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RE: Hay storage

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According to the US Military, Hay and Straw in bales weighs 20 pcf. MIL_HNDBK-1002/2A. This was written for the old horse cavalry where they used bedding straw and horse feed hay.

The follwing dialogue is for the old small square bales (vintage mid 1960's), not the new giant square and round bales. According to Harold the former farm boy, straw bales are very light at about 6 pcf or 50 pounds per 9 cf bale. Straw is also easy to stack with very little dust. Cattle hay (alfalfa and clover) will generally run around 9 to 10 pcf or 80 to 90 pounds per 9 cf bale. Cattle hay will have the most dust which will get all over you including up your nose. Horse hay (fescue and other grasses) will run around 15 pcf or around 135 pounds per 9 cf bale. That is because it takes a longer time for grass to completely dry than wheat straw or cattle hay. Horse hay will build up your forearms and biceps the quickest, giving you the characteristic farm boy Popeye arms. Hay lofts will get upwards of 120 degrees in the summer and are no place to be. 20 pcf will give you plenty of capacity, and will allow you to put up very wet horse hay. But then you will have a spontaneous combustion problem and burn the whole building down including the cars below.

Harold Sprague

From: "Henry Gallart" <hgallart(--nospam--at)>
Reply-To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Subject: RE: Hay storage
Date: Thu, 10 Jun 2004 16:40:17 -0700

A couple of years ago I had the "Opportunity" to clean out a hayloft
full of bales dating back to the late '60s. The material was clearly not
packed as tightly as the bales I was bucking on a daily basis for my
animals; I would estimate 40-60% less weight. Reduction in moisture
content after 30 years of drying surely accounted for some of it but
after breaking some of the bales and seeing how much material was in
there I believe that more efficient machinery (tighter packing, and
therefore denser bales) is the primary contributor. I do know this-good
alfalfa hay always weighs 100 lb/bale if you're selling, and 70 lb/bale
if you're buying.

Based on my experience I would go with the heavier loads that have been
quoted in previous emails.

Shaun Dustin, PE

SidePlate Systems, Inc

-----Original Message-----
From: Roger Davis [mailto:rdavis(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, June 09, 2004 10:27 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Hay storage

Farm Building Design by Loren W. Neubauer and Harry B. Walker, 1961
edition contains the following information:

Loose hay weighs 4 pcf, chopped hay weighs 12 pcf and baled hay weighs
15 pcf.  The load table indicates that the weight of loose and chopped
hay varies with depth; but does not provide any additional guidance.

Roger C. Davis


SDS Architects, Inc.

205 N. Dewey Street

Eau Claire, WI 54703

(715) 832-1605
-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Pemberton [mailto:markpemberton(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, June 09, 2004 10:51 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Hay storage

Thanks for all the slab buckling responses.  Now I have two much easier
questions regarding barn loading;  1) Is a barn considered an
agriculture building if the owner wants a two car garage as part of the
main level?  2) What storage loading should be used for the hay lofts?
(what's the density of hay anyway?)  Thanks again.

Mark Pemberton, S.E.

Pemberton Engineering

Davis, CA

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