Care of big bales

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by goatkid, Dec 8, 2007.

  1. goatkid

    goatkid New Member

    2,730
    0
    0
    I usually buy small square bales of alfalfa from my hay guy. When I called to order another load, all he has is the big 1,800 lb squares. I know from experience that if they get wet, they can mold pretty far in. I don't have a hay shed to store them in. They are unloaded off a big truck and need to be located near my hay feeder. I want to keep the bottoms dry. Does anyone know if having them placed on pine shavings will help. I plan to tarp the top of the bales. I'd rather have small bales, but this guy delivers and the price is right. He'll bring me some pellets as well.
     
  2. whimmididdle

    whimmididdle Guest

    Piled up wood chips, shavings, sawdust, and such will wick up water out of the ground, so I would think not a good idea........however , you might could place some poly or tarp on top of the chips that would prevent the moisture from traveling up any further. The tarp would still probably cause the hay that is right down against it to mold a little. Maybe you could find some wood pallets to set this big bale on.
     

  3. Chaty

    Chaty New Member

    398
    0
    0
    I am with Whimm on that as I place all my hay that is stored on wood pallets. It gets them way off the ground and works really well and they dont cost a arm and a leg either. I tarp mine that I keep close to the goats also and wood pallets. When the hay is used up I clean the hay out from under the pallets and start again. Also you can stack them higher also like 2 pallets on top of each other.
     
  4. ecftoggs

    ecftoggs New Member

    224
    0
    0
    We purchased some big squares this year for the first time and we used wooden fence posts laid flat to set them on. We used three per bale which kept them up off the ground pretty good. We went through quite a rainy spell and I had more problems were the rain had found hole or gaps in the tarpson the top side.

    Tim
     
  5. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels New Member

    291
    0
    0
    I always have at least three or four big round bales outside near where I feed the goats, at any given time during the winter. And we have very wet winters. I keep them on wooden pallets and tarp them. And I be sure to situate them on high ground rather than a low spot.
    Be aware that you *cannot* leave any area of the tarp folded or hung to where it will collect water. The water caught in areas like that will eventually leak through and mold your hay. So a smooth downward-sloping tarp is the key.
    I get free tarps from our feedstore. They keep the perfect ones for themselves, but set aside any that are even slightly damaged. They gave me permission to look through the damaged pile and take what I want. Some are only missing a nail or a board. Makes no difference for what i want them for.
     
  6. goatkid

    goatkid New Member

    2,730
    0
    0
    I had thought about pallets as well. Here's my concern. I don't just get a couple of tons at a time. I will be getting approximately 10 ton. The bales are loaded on a very large truck that has a tilt bed and held in place with very thick rope. When he gets to my place, he tilts the bed and the hay slides off. These bales will be stacked two high and two wide. Now, with the 90-100 lb bales, I can move some of them and stack on pallets. There is no way I can move these big bales, so the pallets would have to be lined up just right and hopefully wouldn't break with all that weight on them. Also, would he be able to pull the ropes out if they hay is on pallets, without disrupting the stack?
     
  7. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels New Member

    291
    0
    0
    Hmmm, thats more difficult. No neighbors or friends you could hire to move the bales with their tractor??
     
  8. MayLOC

    MayLOC New Member

    352
    0
    0
    We feed a. pelllets to our goats. And we feed cake to the cows during the winter. But we always have hay on hand for when the snow covers all the grass up, then we feed hay also. Last year during the blizzards, we had to get more semi loads then I care to remember. We always deal in big bales for the cows and little bales for the horses.

    Now I am in SE CO, which may be more like your area then a lot of the folks that are in the SE part of the country and dealing with much more humidity and rain then we do.

    I grew up on a ranch that put up hay in both big and small bales.

    It is my experience that a good stack of big bales will fare better over all then a good stack of small. And tarped, it would be good here for quite a while. We get trucks in with the tilt table and reg. ones that we have to unload, but regardless, we stack all of our bales up two to three high. And we don't use pallets here. We don't have a problem with ground moisture much.

    How long are you figuring it will take you to use this hay up?
     
  9. BlissBerry

    BlissBerry Guest

    We've fed the large square bales of alfalfa exclusively for about 8 years now. I wouldn't go back to the small squares. The large squares are wonderful as the quality is much better than small bales (here anyway) and there is little work involved with handling them. The only downside is that you are going to need a Bobcat or tractor to maneuver them. We purchase 24 tons of alfalfa in a semi load each year and stack them in our hay shed 3 high on pallets to keep them off the ground. We bring them into our barn with our Bobcat and feed them like you would a small square. The hay breaks off in 'slabs' and is super easy to feed.

    If you don't have a Bobcat or tractor available you might check into renting one at least to get your hay stacked.

    Sara
     
  10. Good Goats

    Good Goats New Member

    240
    0
    0
    Is there anyway you can have a bunch of pallets lined up and then just have them unload the bales right on the pallets? I have found that pallets are the way to go when it comes to keeping hay dry and off the ground.

    Suriyah