In order to ensure that you do not lose any big bales to spontaneous combustion this year, take the following precautions:
1. Make sure the material is well cured before baling – 25 percent moisture or less.
2. If bales are stored indoors, make sure there is good ventilation and that there are no roof leaks or other means by which the bales could get wet.
3. If stored outside, make sure the site is well drained – stacking the bales on gravel is preferred.
4. Stack the bales so there is plenty of ventilation, particularly around the ends of the bales.
5. When baling, make sure that the outside of the bale is as dense as possible. This will help keep rain out. You may want to consider wrapping or covering the bales. An open-sided pole building is ideal for big bale storage.
6. Finally, probe the bales often to check the temperature. If the temperature is over 140 to 150 degrees, you will need to start moving them and pulling them apart to cool them down. If they reach 190 degrees, you should call the fire department to put water on them.
Stockdale’s carries all types of hay spears and fork-type hay movers for three-point hitch and front-end loader applications, making quick work of moving round bales.