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Wet Hay

My hay guy delivered a year’s worth of hay to us today, while we were at work.
The girl who helps us just shot me a text, after hay was unloaded, stacked, and hay guy had left, saying that the hay is wet. What???

I am heading to the farm in a bit to look at it, but what are my opinions here? It’s 600 small squares, so a significant amount. I’m truly shocked, he has brought several loads before of beautiful quality horse hay, which is why I pulled the trigger on a years worth.

What does “wet” mean?

She said wet enough that she thinks it will mold, which is why she texted. She is pretty green, but I think that’s a red flag.

I would check it yourself. “wet” is all relative. It WOULD be worth grabbing a random 5 bales or so, opening them, taking a sample from the middle of the middle, and sending it to www.equi-analytical.com to see what’s what. They will denote the dry matter/moisture content, which gives you proof.

I mean, if you feel them and you go “holy crap these small bales feel like they weigh 80lb” or “yeah, that’s REALLY not dry”, then I’d call the guy and say this isn’t acceptable

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The worse problem is that it might ignite in your barn. Find a hay testing probe, stick it into a LOT of the bales, and if they read high humidity, do NOT put this hay in your barn. Good luck.


It’s a crazy amount of work, but if you have space, unstack, leave space between bales & let it sit. Off the ground is best - on pallets, or 2X4s.
Check for heat, depending on how wet, it could be safe to restack in a week - depending on your weather.
I’d also ask hayguy why he left it wet & if his explanation isn’t satisfsctory, tell him he has to take it back.
Too dangerous to risk a fire.

I had similar happen with a wagonload of 200.
Left for me to unload & stack.
Added frustration as wagon was left in my aisle :rage:
Outer bales were dry, but middle were alarmingly wet.
Pushed wagon (with help) into my indoor, left wettest bales in a single layer along the farthest wall from the (attached) barn, cut the worst ones open.
Told hayguy his wagon would stay for a week or until I felt safe to put hay in my barn & he could take back any that didn’t dry or got moldy.
Lost half a dozen “iffy” bales & got credit for those.
Then he raised his price by 25¢ per bale, after delivery & my stacking the good hay.
That was the last time I used him.
Guy who helped me push the wagon was a neighbor & has been my hayguy since.

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every year when I lived in Kentucky there were barns burned to the ground after improperly cured hay was stacked in


You can also salt wet bales…

Hay is outwardly dry. Bales don’t seem unusually heavy for pure alfalfa. I stuck my hand in the middle of a couple and while it feels cold, it doesn’t feel wet.
The girl did say our nosey neighbor came by and told her this hay was going to burn our barn down. I guess I am off to find a moisture meter.


From perusing the hay forums - the hay growers there that are worried about hay baled too green - swear by checking the temperature of the inside of the hay bales and not just the moisture level. I am not sure what sort of thermometer that you should use for this. If the temperature of the inside of the bales is greater than the ambient temperature and continues to rise then you are in for trouble. For 600 bales I sure as hell would not want to have to move them around and I would want them out of my barn pronto.

If they are alfalfa they may be really green colored just baled and maybe that is why she thinks they are “wet”. I would ask her how she thinks they are wet. But I would sure monitor them closely. Hay can heat up in a matter of hours or in a week or two, depending on how hot it is.


Round Bale Temperature. | Hay & Forage Forum (haytalk.com)

This is round bales but you can get the basic info here.

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We tested close to 40 bales tonight. All were low moisture and a similar temp to the ambient temp outside.
I called my hay guy and he told me to test a bunch everyday. If any heat up he’ll come grab all 600.


I think how heavy and green pure alfalfa is surprised her, and combined with the neighbor telling her that stacking flat would burn the barn down, she got nervous. I would rather her speak up than not though!


This is a strict See Something Say Something!
& Better Safe than :fire:

Barn I boarded at had their hay barn - metal pole bldg - burn to the ground in less time than it took the nearby FD to get there.
Melted the metal, there was nothing left & we were picking up nails/fasteners for months after.
Trainer got 3rd degree burns on both arms saving the 3 recently imported horses kept in quarantine in that bldg.
Later, barn help admitted they had “smelled something funny” in the hay barn for several days before it combusted.

Scariest call I ever got was trainer, calling me at work.
First Words: “Your horses are okay” :astonished:
Then: "We had a fire":scream:


That’s totally something I would have done before I had enough experience, the anxiety of not saying something and something bad then happening would drive me to make a fool of myself if necessary :laughing:

Glad they’re all good!


It might have been because it was so green and nosy neighbor has never been blessed to have such nice hay? If dry outside and no heat inside the bale I think you are fine. A moisture tester is always a good idea and check it again every few days for a bit ( peace of mind).

I had a bad ton load delivered to my parents carport as a teen and as soon as I caught it heating up, we dumped it all down the river bank. I somehow already knew about spontaneous combustion. I would have been the one to call the alarm for sure