Hay Bales

Storybooks and movies show hay as small rectangular bales that strong farmers effortlessly toss around, and that’s typically what people think of from the time they are a small child.

Of course, as you grew up, you probably started to notice something. When driving in rural areas, the fields are often dotted with much larger bales of hay that are rounded. Have you ever wondered why?

As it turns out, the two distinct ways of baling hay have their own advantages.

Rectangular Hay Bales

The rectangular hay bales you got use to seeing in your movies and books as a child have been the most common method of baling hay practically since baling hay was invented.

Weighing between 40 and 50 pounds each, rectangular hay bales are relatively easy to move manually if someone is strong and able-bodied. They fit easily into the backs of pickup trucks, stack up nicely in barns, and are easy to pull apart for animals.

However, because there is no equipment for making small bales, creating them actually takes more labor than building large ones. Small bales also take longer to dry, which means they aren’t a good choice for farms that have a high demand for hay.

Most often, small hay bales are best for family farms with few animals and enough family members to help with the baling process.

Round Hay Bales

The large, round bales of hay that you typically see on rolling farmlands during long drives only started being produced in the last 40 years or so.

These bales are known as ton bales, and although they don’t weigh quite that much, they are still very heavy at 800 to more than 1,500 pounds each. Large bales are made using special equipment, and some have even started making large square bales.

Regardless of the shape of the large ones, they are the best choice for large farms that have lots of animals and plenty of hay bale moving equipment to transport them from the fields to the barns.

Ton bales are also a good choice because they takes less time to dry, and since they pack more densely, they are less likely to rot due to moisture getting inside of them.

Whether a farm uses rectangular or round bales, choosing the right way to move them is important.

Always buy farm equipment from reputable dealers who are licensed, insured, and have outstanding reviews and excellent customer service ratings.

Don’t forget to ask about payment plans and return policies, since equipment is often expensive and it can be hard to see how well it works for you without testing it first.

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Rectangular vs. Barrel: The Differences in Hay Bales and Why It Matters 1