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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got another question for the experts out there. Back round information: NE Ohio, small square bales broken up to feed horses inside their stalls. Over the years no matter what we have tried to keep our hay healthy during the winter and spring. We have tried visquine under the bottom row, pallets and visquine under the bottom row, pallets only under the bottom row, pallets and a tarp under the bottom row, nothing has worked. The bottom layer and at times at least some of the second layer also goes bad. I have read on this forum that leaving hay on the wagon is a good idea because of the fact that air can get under the hay to keep it from becoming dusty (mold). Taking this idea a bit further I was thinking of building a platform in my barn to store the hay on. Here are my questions: is a platform a good idea? (mine would be 12' by 27') How high off the barn floor should the platform be? 1-2 or 3 feet? How heavy would the cross members need to be? (the supporting posts would be 4x4 popular posts) Does the platform surface need to have space between the boards or can plywood be used? I really cannot store my hay on my wagons as I store 1000+ bales and I only have three wagons. Comments and ideas would be most welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We try to go three days between cutting with a conditioner and baling. Do not know the moisture content. The floor of the barn is compacted dirt. In a heavy rain we at times get a trickle of water in the barn.
 

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They say you’re a man of vision....
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How far off the ground are your bales? I agree with 8350hitech that the moisture is wicking up more than you think. Secondly, spend the cash and buy a Delmhorst moisture tester. $350 doesn't buy much hay anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The bales are about 3" off the ground. What we have resorted to is writing off the entire bottom layer and disposing of them when the new hay comes in. Got to be a way to save the bottom layer. I will look into the moisture tested. Thanks.
 

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Why not leave the junk layer there? No point hauling out a junk layer just to put in a good layer that your going to haul out as junk next year. You could also try putting a layer of loose hay or chaff between the skids and first layer.
I like the idea of leaving a sacrifice layer, especially as the floor sounds too wet to me. I don't like the idea of chaff on the skids, though. It will sift down into the intended air gap and ruin any potential ability to air dry the excess moisture.
 

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Hay Master
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I've stored hay on a platform made of 2x4's on edge with plywood over clay dirt and never lost a single bale. Losing the first two layers suggests that something else is going on.

My first guess would be that, while you're not get water into the barn, you may have a drainage problem outside the barn that is causing high ground moisture. I put a "trough" around my barns to help suck water away from the edges. I also put 2' of 3/4 clear around my hay barn (a tarp building) to make sure that all water was flowing away.

Hope this helps.

Ralph
 

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I think the problem with putting good hay on top of bad is like throwing a bad apple into a barrel of good...
Depends how bad. If it's just musty, I wouldn't worry. If worse than that, I would.

If the sacrifice layer has a chance to air out some before new hay is put on top, that would help it tremendously.
 

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I like the idea of leaving a sacrifice layer, especially as the floor sounds too wet to me. I don't like the idea of chaff on the skids, though. It will sift down into the intended air gap and ruin any potential ability to air dry the excess moisture.
I meant with a tarp or plastic between the skid and chaff just forgot to put it in there lol.
 

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I've stacked on soaking wet dirt in open front run down shed, and we have lots of rainfall. We put down tarps then the pallets then old dry broken bales. Stacked on that. Only lost bales under the sheets of tin with nail holes.

2 layers bad on bottom means too much moisture coming up from ground. Not sure what visquine is but plastic sheet of good thickness with wide overlap is needed. The pallets need to be aligned so the channels can move air under the stack. They need to have a gap at the ends so the air can move through. The broken bales are only there like a desiccant pack in a shipping box to sop up any short peaks in moisture. It can't fix continuous leaks or standing water.

If your hay is wet going in, it will dust where it touches the pallet boards even in the driest barn.

We leave a layer in our dairy barn as the moisture coming up from the animals below ruins a layer of hay. I used to be picky about cleaning it out but like the posts above say its a waste.
 

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How well sealed up is the building? Maybe need some vents? If moisture is coming up out of ground and building is well sealed nowhere for the extra vapour to go. Maybe need to raid an old hog barn with all the slatted flooring?
 

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From a guy that's lived on a clay farm his entire life and has been installing drain tile almost as long, sounds to me like you have more moisture in your barn that you think.

We installed a tile under each hoop building before erection, round bales are stacked on pallets with no plastic. Only way you can tell the bottom bales are bottom bales is you can see a pallet pattern on the bales but no mold or dust.

Removed all the top soil as well then replaced with more railroad rock than it had for soil. Even after the wet fall we had and cold winter, I haven't had a single pallet froze down yet.
 

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I agree, I would start with some drain tile & a good layer of stone.

Is there much air flow through the rest of the barn?

If you really want to do a platform, it will work also. A buddy of mine boards horses & ended up doing that. His is about 12-16" above the floor. I thin he just used 2x10's or 2x12's & laid in on a grid of 4x6's. It just sits on the ground & isn't anchored at all.
 
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