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How much are we talking about? the front yard or a field of a few acres?
The front yard I would do like the landscapers do and use a big tarp or sheet to pile it on then pull the corners together to make a big easily unloaded bag. A small field I would be thinking of some kind of trailer or wagon. Do we have the use of a hay rake in your scenario? That would make it easier. How are we cutting it down? Are you talking tractor or by hand with a sickle? If a person already has a tractor a old square baler is relatively cheap, under $1000, of course realistically they can be finicky, so if a person has not used one before they could easily become discouraged and end up with just a yard ornament. Personally before i put up hay by hand, I would find some way to earn money with that time, then buy the little hay I needed. but that was not the question really, I guess?
 

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I have been using a pine straw baler I got from a welding shop in Florida about 5 or 6 years ago. I bale about 200 or 250 bales a year. I could have got alot more this year but ran out of dry storage for it. I was really surprised at how well the hay keeps. I had a real problem keeping loose hay, I just couldn't store it where it wouldn't rot. I think the baler cost about $300 back then, couldn't be much more than that now. OK, I just looked it up it's $325 plus shipping. Barnes welding shop, Pine straw baler, Works for me - I found out I kinda like hand raking hay.
 

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If we are talking mechanical. Do not overlook the old hay stackers that used to get used in the plains states some. I actually have one. It uses a big blower, you drag it along behind the tractor and it just blows the hay into the metal bin and it just keeps layering on until it is full then the back door is opened and you set the bale on the ground, no strings, no tying. I have a small one that makes 6'wx10'Lx5'h bales. hey are pretty cheap if you find one as no one uses them anymore. Heck most people do not even know what they are. Some were rather big though as big as 20' long or so I have seen.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I was thinking more of the reason people like bailed hay, cause its easier to get into a barn, and easier to get back out. I doubt the last a bit. So what im thinking is what ways can be made to expidite it from hay rack to inside hay bay/loft area,
Im thinking of around 5 acres, one side or the other, around 10 ton
 

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I've seen people rake their hay into rows and use a type of gathering fork attached to the front loader. They drive into the row gathering the hay onto the front loader, then when it gets full they'll dump it into a hay shelter or in a stack. Something like this;

[YOUTUBE]O_T-u5khCjs[/YOUTUBE]
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That could work IF you could drive at least the front of the loader into the barn and back out, then fork it to the end s of the barn.
 

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That could work IF you could drive at least the front of the loader into the barn and back out, then fork it to the end s of the barn.
Guy in the video just stacks it loose outside. He says he just covers it with a tarp to shed rain. I'm not sure how that prevents it rotting from the bottom on wet ground. You might also just pile it in a hay wagon and drive the wagon into barn or cover with a tarp.

They have those old hay loaders for high piling.
 

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I've done it all except the homemade hay baler. When I was young Daddy cut hay with a horse drawn mower, later modified to be pulled with a tractor. Hay was raked with a dump rake, forked onto a wagon, later a homemade trailer, then forked into the barn loft. After the barn was full we made hay stacks. I've described that on here, but briefly we dug a hole and put a pole in the ground which was sharpened at the top. Old lumber, tree limbs, etc was placed on the ground AIRC in a 10 or 12 foot circle. Hay was placed on that and walked on to pack itas tight as possible. Stack was tapered toward the top to shed water. To "cap the stack" a big fork full of hay was jammed over the sharp end of the pole. A well mad haystack would keep hay quite well for one winter.

Next, Daddy got a grain binder which tied the hay into tightly wrapped bundles. If the hay was a little green the bundles would be stacked with the heads up, six to a stack. Then the bundles were hauled to the barn. This continued until I graduated from high school and went off to college. My parent then quit having milk cows and kept some beef cows. Later after I returned home after college and Army I got a square hay baler. A few times Daddy got a neighbor with a square baler to bale for us before I got the baler and side delivery rake. Much later I got a round baler and have been smiling ever since.

If i were you I would look into getting someone to custom bale your crop. Five acres should make 500 bales of hay.

COWS
 

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Bill. I feel like you're trying to reinvent the wheel... As far as getting it in the barn, read up on hay forks, spear forks and grapple forks.. and then trollys...

Here's you a good video.. Yes, they start the video with bails. but they also show how with loose hay...

Back when, people used a pitch fork to get it on a trailer to take to the barn, then put it up... I've helped do it, and it's back breaking work, but it taught me a good work ethic..

