We have covered the subject of hay tarps in a few different ways, from cost savings in fed hay to proper care and storage. But we have never addressed one of the most important and obvious considerations — size.
When buying a tarp, how do you decide what size is needed? Have you ever asked if how the tarp you want to purchase should properly fit a stack of hay? The answers could save you money. If the tarp is too big, you have spent more than necessary right out of the gate. Plus, you won’t be able to tie it down properly, which opens the door for unnecessary and unwarranted damage, and money lost on both accounts. If the tarp is too small, it won’t provide the protection needed, and you’ll wind up losing hay, and again, money.
The following chart shows what width of tarp you need, depending on bale size and stacking method. Simply find your bale size on the chart, then follow the column that matches your stacking method. Take note that you need to choose according to the actual bale diameter, not what you think it is or what your baler instructions say. You need to actually measure a bale. If your baler is supposed to roll a 5½-foot bale, you may find it’s actually a 5-foot bale.
While tarp widths vary, the length is usually a standard 48 or 52 feet. Adjust the lengths of your stacks to allow for at least four feet of overhang to protect each end of your stack (two feet on each end). The tarp should only reach about halfway to the bottom bale on the side of your stack, not all the way to the ground. This allows room for properly securing the tarp without being loose. It’s best to use a good weather-resistant rope to secure the tarp. The Co-op offers a tie-down kit with everything you need for this application [#15424]. We also offer a good selection of premium tarps from Inland Tarp & Liner as well as an import line from Tytan Industries.
Taking the time to measure your bales before you choose a tarp will give you the most benefit and value. When it comes to hay tarps, one size does not fit all. For more information, visit your local Stockdale’s.