I was under the impression even if the end of a split gets wet it dries real fast since it is just surface moisture. Not sure why folks have trouble with tarps. I use high quality ones that I fold multiple times. They have not ripped or blown off with my system. I just want to prevent water, snow and leaves infiltrating the top of the stack while maximizing sun and airflow. My ends are also open. My feeling is if I start making large investments such as wood sheds and wood processing equipment my wood burning will become more of a hobby than an efficient way of lowering my energy cost while providing off grid security. My wife thinks I have ocd as it is with my wood piles! I 100% agree with you that your shed helped keep you sane during COVID. My wife works as a healthcare professional and quarantined more than once. Also lost a family member to COVID so I get it.Left is same sun as right for me..(left even slightly more sun because of some shade.onnthe right in shoulder season).
Top (some shading by 2 ft roof overhang) and bottom look the same. More or less. The very bottom row can sometimes be a bit grayish, but not nearly as.much as the right bay that had seen rain in its tarped stacks.
Folks that leave it uncovered will likely be gray like my right hand side.
If you can prevent rain on the cut ends, things will dry faster (a system like peakbaggers might work for that). Water can't get out of wood when the surface is wet.
But maybe it's not worth the increase in drying speed. I didn't take numbers. (E.g. 6 weeks earlier is not worth the hassle)
For me i just like the not having to check tarps. But it cost me.(wood is free here tho, and it had double purpose in keeping me sane during COVID lockdown when I was working at home, teaching kids, and trying to keep my wife on her feet working in a nursing home..., and now for just not having to check if tarps have to be replaced, repositioned, or otherwise secured).