If you have been harvesting your straw in fantastic dry conditions, and been able to bail it wit the minimum of moisture. Then the last thing you want is for your bails to get wet when stored. If you are not fortunate to have enough permanent barn storage then a Straw Stack Cover Sheet provides an ideal solution to keep your bails in a good condition and importantly provide protection against the elements.
In the UK, straw bales are also used for various purposes such as animal bedding, insulation, and as a building material in eco-homes. When straw bales get wet, the main issue is that they can start to decompose and rot, which can affect their structural integrity and cause them to lose their insulating properties.
In animal bedding, wet straw bales can create an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria, which can cause infections in the animals. Wet straw bales used as insulation can also lead to dampness and mold, which can have negative health effects on occupants.
Additionally, wet straw bales can be more susceptible to fire, which can be a serious safety hazard. When straw bales are dry, they are naturally flame-resistant due to their low density and lack of oxygen. However, when they get wet, they become more compact and can hold more oxygen, making them more flammable.
Therefore, it is important to keep straw bales dry and well-ventilated to prevent these issues from occurring. Proper storage and maintenance can help to prolong the life and effectiveness of straw bales in various applications.
The extreme weather conditions (extreme levels of rainfall in short time periods, gales and winds reaching record speeds) experienced throughout the United Kingdom have conspired to raise straw prices. With straw now being recognised as a valuable commodity its worth protecting whether the straw is for your own use or for sale.
If straw is uncovered and becomes damp it becomes unappetising as feed (which means that you are likely to get waste) and less absorbent as bedding (which means that you will have to use more straw.
Straw Cover Sheet – Avoid Danger
Most importantly uncovered straw bales can become a source of mould . You can quickly and easily protect your straw stacks cost effectively using a straw stack sheet when barn storage is not an option. Purchasing a specially designed straw stack cover sheet will prevent the wind lifting the plastic sheet. Gravel bags or sand bags fixed with clips should be fixed every metre to anchor sheets and covers for a long term stable storage solution.
Straw Stack Cover Sheet Case Studies
Case Study 1: Covering the straw with a straw stack cover sheet prevented the outside fifteen to eighteen centimetres of the straw bales being ruined. The straw coming out from under the cover was excellent feed quality. With the current value of straw covering with a straw cover sheet has definitely proved financially beneficial.
Case Study 2: In the past it has taken many hours to cover the stacked hay with loose tarapaulin which was was heavy and awkward to deal with. Using a bespoke stack cover sheet is not only easier but provides a better covering.
Straw Stack Cover Sheet Summary
The cost to UK agriculture of straw bales getting wet when harvested and stored can be significant. Wet straw bales can lead to a range of problems for farmers, including:
- Reduced quality: Wet straw bales can lose their nutritional value and become less palatable to animals, which can reduce their market value.
- Increased risk of disease: Wet straw bales can provide a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, which can cause diseases in animals and reduce yields.
- Increased risk of fire: Wet straw bales are more likely to catch fire due to their increased density and oxygen content, which can lead to loss of property and livestock.
- Increased storage costs: Farmers may need to invest in additional storage facilities or take extra measures to keep straw bales dry, which can increase their overall costs.
- Loss of income: If wet straw bales are unusable, farmers may need to dispose of them, resulting in a loss of income.
While the exact cost of wet straw bales to UK agriculture is difficult to estimate, it is clear that it can have a significant impact on farmers’ bottom lines. Therefore, it is important for farmers to take steps to minimize the risk of wet straw bales, such as harvesting and storing them in dry conditions and taking precautions to prevent moisture build up.
- A well maintained straw stack cover sheet tarpaulin should achieve an average life of approximately 5 years ( depending on how its fitted and weather conditions)
- When fitted and stored correctly you could expect to see a quality tarpaulin lasting 7-8 years
- The simple rule of thumb is that a tight tarp is a happy tarp that and will stay in place even in severe wind
- With quality tensioning systems apply a 250 -300 pound pressure, two persons can pull can apply 400 pound pressure, and as long as you have a quality system you will tighten without damaging
- Once the tarpaulin is fitted its recommended that you tighten every few days the first 10-14 days as the stack settles, then tighten regularly every 2-3 weeks. Additionally recheck and tighten before and after forecast heavy winds
- Whatever the grade of material any tarpaulin that is not tight will damage in the wind
- High performance quality tarpaulins are easier to maintain and keep tight
It pays to protect your bales, round or square, hay or straw
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