Safely Transporting Hay Bales

If you need to transport several hundred bales of hay, it makes sense to have these bales delivered by the supplier. However, if you have a much smaller number of hay bales to transport, it makes good financial sense to do it yourself.

One of the most common methods of transporting hay is on a trailer. However, no matter how many bales of hay you are hauling or how you are hauling them, safety must always come first.

In addition to driving the trailer safely, one of the most important considerations when transporting hay on a trailer is to make sure that the hay bales are loaded correctly. If they are not, accidents can—and often do—occur. These accidents include people being hit by runaway trailers and people getting hit by falling loads.

What follows is a step-by-step guide to the safe transport of hay on trailers.

  • Step #1: Always park trailers in a safe position while hay is being loaded. Doing this will ensure that the trailer will not begin to roll away or overturn.
  • Step # 2: Load in sequence so the load is stable. Never exceed the maximum permitted axle and gross weights.
  • Step #3: Keep load heights within normal ranges and always account for overhead obstructions you are likely to encounter.
  • Step #4: When stacking bales­, either by hand or with a loading machine, make sure everyone can hear one another and always wait for a response before moving the vehicle or the hay.
  • Step #5: Do not allow anyone to ride on the trailer, including the drawbar of the trailer.
  • Step #6: Leave the load in the same position from loading to roping. A stacker may travel short distances on a load but it must be safely positioned so that there is no risk of it falling or the load collapsing.
  • Step #7: Bales can become dislodged or drop when loading. It is important to keep the area around the trailer clear. If a hay bale does drop, do not try to stop it.

The biggest safety threat when hauling hay on a trailer occurs when a load is not properly secured. Such loads can cause the trailer to tip or individuals being injured by falling bales. In order to guard against such accidents, always rope or sheet loads before transporting. You also should make sure that the load is secured in such a way that when the roads are rough or the vehicle stops, starts or turns, the load does not move. It also is important to always remember that an unstable load cannot be made stable by roping.