Shed Tips: How to Build a Hay Shed

2 May

If you’re looking to build a hay bale shed on your property, there are several important things to think about to ensure you get the most practical, cost-efficient structure.

Buffalo Built’s Managing Director, Ross Barker, talks through some tips and considerations to keep in mind when you’re designing an Australian hay shed.

Picture of Ross Barker
Ross Barker

Managing Director, Buffalo Built

In this Article:

How to Design a Practical Hay Shed

What Size Bales and How Many?

Your preferred bale sizes and arrangement can influence the style of the hay shed and the spacing of the bays. Think about how many bales you’re likely to store at a time: do you need to allow a little extra space for future expansion? Rectangular bales are more space efficient and easier to stack, whereas round bales require more space.

As a rough guide, a 32m x 18m farm shed holds 1,000 bales and a 48m x 24m farm shed can hold 2,500 bales. But it’s not just about how many bales you can fit in your shed: how you stack and move them affects your design too.

Moving and Transporting Hay

Ross suggests that you spend some time thinking about how you’ll move your hay in and out of your shed.

“It seems like a minor detail, but it’s important to get the bay sizes right – you don’t want to find yourself with a hay shed that you can’t get your machinery into easily. We usually recommend bay spacings are 6m wide at a minimum, which gives you the width of 3 big square bales, plus some additional space on either side to shift your hay in and out.”

"Usually, hay bales are stacked six high with a truck or tractor unloading three hay bales at a time. So, think through how you’ll get your bales out of the shed, including how much room you’ll need to leave between bales to manoeuvre them easily."
Ross Barker
Ross Barker
hay shed

Roof Height and Pitch on Your Hay Shed

“The roof pitch is also important because if you get it right you may be able to fit an extra bale high in the centre,” notes Ross.

“This creates a really efficient design where you’re making the best use of your available space.”

When it comes to the height of your shed, building up rather than out can be a cost-effective way to increase the storage capacity instead of adding a whole extra bay.

However, a longer shed rather than a wider shed is more cost-effective if you do need the extra space – this is because the span can remain relatively small (and inexpensive), as opposed to wide-span sheds that require heavier steel and more complex fabrication.

Orientation of Your Shed

When it comes to positioning your shed on site, the long side opening should face away from prevailing winds, as this helps to reduce rain from entering the shed. A canopy or awning can also help if your site is particularly prone to heavy rain and wind.

Your local council regulations come into play when you’re choosing a site for your farm shed, which should be on higher ground for drainage purposes, level, and easy for tractors and vehicles to access.

You should also consider positioning your shed some distance from other buildings to minimise damage if there is a fire.


Safety in Your Hay Bale Shed

Hay can get remarkably hot, and the right combination of movement, oxygen and temperature can cause combustion. Hay sheds that are completely open, or those with 2 sides offer good ventilation and help to reduce ambient air temperature, but in hot dry climates, it’s wise to have a water tank and firefighting equipment nearby in case of a fire.

Hay bales also need to be stable and neatly stacked, ensuring that bales don’t fall and injure you (or anyone else on your property).

farm sheds

Permits and Paperwork

Like any large structure, a hay shed requires a council building permit to ensure that the design complies with regulatory requirements. We’ve put together some information on the paperwork you’ll need to supply in order to get your permit.

Picture of Ross Barker

Ross Barker

Managing Director, Buffalo Built

Get Advice on Designing a Cost-Effective Hay Shed.

The Buffalo Built team is here to support you and offer advice on designing the perfect hay shed for your property. Get in touch with our team to find out how we can help