If you have questions about how to load a hay wagon, here are insights into our operation. I hope it might be helpful for you in yours. Our hay wagon measures 8 feet wide and 14 feet long. Generally our small bales, made by our New Holland baler, weigh about 50 pounds each. We load the bales in four sections.
To get them on the wagon without wasted space, we put the first bale in the center, the short side abutting the backboard. The next 2 bales fit on either side of the center bale lengthwise between the bale and the side brackets or chains supporting the backboard. The next six bales go on top of the first layer in a similar fashion in the second and third layers. On the fourth layer, two bales straddle the middle and outer bales of the third layer, tying off and stabilizing the stack.
Sections 2 and 3:
The second section and third stacks of bales are made after the same fashion as the first.
The fourth stack is unique. For security’s sake, the lower layer in each front corner of the wagon is laid as the first layer of the stacks in the other sections. The 2nd layer differs. The 2 bales on that layer are criss-crossed over the bottom bales. The third layer is again crossed over the 2nd layer. The center bales are not put in till later. (We must leave space for the person who stacks the bales to stand. It must be left wide enough to hold the depth of the center bale. To do so may require the side stacks to hang a few inches over the edge of the wagon bed.) The center bales are piled up three high like in previous sections. On the top, four bales are stacked lengthwise and overlapping the center bales to ensure more stability to the load.
There are times when we need to bale higher, but we feel this is the prudent level. If it is higher, it is more difficult to see behind us as we drive our tractor with the load of hay in local traffic or parking the load if we are unable to unload them at the end of the day.
Photo credits: Wenda Grabau