In this brief guide, we’ll address the search query: “How much does a bale of hay weigh?” Also, we’ll explore what sizes of bales there are, how bales are assembled, what hay is, and how hale is harvested.
How much does a bale of hay weigh?
Naturally, the weight of a bale of hay will depend on its size and shape.
Rectangular bales can weigh between 18 to 34 kilograms (depending on how tightly packed the hay is), and cylindrical bales can weigh between 255 to just shy of 720 kilograms, though some sources say they can pack as much as just over 900 kilograms.
The weight of a bale will depend not only on how much hay is concentrated in it but also on what volume of water the hay still has. Hay may be cut and left out to dry for several days, but it can still absorb water from the environment, especially if it is packed in the early morning when there’s dew.
Hay can be commercialized in rectangles, or it can be left on a plot of land and taken apart for ruminant animals to feed on while grazing. A farmer will determine which presentation best suits their needs, and hay bales are often traded to intensive farms, petting zoos, and even used in recreation such as theme parks and hay rides.
What sizes of bales are there?
As we’ve mentioned, hay bales can be packed into two basic shapes; rectangles, and cylinders.
Rectangles can weigh over sixty kilograms, and this presentation is useful for when farmers need to move the hay, transporting it either to be sold or stored in an enclosure that’ll help preserve its quality.
Rectangle-shaped bales may spoil if they’re soaked, as microorganisms may begin to break down the straw in the presence of moisture. Ergo, these smaller bales are best stored in barns and storehouses, and from there, they can be distributed to other farms where animals do not graze or sold for other purposes.
Cylindrical bales are often left on-site and they can be disassembled when animals such as cows, horses, and other livestock are let out to pasture. To protect these large bales from the elements, farmers can cover them with impermeable covers such as tarps, plastic covers, and other materials that’ll help preserve them from excess moisture.
These bales are the heavier type and have been recorded as weighing up to 900 kilograms, though the exact weight varies between the available materials and the machinery’s capacity to tightly roll up the hay.
How are bales assembled?
Bales are assembled with the help of devices known (fittingly) as balers. They can pack bales into squares (rectangles), or cylinders, depending on the machine’s design.
Square hay-balers are driven along fields that have had hay stalks mowed and lined into even trails. The square baler then scoops up the hay and packs it into tight rectangles that it fastens with metal wire that is being fed to the machine.
These machines churn out bales of hay every few meters, which can then be loaded onto trucks or wagons, and transported for storage.
Cylindrical balers, on the other hand, have a similar mechanism that rotates on the ground and forces the cut hay into the machine.
This type of baler has a rotary design, and as the machine advances and collects hay, it is tightly packed into the rotary machine, and with the help of forming belts (plastic that is pressed tight by arms that give hay a cylinder shape as the machine rolls).
These bale machines are eventually filled, and many new models even encase the resulting bales in plastic, before releasing them onto the field, and continuing to the next trails of harvested hay.
What is hay?
Hay alludes to the stalks of grasses crops such as oats, wheat, barley, rye, and other grasses, has that have been cut, left to dry out in the fields, and can be packed into bales or otherwise hauled to stables and stalls to be used as bedding and feed for livestock.
Hay differs from straw, as straw has spikes (the mature inflorescence of grasses) threshed for its grain.
Hay contains grain and can be s source of fodder for both ruminants and monogastric animals such as horses and pigs, as it contains starchy grains.
Straw may be used as fodder as well, though it may not be as effectively digested by monogastric animals.
How is hay harvested?
Hay can be harvested in many ways. In areas with scarce technology, it can be cut with scythes, sickles, and other simple instruments, while in more technologically advanced areas, it can be harvested using mowers and positioned with the use of rakes for the bale-making process.
Ultimately, the exact methodology will depend on what resources are at the farmer’s disposal, and the skill of his laborers.
In this brief guide, we’ve addressed the search query: “How much does a bale of hay weigh?” Also, we’ve explored what sizes of bales there are, how bales are assembled, what hay is, and how hale is harvested.