Bale Stacking, Etc.


   It’s interesting to see how many different ways and places farmers can stack big round bales of hay and haylage. Back when small rectangular bales were only barn-stored it was a fairly simple job to stack inside, either flat or on edge.
   Today, inside storage is still the preferred method in order to reduce waste and improve palatability of the forage. However, most of you do not have enough space to store all of your hay under roof.
   I saw the results of a Montana State University study on best storage method of outside net-wrapped bales. The results from Montana should be applicable in southwest Missouri. The single bale in a long snake row was the most consistent for retaining quality in the bales. Stacking in a 2-1 fashion was next and their poorest system was a mushroom stack which had the bottom bale on end and the top one was flat on top.
   The snake method is used a lot in this area. We also have bale yards. We suggest putting the bales tightly end-to-end and leave space between the rows so the sides do not touch as that increases spoilage. Ideally, the rows are oriented north and south.
   Research shows the biggest waste comes from the bottom of the bale if you do not have a well-drained area for the bale yard. Preparing a good surface either with rock, gravel, slope, tires, railroad ties, etc. will pay off.
   One of my biggest concerns is the hay that farmers waste because they store big bales under trees. DON’T DO THAT!!! ∆
   ELDON COLE: Extension Livestock Specialist, University of Missouri
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