Q: We protect our hay by keeping it under a plastic cover. A short time after receiving my last delivery of hay, I noticed lots of small brown bugs crawling all over the plastic. After about a month they disappeared.
I don’t know what these bugs were and would like some advice on storing hay.
Janet Rogers, Devon
A: It’s very difficult to say what these insects are without seeing them. They may well have been drawn up from the ground to the warmth from the plastic or they may have hatched from eggs inside the hay.
It would be wise to collect a sample and send it to ADAS (Agricultural Developmental AdvisoryService) who will test it for you and identify the bugs. You can contact ADAS on: (tel: 01902) 754 190.
It is unlikely the insects will damage your hay, but it is possible the plastic will. If there is any dampness the plastic will draw this out and upwards making the hay damp. Your hay may start to overheat and go mouldy.
The hay should be stacked on pallets so it is off the ground. This is going to allow air to circulate.
Hay is the main part of your horse’s diet in the winter and for many horses all year round, so it is preferable for you to buy the best quality you can afford and store it in the best possible environment so it doesn’t deteriorate.
If you do not have good storage facilities you could ask a local farmer to keep it in a barn and then you could go and collect it as and when you need it.