Storing forage

  • Feeding quality forage, free from dust, mould and contamination, plays a big part in keeping your horse in peak condition. Correct storage is vital to prevent nutrient levels from falling.

    Hay and haylage should be stored in a dry, well-ventilated environment. Ideally, keep your hay on pallets to prevent any damp or vermin and store it downwind of your stables to help prevent both spores and fire spreading.

    When a new delivery of hay arrives, stack the oldest bales at the front so that they are used up first and dispose at once of any mouldy bales you find to prevent contamination.

    Haylage and silage can be stored outside, but, if a bag becomes pierced or broken, use the contents immediately so it does not contaminate the other bales.

    Storage do’s and don’ts

  • Hay is best stored on pallets at ground level to allow air to circulate and stop damp being absorbed into it
  • Store in a cool, dry area, preferably covered on three sides
  • Allow ventilation around the stack and do not pile too high, so that air can move aroundthe top and sides
  • Do not include damp bales or any that feel hot within the stack, as this could result in spontaneous combustion
  • If storing hay on a commercial yard, be aware of Health & Safety requirements that necessitate warning signs not to climb the stack
  • If the hay is dusty, consider using a dust mask when stacking
  • Check regularly to ensure the stack is not becoming hot
  • Keep storage site clean and tidy and clear away any loose hay
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