The Importance of Hay Bale Dimensions
As farmers across the country know, haying plays a critical role in keeping production up and running throughout the year. To get the most out of their hay bales, though, producers must first consider what dimensions are best for their farm. The dimensions, density, and weight of hay bales have a major impact on nutrient content, value for being bought and sold, cost of feeding livestock, and how easily they can be transported and stored. In other words, if farmers are to get the most out of their time and effort, they should decide whether small or large hay bales are right for them.
Small Hay Bales
While many farmers might assume that baling a large amount of hay at one time is the best use of resources, this is not the case for many. For those feeding a small amount of livestock, small, square hay bales are recommended as they can be easily carried by hand – dimensions of these bales, held together by three strings, is around 16” high x 22” wide x 44” long and usually weighs 100 lbs. More common, though, are two-string bales which usually measure around 14” high x 18” wide x 35” long and weigh 50-60 lbs. Achieving desired dimensions can be achieved by adjusting the settings on one’s square baler equipment.
If fed twice a day, a small square with these dimensions is expected to feed one horse for a week. As approximately 10-12 square bales make one round bale, these dimensions are best for small farms in order to reduce waste.
Large Hay Bales
While small, square hay bales offer several benefits, they are not necessarily the right choice for larger farms due to time that would be spent baling a more significant amount of hay. Large, round bales of hay are an ideal choice for farms with a large population of livestock – this is thanks to a capacity to feed multiple cows at once. Measuring 5ft x 6ft and weighing around 1500 lbs., hay bales of these dimensions ensure that farmers spend less time and money creating the bale.
Assuming each animal consumes 32.5 lbs per day, five large hay bales at 5ft x 6ft are expected to feel approximately 30 cows per week.