Depending on the number of layers of film and the bale’s dry matter content, bales that have been bound and wrapped in film can be stored for a long period. However, the storage conditions must be suitable. Limit the stack height to no more than three bales and prevent the influence of external factors.
The bales should be stored on a flat, well drained and preferably hardened surface. If the site is in the open air, ensure adequate drainage so that rainwater can run off. Rain is not the only threat, nearby streams or other watercourses also pose a potential threat due to the risk of flooding which can damage the bales. For this reason, it’s best to choose a site far enough away from these potential troublemakers.
Extra protection against external factors
Once a suitable surface and site for storage have been chosen, you should take into account a number of external factors that may affect the bales. Ammonia from manure and spraying agents can damage the film. Ensure the bales are not exposed to these substances or minimise the exposure. Dairy farmers with a farm on a flight path should also take into account liquids released from planes that could come into contact with the bales. There are reported cases of farmers who were unpleasantly surprised by bale damage, resulting in unusable forage. The best solution is storage under a roof, but if this is impossible, ensure a cover is placed over the bales.
Space between bales
Preferably stack the bales on the flat side. The flat side of the bale is the strongest and will create a stable stack. Leaving some space between the bales is recommended for easier handling and logistics. This makes it easier for a bale clamp to lift the bales, for example.
To sum it up, the ideal way to store bales:
- use a solid, clean surface;
- choose a site far enough away from watercourses;
- avoid exposure to ammonia from manure or spraying agents;
- place under a roof, or cover with a tarpaulin if necessary;
- do not stack higher than three bales;
- leave a small space between the bales to make handling and logistics easier.