What is the financial benefit of tarping your hay stack?
Various University extension offices offer these figures for expected hay losses under various storage options.
Hay barn 5%
Stacked & tarped on rock pad 12%
Stacked & tarped on tires or pallets 14%
Plastic Sleeve 19%
Net wrap 23%
Outside Uncovered 30%
So let's assume for this exercise that your hay is worth $120 ton. We can put, on average, 50 tons of hay under a 52' tarp. The estimated value of this hay would be $6000 using $120/ton cost. If you stack this hay outside (uncovered) you can figure that you will lose approximately $1800 worth of your hay to the elements. Not only do you need to purchase more hay now but the existing hay that you have left is costing you $170 a ton! If you tarp the stack you will generally still have some loss from the bottom of the stack, at a 15% estimate you could potentially see losses of $900 bringing your hay costs to $140 ton. The tarp itself will run you between $200 and $350 depending on the width you need, netting you $900 per year over three years (approximate life of the tarp). I know that I would rather that $2700 was in my pocket and not the compost pile or laying in the field! I will also include a video from Inland Tarp with a tutorial to teach you a great way to tarp your hay easily.