Past, present and future of hay-making structures in Europe

Jana Špulerová*, Alexandra Kruse, Paola Branduini, Csaba Centeri, Sebastian Eiter, Viviana Ferrario, Bénédicte Gaillard, Fausto Gusmeroli, Suzan Jurgens, Drago Kladnik, Hans Renes, Michael Roth, Giovanni Sala, Hanne Sickel, Maurizia Sigura, Dagmar Štefunková, Kari Stensgaard, Peter Strasser, Cosmin Marius Ivascu, Kinga Öllerer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Hay-making structures are part of the agricultural landscape of meadows and pastures. Hay meadows are still used and found all over Europe, but their distribution patterns as well as their characteristics and regional features depend on geographical area, climate, culture, and intensity of agriculture. Intensively used hay meadows are the most dominant, using heavy machinery to store hay mostly as rounded or square bales. Traditional hay-making structures represent structures or constructions, used to quickly dry freshly cut fodder and to protect it from humidity. The 'ancient' forms of traditional hay-making structures are becoming a relic, due to mechanisation and the use of new technologies. Both the need for drying hay and the traditional methods for doing so were similar across Europe. Our study of hay-making structures focuses on their current state, their development and history, current use and cultural values in various European countries. Regarding the construction and use of hay-making structures, we have distinguished three different types, which correlate to natural and regional conditions: (1) temporary hay racks of various shapes; (2) hay barracks, a special type of shelters for storing hay and (3) different types of permanent construction and buildings for drying and storing hay. Hay-making structures have been mostly preserved in connection with traditional agricultural landscapes, and particularly in the more remote regions or where associated with strong cultural identity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5581
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2019


  • Cultural landscape
  • Hay barrack
  • Hayrack
  • Meadows
  • Permanent construction


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