Hay is fed to large grazing animals and is made of a collection of cut and dried plants, mostly grass. Hay bales range in weight from 40 to 2,000 pounds and come in various shapes and sizes. For example, you can find a ton of three-string bales weighing around one ton, and each bale weighs about 100 pounds.
Alternatively, there are 2.4 to 1.8 round bales per ton, where the round bales weigh between 850 and 1,100 pounds. Hay is often offered in bales weighing one ton and containing just one bale. Each of the 17 flakes that make up a typical three-string bale, which weighs about 140 pounds, is about 8 pounds in weight.
Small bales, or two-string bales, only weigh 40 to 75 pounds each. In our guide, you can learn more about how much a large round bale of hay weigh and other things, such as how many flakes are in a bale of hay.
By the end, you’ll have more chance of knowing the answer to how much rolled hay or bales you’ll need to feed your sheep, goats, horses, or cattle. (Learn How Many Square Bales Are In A Round Bale)
What Is Hay?
When grass or legumes are cut, dried, and stored for animal feed, especially for grazing animals like cattle, horses, goats, and sheep, it is called “hay.” In the field, it is cut, dried, and then baled for storage. When hay is cut early, before the seed heads have fully developed and the plant stems have hardened into thick stalks, it is at its most nutrient-tough.
However, color is not the only quality indicator; scent and texture are also significant. Highly green hay might be a good indicator of the number of nutrients in the hay. Blister beetles can easily poison a horse. Particularly problematic are these insects in alfalfa hay that crimps when cut.
One thing to note is when you want to know how many bales per ton will be sold. Hay that is not thoroughly dry after cutting the pasture will be heavier than a cut and thoroughly dried pasture of alfalfa. Weights of hay vary depending on how dry and compact a single bale will be.
How Many Bales of Hay Equal a Ton?
Each hay bale’s weight will differ across suppliers. However, most hay suppliers will have 18 35 14-inch hay bales in store, with each bale weighing about 50 pounds. You would need to gather 40 small bales of hay to get close to a ton of hay because a ton is equal to 2,000 pounds.
The dimensions and weights of various hay bales are described to show the number of hay bales per ton.
- Forbes Lucerne 18 × 15 × 36 in. 55 lbs.
- Key Thorpe 16 × 12 × 39 in. 44 lbs.
- High Desert Hay 16 × 18 × 48 in. 110 lbs.
- Hay Forks 16 × 18 × 36 in. 60 lbs.
- Progressive Forage 14 × 18 × 36 in. 55 lbs.
Why Does Hay Bale Size Matter?
Now, the size of a hay bale might not appear to matter to the layperson. However, you undoubtedly already know that size significantly impacts your finances if you consistently buy tons of hay bales every year for animals to eat.
The size of a hay bale matters regarding its weight and the number of animals it feeds. Besides this, it can also affect how long it lasts, and you could lose money because your baled hay will rot, as it breaks down when not stored correctly, and you can’t use it fast enough. (Learn How To Cover Mud In Yard)
How Long Can Hay Last?
Hay should only last a few days to feed your livestock. If you store hay bales outside, they’ll last two days before rain and heat ruin the animal feed. Cool, dry storage prolongs the life of hay bales, and you need to maintain airflow around the hay bales. During a rainy season, humidity can reduce the nutritional value and speed up deterioration.
How Many Animals Will a Ton of Hay Feed?
The amount of hay you need for your livestock depends on what animals you raise.
Here’s a brief look at how much hay some livestock eat per day and how long a ton of hay lasts.
- Cows 24 lbs. per day & lasts 83.33 days
- Horses 20 lbs. per day & lasts 100 days
- Goats 4.4 lbs. per day & lasts 454.54 days
- Llamas 12 lbs. per day & lasts 166.67 days
The seller will know the hay’s weight per bale. You may always weigh one on a bathroom scale to get an accurate number for what you buy. Bale weight and total load weight are calculated when someone is holding the bale.
If the weight of each bale isn’t specified, you can compute it using the number of bales per ton. You’ll find each of these bales weighs 33 pounds, then divide the total weight by the number of bales.
Thirty-four pounds per bale equals 1,800 pounds per ton divided by 54 bales. Although that is lighter than the majority, it makes no difference as you pay per ton. To determine how much to feed your flock, you only need to give the weight of each bale.
What is the best hay for sheep?
The ideal hay for your needs, Like early-made and never-rained-on orchard or Timothy grass, sheep makes an excellent first cutting. First-cut hay that is well-made is excellent. It’s difficult to top a great, well-made first cutting of small bales of Timothy or a single bale of Orchard grass.
