You’ve spent a lot of time and money to plant, grow, cut, dry, rake, and bale your hay crop. So now is the time to follow a few basic tips to store large round bales so you can maximize hay quality at feed time.
In this video, we’ll be storing large round bales using a John Deere 6130M Utility Tractor (US CA), a 620R Loader (US CA), a Frontier AB12G Loader Mount Bale Spear (US CA), and a Frontier HS2001 3-Point Bale Spear (US CA).
Tip #1 – Make well-shaped bales
They say every successful project starts with the first step. And step number one toward successful bale storage is to start with well-shaped, dense bales. A bale with a dense surface will shed rain water more effectively, helping protect the inside of the bale.
Tip #2 – Storing bales outdoors
For most operations, storing a lot of large round bales indoors just isn’t practical. That’s why most producers store their large round bales outdoors in an open, well-drained, sunny area with good access to the livestock feeding area. Exposing the bales to sunlight and wind helps with water evaporation, which helps maintain their nutrition quality. That means never storing bales in the shade under trees where access to sunlight and wind is lower, and exposure to moisture is higher.
Tip #3 – Stacking bales together
Store large round bales in long rows stacked tightly, end-to-end. When you stack bales in this way, it helps them maintain their shape, which helps limit their overall contact with the ground. This also helps prevent rot in your bales by keeping moisture from penetrating the ends. Also, leave at least 3 feet of space between rows to allow exposure to sunlight, and air to circulate.
Many studies have been done on which direction your rows should run – north-south or east-west. Though a north-south orientation tends to get the nod, it’s clear the direction of the rows isn’t nearly as important as the storage area being out in the open, well-drained, and sunny.
Believe it or not, the outermost 4-inches of a 6-foot round bale account for about 25% of the bale’s total volume. So bale ‘em right and store ‘em tight and you’ll go a long ways toward keeping their nutrition value up and storage losses down.
Don’t forget, always read the Operator’s Manual before storing or operating any piece of equipment, and follow all operating and safety instructions
And remember, if you’re looking for equipment that’s built to get the job done season after season, year after year, you’ll find it – and all kinds of advice on how to use it – every day at your John Deere dealer.