If you are looking at building a new hay shed, you may be wondering what the best sheds for hay storage are.
In essence, the best hay sheds must achieve the lowest possible cost of storage per bale. However, it’s not as simple as purchasing the cheapest shed option available on the market because you also need to consider the quality, longevity, and other shed features.
So what makes a good hay shed? The answer will depend on several factors, including bale sizes, bay configuration, bird-proofing, bay access, and shed height.
Bale sizes vs bay configuration
The most important consideration for your hay shed is the bay size and number of bales you can store effectively. The key is to work out how many bales you need to fit into the shed and then configure the bay widths, depth, and height of the shed. This way, you’ll significantly reduce wasted space around the poles and, in turn, lower the cost of storage per bale.
For example, a common bale size in New Zealand is 1.0m deep by 2.4m long by 1.0m high. Even if you had a 6.0m wide bay, you would only be able to store 2 bales end on end. This means the remaining 1.2m of bay width is wasted space and provides no value.
If you can increase the bay width to 7.7m, you would be able to fit 3 bales end on end, leaving just enough space for the poles on either side. This ensures every square metre is used, which increases the efficiency of the shed.
If a bay is 6.0m wide, 12.0m deep, and 5.5m high, it can fit approximately 110 bales. If you increased the bay width to 7.7m while keeping the depth and height the same, you could fit approximately 165 bales, with minimal square meters added to the shed.
Another characteristic of a good hay shed is its ability to stop birds from nesting in the roof space. Hay sheds are naturally a good nesting spot for birds and any available nesting spot will be quickly occupied.
While this may not matter much for the hay, it will quickly be a major issue if you store any equipment or implements in the shed.
Fortunately, you can limit the number of bird perches in your hay shed with clever structural design. At Alpine Buildings, our Zero-Bird-Perch® rafters have been designed with this in mind.
Bay access is also an important factor to think about so think about how your hay-loading equipment will access the shed and manoeuvre around the area. For example, if you are loading the shed with a telehandler or similar equipment, you will require ample vehicle access.
If you are loading the shed with narrow bays, it can be very easy to hit a pole, which can cause significant damage to both the shed and your telehandler. This is particularly difficult in the dark. The wider the bay, the more room you have to manoeuvre and the lower the risk of human error.
Height is an important factor when designing a hay shed and it is good practice to give yourself plenty of internal clearance. If your bales are stacked to a height of 5.0m, make sure you allow enough headroom. It can be difficult to load bales at height, especially in the dark.
Mistakes are easy to make when loading and unloading bales so you’ll need to make plenty of provisions in your design. The last thing you want to do is hit the purlins in the roof and cause damage to the shed.
While height can expose some bales to wind-driven rain, an overhang or canvas curtain can be added to minimise rain damage to the bales.
The Alpine Buildings system
Here at Alpine, we use our own UltraBay steel purlin design to increase the bay width, increase the storage capacity and reduce the cost of storage per bale. This is a bird-proof steel purlin that can achieve a bay width of up to 10.0m, providing ample access into the shed.
For more information on our hay sheds range, download the Hay Sheds Brochure.