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Author Topic: Proper tarping of hay  (Read 179 times)

Silver City Heritage Farm

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Proper tarping of hay
« on: October 12, 2016, 09:27:28 PM »

My question is:  how do you properly tarp hay to retain best quality?

I live in North Carolina, and we just got walloped by Matthew. I'm looking ahead, planning on how we'll get through the long wet winter the critters, meteorologists and Farmers' Almanacs are predicting. Originally I'd intended to by squares, but because of the hurricane, finances dictate I get a couple of big rounds. (I want ENOUGH just in case another horsey follows me home.  >:D Spanky's getting lonely, ya know?!)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaannnyywho....I put the last of my squares out just before the hurricane. I'd only purchased 10. Put them on pallets with a couple of two-by-fours on top, then put my tarp over it. I only had a small one, so the bottom half of the bottom row was exposed. I noticed within a couple of days that there was some sweating. I put it off to the humidity. However, it never quit. By the time I put the last one down I had dusty mold. I DON'T like mold!

When I boarded at Paula's, she taught me a trick of wrapping the round bales with a cattle panel. I observed that it slowed down consumption and waste. (Side benefit-when you finish the bales you can repurpose the panels into hoop buildings.  8). )

To reduce loss to rot since I'm only feeding one 32 1/2" mini, how do I place my tarp? Should I bother trying to topple it onto a pallet? Is my cheap Walmart tarp just too thin to prevent rain entry?

I want to lay in two rounds to be sure I have hay into next hay season. I'm concerned there either won't be any hay due to hurricane losses from flooded storage or that what hay there is will be horribly overpriced.

Cleanup here has put any building at our place on hold, as far as I know. So I need HELP, HELP HELP forum friends!!

  ;pray Please??  ;pray
Silver City Heritage Farmstead

Specializing in Heritage poultry and vegetables. Miniature horses for the everyday family, until they're ready to move up to the rated shows and programs!


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Re: Proper tarping of hay
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2016, 10:33:00 PM »

OK, I'll start my "show up" right here with Julie friend!!

I've found that here in NC, it doesn't seem to matter - this year everything is "sweating" or constantly "dewy" with the humidity -even when we don't have out & out rain (which we've had an AMAZING amount of this year & not just from Hurricane Matthew!).

They do carry heavier tarps at both Lowes & and TSC.  They are commensurately more $, tho.

Here is the king of tarps website.  They, too, are higher - not sure if it wouldn't be less to find tin for a roof - which you can also attach to the hooped coop panels.

My "better" hay suppliers actually utilized more open barns.  They have roofs on them, but the sides were either completely bare or had wood slats up with spaces (not a solid wall but like a pallet).  Then, when folks came to get horse quality hay - they never pulled from the outside row next to the wall (weathered) or on the bottom sitting on the pallet.  I've always appreciated that -even though when we get the bales they go into the field and get "stored" where they land, LOL.  I found that all the hay, even when on pallets, seems to get damp-ish or moldy if the humidity high or lots of rain (or like this year - BOTH) on the bottom pallet.  In our situation, we've been able to pull apart and throw moldy or ?able hay out in the various pastures and let them pick thru it.

In the late 90s early 2000s, before we moved up to Lillington and now to Cameron, all of our hay suppliers seemed to know which type of seed/hay they had.  A couple even gave me choices and often I'd have 2 or 3 kinds of hay rounds sitting in our pasture(s) - all coastal bermuda - and the ponies would eat what they wanted.  When I moved to Lillington - all of a sudden none of the hay suppliers seemed to know that they got a certain "type" of coastal bermuda.  And when asked ".... well, it's coastal..." scratchin' their heads at my ?s.  Some of the varieties, when I was further south, seemed to have better lasting qualities, though now I'd be hard put to remember which was which, not that it matters when the folk up here don't even "know" what variety seed they've planted and hayed...

Tarping hay here in NC has never worked well for me.  But then, I compare it to the western states where we just didn't have the rain or the humidity, and no, u can't do that.

For your panel wrapped hay, you could put it up on a pallet first.  U could even put a hooped cover over it - keeping the hay itself protected and offering "cover" to the beastie that's eating it, LOL.
Paula Hoffman
LP Painted Ponys
Cameron, NC


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Re: Proper tarping of hay
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2016, 12:08:57 AM »

Glad to read posts from both of you and glad to hear you are both ok after "Matthew"

I dont tarp my hay as I keep it in an old construction site shed. Its only small so I can only fit in around 20 bales. I do have one small leak, so I sit them on pallets so the hay is off the ground.  Next winter however, Ill be using a shipping container in the hope I can bulk buy and slash and bale my own paddocks. Hay prices have been terrible for the last few years here. Drought, floods, you name it , mother nature has sure had "her say" these last few years. There are alot of others doing it tougher than I am across the country.

Slightly off topic........... But I was talking to my mum the other day in regards to feed prices when I was a kid compared to now..........

As my parents footed the feed bill back then ( only wish that was still the case) Mum remembered the following when I was telling her how much I pay these days.

Late 1980s prices Vs Todays

Grass Hay Square Bale   $2 - $18
Oat n Chaff                   $6 - $26
Lucerne/Alfalfa Chaff      $8- $27-$29
Lucerne Square Bale      $9  -  $26-$30

Hence the reason Id love to be able to Slash and bale my own hay :)           
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