[YOUTUBE]UE8rHwD9eQ0[/YOUTUBE]
 

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Discussion Starter #14
But most homesteaders nowadays don't have barns that have the trolley equipment in place, and if they have the barns, in lots of cases, the roofs wont hold the strain of putting up hay that way anymore. Most homesteaders nowadays, I think, have much weaker roofed barns. Adiquate enough for sheltering whats below them, but woefully weak for hauling hay underneath them.\
I think that loose hay would be much more desirable for a few acres IF people could handle it as efficiently to and in the barn/hay shed/ect as possible.
The house I live in is made up of 2 hip roof barns. Made in 81. They each have a side door around 8ft wide. When I move I may break them apart from the added middle section and take them with me. One is 40 X 14 X 8. The other is 24 X 14 X 8. I could add on end sheds to either end for milking cow/s, tool storage, grainery, and corn crib. The roof is 12ft at the peak, and I doubt if it would hold hay equipment, so Im kinda wondering what options I might find to get the hay from the rack to the ends of the barns.

ALSO, Its just an exercise in thinking about such things.
 

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As far as getting it in the barn, read up on hay forks, spear forks and grapple forks.. and then trollys...
Yep, my Dad who would be in his 70's told me of the days when his grandparents put hay in the barn loose. They had a fork and trolley system in the rafter of the barn where the fork would come down, clamp onto the hay, lift it up in the air and trolley it over to the drop off spot. Kids were utilized to tramp down the hay in between the drop offs.

The barn roof had to be replaced and part of the bad side of the barn removed, so when they tore off the roof, they lowered the roof. I'm not sure what all happened with the trolley system, but I did have the hay fork. But before I got it removed from the barn, it disappeared somewhere.

There was still loose hay in the barn that had to be 50 - 75 years old, but Dad would fork that hay down to the cows and they acted like it was the freshest hay they had ever been given.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I helped my grandad in the 50s and 60s putting hay into the barn with rope and forks. He continued to do this instead of having an elevator cause in front of his barn around 20ft was a hog shed the width of his barn.
 

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How bout thinking about handy ways to get loose hay into barns.
Toss it on a wagon with pitch fork, haul it to the barn and toss it in the barn, tromp it down good. a handier way to get it in the barn loft involves a track and set of rollers overhead, and a large fork that will lift a good sized hunk at a time.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Whaddia ya think about this.
With this house, if I convert it to a barn when I move, and take it with me, It has a 8ft X 8ft doorway in the middle of one side, in both barns.
Suppose I made a slide 2X4/4X4 framed, but topped with tin, 2 sheets, a foot overlapped, making it maybe 12 ft long when built into the slide. Make the high end 6ft high. Easy enough to pitch down on from on top the load, and not so high to pitch from on or near the floor of the rack wagon. Maybe have another piece of tin laying on the floor of the barn at the edge of the doorway. Person on the rack pitchers onto the tin till it fills up to the rack, then he takes his fork and pushes it downward and into the barn. someone in the barn between the piece of tin on the floor and the end wall forks it and pitches it against and up the wall working forward, and tromping it downward?
Sure, some of it would fall of the sides of the slide, but that could be picked up at the end of the load, or the end of the field depending on how much had gone over the sides.
Whaddia ya think?
 

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Found this: http://www.progressiveforage.com/forage-production/equipment/a-bit-about-hay-carriers

I remember my father telling of a neighbor who sent all over the U.S. looking for a sling that could unload a whole load of hay at once... he finally found one, ordered it and installed it. It was so heavy it pulled the end of his barn off. Slings lay on the wagon, hay goes on top then a pulley system was hooked to the slings and they lifted off usually 1/3 to 1/2 a load at a time, went up by pulley into the barn and slid along a track and the hay was dumped in the right place. Our old barn had forks on a pulley instead.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The above is for barns specifically made with strong roofs that could be used by a rope and trolley system. ALSO, the roofs were made to be free standing without ANY bracing dropping down from the roof, unlike todays barns. I think the vast majority of farmers/homesteaders today don't have such barns, that there roofs are made just to hold the tin in the appointed place, NOT to bear weight underneath it.
AND most barns built today are pole barns with a pre fab structured truss under the roof, dropping down from center maybe as much as 6ft. These trusses wont hold the weight of a trolley with load either, as they are usually spaced some distance apart, from 3 to 6ft more or less.
 
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