Skip to main content

Logo for N.C. Cooperative Extension N.C. Cooperative Extension Homepage

Avoiding Hay Fires

en Español

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.

English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲


Date: August 28, 2020
Agent: Damon Pollard

This is Damon Pollard, Livestock Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service-Burke Center. Today’s topic is Avoiding Hay Fires.

Burke County hay producers have gone from rags to riches in terms of soil moisture. This year’s abundant rainfall has wrecked havoc on haymaking.

Producers should avoid putting up hay with too high moisture content.
Round bales should be baled at 18% moisture or less, and square bales at 20% moisture or less. This is contrary to the philosophy of “well my hay got wet, so I’ll just round bale it”. Square bales can stand more moisture in the bale, than round bales. When hay is baled at too high a moisture level, it goes through internal heating due to microorganism activity within the forage. This activity causes
heat to build within the bales for at least 2 to 3 weeks after baling. During this time, not only are you getting spoilage, but you run the risk of internal heating, which if high enough, can cause a hay fire. If you suspect that your hay may be a little too wet, store round bales outside for 2 to 3 weeks until danger from heating has past. Stack square bales loosely if putting them in the barn, so that they receive good air movement and ventilation. An easy way to check temperature of heating bales is
with a piece of galvanized pipe. Flatten one end to make a sharp point, and drive it into a bale, then lower a thermometer into the pipe and take a reading. Normal temps should be below 120’ F. 120’- 140’ temps should be watched closely and temps in excess of 160’F warm of impending danger of fire. By monitoring moisture levels and temperatures, you can be ahead of the danger, and hopefully
avoid a hay fire.

This is Damon Pollard, Livestock Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service-Burke Center. If you would like more information, call us at 439-4460.