Once bales have been removed and transported from the field it is important that they are stored correctly and safely.Incorrect storage of bales can not only cause harm to people working near them and harm to the environment, but can also be in breach of Cross Compliance Regulations.
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) recommends that bales are stacked to a maximum height of three bales, and where bales are not dense, a maximum height of two bales is advised.
Bales should be stacked on the curved sides, to build a pyramid, with the bottom bales prevented from moving by using supports.The stacking of round bales on their ends is not recommended, bales may settle during storage causing them to lean.Bales should be stored on a level, smooth, hard surface with good access, so that the bales can be easily retrieved.Remove bushes, briars and low overhanging branches. Under Cross Compliance Regulations, bales cannot be stored within 20m of a waterbody or watercourse.
If storing bales where livestock might be able to access them, ensure they are fenced-off; many farmers also use a combination of netting and tyres to protect their bales from bird attacks.Farmers storing arable silage may need to have rat bait points in the storage area and must comply with all relevant regulations.Inspect wrapped bales regularly and any damage should be immediately repaired using appropriate adhesive tapes. Noticing holes at time of feeding is a little too late.
When removing bales from the stack, start from the top and work downwards. Removing bales from the middle or bottom row first may result in someone getting injured.If a contractor is transporting and stacking bales, ensure that the bales are suitably stored to suit the equipment that is available to you when using.If a loader is not available on the farm, bales should only be stacked one-high to avoid injury.