears. With proper care, it can last up to three years.
  8. Weight covers along the edges and ends, but do not tie covers down tight.
  9. If bales are stacked in under-roof storage, interior height clearance must be at least two feet higher than the stack height.
  10. New storage buildings should be constructed on a well-drained site near the feeding area. 

Source: “Round bale hay storage” article by Raymond L. Huhnke. Progressive Forage Grower website. October 17, 2011.

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