Handy Hay Facts: How Much Does A Round Bale Of Hay Weigh?

Oluniyi Akande
Oct 17, 2023 By Oluniyi Akande
Originally Published on Oct 22, 2021
Field with straw bales after harvest on a background.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.0 Min

A round hay bale can weigh between 400-1700 lb (181-771 kg).

A small hay bale of the size 4 ft x 4 ft (121 cm x 121 cm) weighs around 400-600 lb (181-272 kg), a medium hay bale can weigh anywhere between 720-950 lb (326.6-431 kg) of the size 5 ft x 4.5 ft (152 cm x 137 cm) and a large round bale with the size 5 ft x 6 ft (152 cm x 182 cm) can weigh around 1270-1700 lb (576-771 kg).

An average bale of the size 4 ft x 5 ft (121 cm x 152 cm) weighs around 600-800 lb (272-363 kg).

There are two types of hay bales, one is round and one is square.

Two bales of hay of equal dimension or size can weigh differently depending upon their shape.

Hay is a collective term for legumes, dried and cut grass, and other plants that can be used as a food supply for animals who graze such as sheep, cows, and horses. It is also fed to small animals such as tortoises and rabbits.

Hay is green and easy to chew on and this is why it is preferred by most farm animals. Bales are kept in bundles if they are large and are covered with plastic so that they stay green and healthy.

If you enjoyed this article, why not also read about where are tomatoes from andhow much does an egg weigh?

What does a round bale of hay weigh?

A two-string square hay bale can weigh anywhere between 40-75 lb (18-34 kg). Three-string square bales weigh around 100 lb (45 kg), and some bales weigh around 140 lb (63.5 kg).

The average round hay bale weight is about 1,250 lb (567 kg), but the weights can vary greatly between 563-1,584 lb (255-718.5 kg).

It is difficult to measure because the bale weight is affected by the moisture it contains and it's better to use a weighing scale to measure the weight of hay bales. The bales come in different sizes and densities.

The factors that affect the bale weight of hay include whether they are round bales or square bales, bale density, bale size, and the moisture it contains.

Two-stringed square bales with the dimension or size (length x height x breadth) 36 in x 19 in x 16 in (91 cm x 48 cm x 40 cm) weighs around 40-75 lb (18-34 kg).

Three-stringed square bales with dimension or sizes 44 in x 22 in x 15 in (111 cm x 55 cm x 38 cm) weigh between 100-140 lb (45-63.5 kg).

Half a ton of square bales with the size 6 ft x 4 ft x 3 ft (182 cm x 121 cm x 91 cm) weighs approximately 1,000 lb (453.6 kg).

A full ton of square bales of the size 8 ft x 4 ft x 4 ft ( 243 cm x 121 cm x 121 cm) can weigh up to 2000 lb (907 kg).

There are a lot of differences between round hay bales and square hay bales.

The main difference between round bales and square bales is that round bales are easy to feed, while square bales are labor-intensive and tough to feed farm animals.

The tight compression of round bales makes it less vulnerable and that's why it's less prone to spoilage, while the loose compression of square bales if not stored correctly can easily get spoiled.

Square bales, however, are more sturdy and stable compared to round bales, and they are easier to transport.

Round bales can roll around in trucks, making it difficult for transport. Round bales lack stability and that's why they are difficult to keep in storage compared to square bales.

How much does a regular round bale of hay weigh?

A typical round hay bale can weigh anywhere between 1200-1700 lb (544-771 kg).

Alfalfa hay of round hay bales weigh around 1200-2000 lb (544-907 kg), a three-string bale of alfalfa weighs approx 110-140 lb (50-63.5 kg) and a small two-string bale can weigh anywhere between 60-70 lb (27-31.8 kg). On the other hand, round hay bales of grass hay weigh around 1270-1700 lb (576-771 kg).

A three-string bale of grass hay weighs around 75-90 lb (34-41 kg) and a small two-string bale weighs around 40-55 lb (18-25 kg).

The difference between alfalfa hay and grass hay is the protein content. Alfalfa hay has high levels of protein from 15-21% depending on when the alfalfa was diced, while the protein level of grass hay is 10%.

Evening landscape of straw bales on field.

How much hay do farm animals need in a day?

A mature cow that is completely dependent on hay for all its forage will need hay that is 3% of its body weight which means it'll need approximately 30 lb (13.6 kg) of hay every day.

For all farm animals, hay is a primary source of protein and nutrients. It is necessary to feed them protein and all the nutrients according to their appetite and body weight. Below are some animals and the value of the percent of hay they need per day individually.

Cow: 3% of their body weight

Sheep: 2% of their body weight

Goat: 2% of their body weight

Horse: 2% of their body weight

Beef steer: 1% of their body weight

Llama: 3% of their body weight

Given below is the equation that considers the percentage of the animal's body weight and can determine what they need to consume in hay (dry matter) daily:

Required percentage of body weight x Weight of the farm animal x Number of days of 'feeding' = Amount of hay to bale

If a horse or any other farm animal is losing weight, chopped hay with alfalfa or a mixture of high-quality grass hay and alfalfa should be fed. In 2020, round bales of hay that are very large cost around $75-90 per ton.

Alfalfa bales of hay cost around $140-165 per ton. Whereas, grass costs around $125-150 per ton.

Average horses that rely on hay for all their forage consume 15-20 lb (7-9 kg) per day.

An adult horse ideally will feed on between 2-2.5% of their body weight per day for healthy growth. Hay bales of premium quality can cost between $195-243 per ton, bales of grade one can cost between $152-229 per ton, bales of grade two can cost between $116-137 per ton, and bales of grade three costs around $105-123 per ton.

How do you weigh a round bale of hay?

To convert the hay as fed or wet bale weight, divide the estimated dry matter weight by the percent of dry matter of the bale. Depending on the hay bale's size and bale density, the load varies. A baler is a piece of equipment or machine that is used for making hay into bales.

Hay bales feature a certain moisture content that affects their bale weight. Due to this, it is mostly very difficult to produce bales of identical weights. To measure the accurate bale weight and bale density of hay, it's better to use a weighing scale.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly factsfor everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for how much does a round bale of hay weighthen why not take a look at when do acorns fall or how much can an ant lift?

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Written by Oluniyi Akande

Doctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

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Oluniyi AkandeDoctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

With an accomplished background as a Veterinarian, SEO content writer, and public speaker, Oluniyi brings a wealth of skills and experience to his work. Holding a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan, he provides exceptional consulting services to pet owners, animal farms, and agricultural establishments. Oluniyi's impressive writing career spans over five years, during which he has produced over 5000 high-quality short- and long-form pieces of content. His versatility shines through as he tackles a diverse array of topics, including pets, real estate, sports, games, technology, landscaping, healthcare, cosmetics, personal loans, debt management, construction, and agriculture.

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