Stacking hay for transport
Hauling hay for your use or to deliver to someone else saves money on shipping. Safe transportation requires careful loading and making sure the hay is secured.
Radio interview source: Dr. Dan Undersander, Extension Forage Agronomist, University of Wisconsin
Stacking hay correctly is the key to a stable load.
Dan Undersander is an extension forage agronomist at the University of Wisconsin. He says bales must be stacked within the legal width limit of the vehicle. That's about 8-feet. So if you have 3-foot wide bales, you can't stack them all cross-wise.
"What a lot of people will do is stack two cross-ways and one length-ways, and then within each layer have them be interlocking to some extent if it is not going to be unloaded with a forklift to make the load more stable," he says. "If it's going to be unloaded with a forklift, then you would obviously stack in units the forklift would handle."
Pay attention to height. Undersander says five layers of stacked bales, maybe six, should be your maximum. It depends on how firm the bales are and how they interlock with each other. Also check the load capacity of your vehicle. Small bales can weigh anywhere from 40-to-130-pounds each.
It's important to strap down the load. Be sure to know your state and local laws governing how materials under transport must be secured.
"Different trucks will be somewhat different, but usually there's a strap every four-to-six-feet on the truck, and you would lay them tight and then because of the overlapping bales, if the stack is made well, that will hold the load on as that truck is driving," says Undersander.
Before you get too far down the road, check the straps. It's not uncommon for the load to settle, and the straps may need tightening.
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