Hay Covers: Should You Go with Round or Square Tarps in Summer 2015?

Posted by CanopiesAnd Tarps on May 21st 2015

So, you've just started raising livestock on a modest scale and now youre wondering whether its best to invest in round or squarehay coversfor the summer 2015 harvest. Over the years, people have debated the topic quite extensively and there are fans on both sides of the hay bale. Lets look at the pros and cons of using round hay bales first:

Round Hay Bales

Round hay bales are traditionally tailor-made for mechanical handling and storage in giant, high-clearance buildings. Despite their round size, they are very easy to stack in rows and cover with round hay covers. Oftentimes, just one person can stack and cover the bales without another man or womans assistance.

The downside to using round hay bales is that they have a tendency to spontaneously combust or spoil if the farmer did not take the time to properly dry, prepare and bale the forage materials. Plus, the round bales may be too large for small-scale livestock to take advantage of before spoilage occurs. Thus, a portion of the bales may end up being wasted unless the farmer is able to put the leftover forage to good use in other areas (e.g. line pig pen).

Square Hay Bales

Square hay bales, on the other hand, are ideal for small farms with limited livestock populations. Consequently, they are less apt to spoil if not consumed quickly. Like their round cousins, they also stack well with very little wasted space to contend with. Subsequently, they are often stacked in tiny sheds or other small, square or rectangular buildings.

However, the square bales are typically not well suited for mechanical handling. So, harvesting, storing, relocating and maintaining the square bales will often require more manual labor than the round ones. On top of that, because of the shape of the stacks, putting square hay covers in place tends to be a two to four man operation. This could prove to be problematic for farmers that are unable to hire sufficient amounts of seasonal staff.

Now that you know the crux of the round vs. square hay bale argument, it should be easier to make an investment decision. Just please know that whichever type of hay covers you choose to go with, youll find them on sale at Canopies & Tarps. To learn more about the various ones we have in stock for the summer harvest, pleasecontact us.