June 24, 2016
Protecting Feed, Livestock, and Equipment with Metal Ag Buildings
Shrewd farmers and ranchers use pre-engineered metal hay sheds and barns to protect their assets.
Planting, growing, and harvesting hay represents a significant amount of time, money, and effort. Why leave bales rotting in the field when prefabricated steel hay sheds and barns are so economical and easy to erect?
Hay Production in the U.S.
In 2015, U.S. hay production topped 134.4 million tons.
The top ten hay producing states— California, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas— furnish 46% of American hay crops. Three states— California, Missouri, and Texas— produce 17% of U.S. hay.
Self-sufficient farmers and ranchers depend on hay to feed their livestock.
After years of devastating drought and massive hay shortages, this year is producing an abundant crop of hay here in Texas.
The first day of summer was just a few days ago. Many farmers and ranchers in our area in Texas are currently baling their second or third cutting of hay, thanks to above average rainfall this year.
Two years ago, excessively dry conditions across the south had many agribusinesses selling off livestock they could no longer afford to feed. Now, at last, a bumper crop of high-quality hay is creating a hay surplus.
The Science of Raising Hay
To the uninitiated, raising hay seems a simple business: plant, cut, bale. However, profitable haymaking involves hard work, precise timing— and the cooperation of fickle weather. Haymakers carefully maximize their yield by balancing the following:
- WEATHER: Balers needs at least three days of dry weather before mowing hay.
- FIELD CONDITIONS: Soggy fields delay cutting.
- HAY MATURITY: Ideally, haymakers need to cut hay after the grass leaves reach full maturity, but before the seeds develop. Cutting too soon diminishes yield. Cutting too late produces less valuable hay with a much lower nutrient density.
- MOISTURE CONTENT: Hay moisture at baling is critical to both the quality and shelf life of the hay. Mown hay without hay preservatives should be bailed when its moisture content reaches 15% to 20%, depending on the type of baling used. Lower moisture levels yield brittle, low quality hay. Higher moisture levels risk molding, rotting hay. In fact, baled and stacked hay with too high a moisture content is downright dangerous and may spontaneously combust! (Densely packed round bales are particularly prone to combustion if baled too wet.)
- STORAGE: Storing hay out of the weather reduces loss. Hay exposed to the elements wastes 2% to 10% of its substance. Hay stored under roof and off the ground reduces loss by 15%.
To Preserve Hay Quality, Store It under Steel
Pre-engineered steel hay sheds and barns protect hay and feed by maximizing weather protection and minimizing hay loss. Steel buildings offer many significant advantages over pole barns or lumber-framed hay sheds.
Pre-engineered steel buildings are:
- Easy to assemble. Steel buildings arrive welded, cut, formed, painted, drilled, marked, and ready for assembly. RHINO steel buildings cut construction time by about 33%. Many farm and ranch operations elect to erect their own steel agricultural structures. Think of it as a modern version of an old-fashioned “barn raising.”
- Clear Span. Steel’s strength allows rural structures to be built without clumsy interior supports. Hay storage space is maximized and farm equipment easier to maneuver in a clear- span metal hay shed or steel barn.
- Affordable. RHINO pre-engineered ag buildings offer economical construction and operation. Steel buildings virtually no maintenance. Because steel is a commercial-quality, non-combustible building material, most insurance companies allow substantially reduced premium for steel structures.
- Simple to customize. RHINO steel buildings offer a wide variety of building styles and colors. Choices include ridge vents, endwall vents, skylights, gutters and downspouts, insulation, and more. Erect your hay shed, barn, or other ag structure on a concrete slab, a stem walls, or piers.
- With or without walls. You may completely enclose your steel building for maximum asset protection. Perhaps you would prefer to wall in the side of prevailing wind sides and leave the other walls open for easy access. Or, if needed, create a structure with a solid steel roof, and no exterior walls— or half walls.
- Economical to expand. For future expansion, you will find adding length to a RHINO steel building both cost-effective and simple.
- Durable. Steel buildings last far longer than pole barns and lumber-framed structures. Quality-made steel ag buildings like RHINO add value to your property; cheap pole barns can actually decrease your property value.
- Eco-Friendly. Steel is the most recycled material in the world, recognized by environmental builders as the greenest of green building materials.
RHINO ships agricultural, commercial, and industrial steel structures all across America, as well as to Canada and Mexico.
For more information on constructing hay sheds and barns with the strength of steel, speak to a RHINO steel building specialist today. Call RHINO now at this toll free number to learn about our steel hay sheds: 888.320.7466.