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How To Use Hay Tarps: Selecting the Right Supplies

Aug 31, 2008
With all of the hard work and care that goes into haying, you want to be sure to use hay tarps when storing your product. This not only protects your investment, but your profits as well. Colors, styles, and even the material of the tarps themselves can have a significant impact on the quality of your hay. When it comes to long-term storage, the pros and cons of each option can help you decide on the type and method that is best for you.

Materials for Hay Tarps

Farmers and others in the agricultural sector sometimes choose blue polyethylene tarps to cover their hay. Because they are economica,, UV treated, mildew resistant, and waterproof, they do work for this type of application. However, poly tarps come in a thickness of approximately 5mm with a weave of around 8x8 making them prone to tears. This causes them to wear through considerably faster than other materials. For this reason, poly only lasts a few short months and should only be used as a short-term storage solution.

Hay tarps constructed of vinyl are a more suitable option for hay that will be stored for any length of time. They can range anywhere from 10 oz to 40 oz giving them the weight and durability they need to withstand the elements for years of use. They are extremely resistant against wear, tears, and mildew as well as waterproof and UV resistant to make it the ideal material for covering hay bales. With the added strength and ability to resist grease, oil, and acid, coated vinyl tarps are great for other heavy-duty applications as well.

Colors for Hay Tarps

Although the color of the tarps you choose may not seem significant at first, the color can have a significant impact on the hay underneath it. The traditional colors used for hay tarps such as black and other dark colors are not the wisest colors to choose. This color absorbs the sunlight in the summer causing the nutrients in the hay to break down and the outer hay bales to dry out significantly. The severe heat causes a devastating decrease in the weight of your product and destroys its moisture content.

Silver has also been a popular color choice, but it still tends to dry out the bales considerably. White is by far the best color selection because it reflects a majority of the light, but retains very little of its heat. In colder climates, one of the newer trends is to use silver tarps over top of white ones. This melts the winter snow faster to prevent moisture from getting into the hay while still providing you with the temperature benefits of white ones.

Designs for Hay Tarps

You can lay flat tarps across the top of the bales and strap down the sides with bungee cords for a quick solution. This doesn't offer them a whole lot of protection in the long term. For the best results, look for hay tarps sewn in a 5-sided shelter so that the rain runs off rather than sitting on the top. For added strength where you need it the most, be sure to opt for rust proof grommets rather than holes that are simply cut and melted.

Quick and inexpensive poly tarps work as a temporary solution, but they don't offer many benefits for extended storage. When selecting hay tarps, look for designs and materials that are durable enough to stand up to the elements while ensuring they maintain the quality of your bales. This way, you will receive the highest possible profit while saving you money because they will not have to be replaced as often.
About the Author
Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on tarps, visit www.mytarp.com.
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