Farmers are being warned about the dangers posed by heavy straw bales due to the recent poor weather conditions.
Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service (FAS) has issued guidance to farmers after parts of the country had over twice the normal rainfall for August.
Craig Bothwell from SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College which delivers the FAS programme, said: “50mm of rain can easily add 50kg or more to the weight of a 1.2m round bale.
“With the additional weight being concentrated in one area, bales become increasingly unstable when stacking and carting.
“There have been 15 farm fatalities in the last five years caused by things collapsing, including falling bales, so it would be sensible this autumn to consider handling any straw bales which have been rained on, the same as you would wrapped bales of silage.”
Tips from FAS include:
- Avoid overloading trailers or building stacks too high
- Ensure bales are tied into the load and each load is fully strapped
- Consider restricting loads to two bales high and making stacks one layer less
- Ensure bale stacks are on a flat, firm and well-drained base to avoid water undermining the bales and causing a collapse
- Avoid climbing on stacks and use an appropriate platform to sheet stacks
In addition, farmers are advised to reduce the risk of fire posed by damp straw with young grass in it, by stacking it outside away from buildings and other stacks; treating it with a silage additive if it contains a significant amount of grass; or applying an ammonia treatment.
To find out more, visit www.fas.scot