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Storing hay on concrete

concrete floor hay storage concrete floor barrier

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#1 Coloradocowgirl

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 03:04 AM

We just added a fully enclosed hay storage area onto our barn.  The new area has a concrete floor and we're trying to determine the best barrier to use between the hay and the concrete.  We live in the high desert of southwest Colorado which is a very dry climate for most of the year.  We've been storing our hay in some sheds and part of the barn directly on the OSB plywood floors which are elevated at least 6 inches above the ground.  We've never had any hay we've stored get moldy.

 

We're considering rubber stall mats, perforated rubber wash rack or restaurant mats, hay tarps, pond liner, plywood, and as very last resort pallets...trying to avoid using pallets.

 

We get our hay from the same grower each year.  It's cured when we get it delivered and he tests the moisture level when he bales it.  It's always been high quality, never a bad or moldy bale.

 

Any advice on the best barrier is appreciated, especially from those in the same or similar dry climate.

 

 



#2 Vol

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 04:42 AM

Due to your climate, annual rainfall, purchasing cured hay, I think I would try clear concrete sealer and see how that performs. I think if you put a couple of coats on the concrete with a hand pump sprayer that would work fine. It would be much cheaper and less intrusive. It would be beneficial either way. 

 

Regards, Mike


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#3 mlappin

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 07:01 AM

Vapor barrier under the concrete? If not then try sealing it like Vol suggests.



#4 r82230

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 07:37 AM

First welcome to HT ,cowgirl.

 

On top of the ideas Mike & Marty gave you, are you up to an experiments?  If so, I'd try the OSB in an area AND if you didn't mind how it 'looked' I'd try a coat or two of asphalt sealer on the concrete.  This time of year, applying asphalt sealer might be problematic however.  ;)  

 

In both cases (OSB & asphalt sealer), I'd also consider sprinkling a little hay chaff (or leave some when clean out barn).  You might not need to do this, but I find with higher moisture hay (18-20%), I might find some surface only mold, if on clean asphalt.  The small amount of hay chaff has eliminated that possible scenario.   

 

Pallets are possibly the one of the best options on concrete, but can be a pain somewhere too.

 

You didn't mention how you are stacking (by hand or mechanical).  But if you are using the stall mats, pool liners, tarps, etc. all might work, with some hay chaff spread on them, but I'm really guessing in this case.  :o  If it was me (I mechanical stack, but would do the same if hand stacking), I would seal the concrete with asphalt sealer, similar to what they do with the outside of basement walls in my area.  I'm thinking the right asphalt sealer and tar are close cousins. 

 

My two cents, hope I didn't short change you too much.  ;)

 

Larry

 

PS I might be bias towards asphalt, because that's what I have in my hay shed.  :cool:


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#5 broadriverhay

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 08:58 AM

I feel a layer of loose hay is the best . You are looking for an insulating layer between the concrete and the hay bales. When the concrete gets cool it causes any moisture  in the bale to condense on the bottom of the bale. The loose hay in between the two prevents this . At least that is my opinion anyway. Good luck and let us know what works best for you. 


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#6 Coloradocowgirl

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 01:31 PM

Unfortunately, a vapor barrier wasn't installed under the concrete.  The concrete was poured directly on compacted red clay soil.  The concrete or asphalt sealer seems like it might be worth a try.  It's only 8' x 44' lean-to added onto the back of the barn.  We only need to store about 200 bales per year for 2 horses and a mini.  We won't have much loose hay to put down until next year unless we sacrifice a few bales to open and spread around before we stack them.  We hand stack in a checkerboard fashion.

 

I did read somewhere to stack the bottom layer on their sides as the uneven surface would allow more ventilation.  Is this true?

 

Thank you all



#7 r82230

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 07:57 PM

 

 

I did read somewhere to stack the bottom layer on their sides as the uneven surface would allow more ventilation.  Is this true?

 

Thank you all

 

 

Attached is an old piece from John Deere, section 5 speaks of stacking on edge, cut side up.  I believe that is important, but only during the first few weeks of storage, when hay goes through it's natural 'sweat' period.   FWIW, I leave mine stacked on edge for at least 3 weeks before I sell any, so customer can stack anyway they want. 

 

As far as sacrificing a few bales, you could use some cheaper or old hay, straw, even wood shavings to begin with, then as you're unloading you possibly could be creating some chaff.  The key IMHO is something 'dry' for the moisture that comes up through the concrete to wick to, instead of the hay. 

 

A couple of years ago I had a customer stack some nice 2nd cutting on concrete and he just used straw, which turned out just fine.

 

As far as trials, I put just one bale of hay on some concrete and check it every couple days, within a week I had mold on the bottom surface.  :o  You might think about doing some small trials, if you're going to sacrifice a bale or two.  ;)   Even with a sealer or OSB, chaff is your friend.  Pallets have an air space (usually), so chaff isn't as important.

 

HTH

 

Larry

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#8 somedevildawg

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 11:06 PM

Alright Larry...where’s the link. You’re slippin’....reminding me of “the big guy” :D

#9 r82230

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 11:36 PM

Alright Larry...where’s the link. You’re slippin’....reminding me of “the big guy” :D

 

Fixed it 'Big Dawg', must have been something in that glass of cider tonight.  ;)

 

Or a 'senior moment', again.  :confused:

 

Larry







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