Hay that was cut in the rain is not of great grade! Although this food will be inexpensive, it offers very little nourishment. Your sheep, especially the main sheep flock, is probably too rich for hay that contains alfalfa only hay. Good idea to add a few tiny hay flakes to a group of nursing mothers as a supplement.
Consider or even say “horse hay” if you are having trouble getting the hay you require. When letting a hay seller know you want hay of the highest caliber, the words “horse hay” seem to work. (Learn How To Kill A Eucalyptus Tree)
How Many Flakes Are In A Bale Of Hay?
That of a split bale. A three-string bale should include roughly 17 flakes. As long as the weight is present, a healthy flake should weigh around 8 lbs. Always feed by weight, as hay vary by grass type and from farm to farm.
Hay is visually bright, so you need to consider the bale’s interior, not the look of the exterior of a standard three-string bale. A single bale can look like another on the outside, yet it can be different on the inside.
Within 72 hours of being baled, hay is bleached by the sun losing none of its nutritional value. The exterior of the bale can be bleached to remove high-quality hay, and the bale will be bright when opened.
Good fiber content is crucial for overweight, sugar-intolerant, and colicky horses, and you can find it in any high-quality forage. The leaves contain 60% of all the edible minerals, 70% of the protein, and 90% of the vitamins. Leafiness is a prominent sign of how high-quality the baled hay is.
A high proportion of leaves shows efficient handling and harvesting techniques. If moved by trucks, it can also show the trailer didn’t face harsh weather while transporting its load.
A medium hue, a clean, medium stem, not too coarse, a decent stem-to-leaf ratio, and great palatability are all characteristics of good quality hay sold as suitable for horses, sheep, and more.
Terms When Talking Of Hay Bales
When talking of square bales and how much a three-string bale weighs, it can get confusing with all the terms.
Here are terms and loads more answers to help you understand what’s what.
Premium Cutting: Will be done on a 28-day cutting cycle.
Premium Hay: Safe, fresh, green, and delicate, with an acceptable stem-to-leaf ratio. The flake will remain intact and has a pleasant texture and fresh scent when feeding.
Poor Quality Hay: Dry, discolored, coarse-stemmed, and lacking in flavor and texture. Little leaf, thick stems, and leaf that detaches from the stem can decay, be filthy, or moldy and break apart easily, and it isn’t good to eat.
Protein: Alfalfa and other legume hays are valuable sources of protein that are easy to add to the diet.
Rained On Hay: Poorly colored weather-damaged hay will have a gray tint outside the bale. The bale’s interior can have mold or slugs, and it’s harmful to animals after drying. Such small square bales of hay are best disposed of.
Retail Hay: A lighter three-string bale weighs less and is sold by feed stores. You’ll find an average bale weight of around 100 lbs. The hay in these string bales is easy to handle and good quality.
Round Bales: To help free feed cattle and horses and clean fields, hay is baled in large round forms and weighs about 1000 lbs. Most commonly, round bales are a more mature form of hay than smaller three-string bales. The most common cause of impaction in horses is round bales; feeding on the ground can solve this.
Spontaneous Combustion: Hay stored wet will decay, and when stacking, it needs less than 22% moisture to avoid spontaneous combustion. Outside-stored hay must have minimum moisture contact, and some stacks are arranged so the hay “sheds” rainwater.
Other stacking methods use the outer string bales of hay as a cover to protect the rest. Haystacks outside can be covered with tarps to keep out moisture, and many round bales are wrapped in plastic during baling. A barn can be used undercover, yet damp hay can still combust.
Square Bales: At 44″ x 22″ x 15, two-string hay weighs about 60 lbs. A three-string bale weighs 100 lbs. to 140 lbs. Hay in three-string bales is of the highest caliber for horses, with around 17 flakes when a bale breaks apart. If fed twice daily, one bale can be suitable for feeding one horse for about a week. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Pine Needles)
Stable Hay: Heavy hay in a three-string bale is delivered to stables and not handled by the customer. Such hay answers cost-effectiveness and is good to premium quality.
A Ton: One ton of hay weighs 2000 pounds. A three-string bale weighs 100 lbs. and is sold in the store. Twenty-three string bales make up a ton. 16 standard three-string bale will make up a “feed store ton.” Twenty-four tons can fit on a semi-truck.
Frequently Used Bale Sizes from The Baler
- Standard three-string bale size: 22” x 15” x 44”
- Bale size: 2 string: 19” x 16” x 36”
- One ton bales: 4’ x 4’ x 8’
- Half ton bales: 3’ x 4’ x 6’
- Round bales: 4×4 or 4×5