A lot of time, money and labor are invested in the production of a hay crop. Though most farmers feel a sense of relief once the last bale is ejected from the baler,there is unfortunately still plenty of opportunity for yield and quality loss if the crop is not properly stored.

John Grimes, Ohio State University Extension beef programs coordinator, offers the following tips for keeping potential profit in your pocket following the harvest of large round bales:

· The best choice for storing bales is under a roof placed on a rock foundation.

· Avoid hay to soil contact. It is typically the primary source of loss associated without door hay storage.

· If bales must be placed on the ground, find a well-drained area.

· Keep bales in an area that is open and receives maximum sunlight. Avoid storing bales adjacent to tree lines, which limit sunlight and drying.

· Unless bales are stored under a roof or tarp, place bales so that their sides do not touch.

· Place the flat ends of bales firmly against one another; this protects the ends almost as well as if they were one continuous hay package.