The quality of hay is often compromised when the hay is mishandled and when it's stored in less-than perfect conditions. Handling and storing hay on your own is perhaps the best way to reduce the likelihood of compromised feed quality.
Doing this will probably require you to build or buy a feed storage shed. This article discusses a few things that horse owners in South Australia should know when looking to invest in proper storage for the feed that gives their horses vigour and vitality.
Timber Might Not Be The Best Shed Material
Timber is a common material used for shed construction in residential urban area due to its high aesthetic appeal. However, it isn't the best shed material for an area that's prone to bushfires (e.g. Adelaide Hills) because it's highly combustible.
Depending on the bushfire attack level in your locality (as determined by the local authorities), you might be prohibited from using timber for a hay storage shed. Timber is often only permitted in areas that have lower bushfire attack levels within/around Adelaide Hills.
Even when the use of timber is permitted, it is often on condition that the timber (to be) used is subjected to fire retardant treatment. Stone/brick or steel are probably better choices of shed materials because they're not combustible.
Humidity Control Is Paramount
Hay is made up of a number of water-soluble nutrients. Thus, the plant loses much of its nutrient value when exposed to excess moisture/water. For this reason, you need to invest in humidity control for the new shed.
Humidity control is achieved using a hygrometer or a dehumidifier. You should consider investing in one of the devices, considering the importance of the nutritional value of hay for your horses.
In addition to this, humidity control is also important to reduce the bushfire risk within the hay shed. When humidity is extremely low, the air in the shed will be dry. Low humidity and high temperature will increase the bushfire risk within the feed storage shed. A dehumidifier can increase the level of humidity in air (when necessary) just as easily as it reduces the moisture content in such air.
You Can Build/Install A Hay Shed Without A Permit
You might be pleased to learn that you might not need a permit/approval to build or install the feed storage shed. This is on condition that the construction/installation of the shed meets certain minimum requirements. For example, horse owners in Salisbury wouldn't need a permit to construct/install a hay shed that has an area of 10 square metres and a height of 2 metres above ground level.