How Much Does a Bale of Straw Weigh? (See Our

Many factors determine how much a bale of hay weighs, including whether it’s square or round, the type of hay, whether it’s first or third cut, the moisture levels, and so much more

So, to determine the average weight of one of your hay bales, you’ll have to take a step back and look at the details

With these ideas in mind, let’s look at some of the vital things you need to know about how much hay bales weigh

I’ll give you an overview of the average weight range for most standard hay bale sizes, tell you about specific weights depending on the material and size, and teach you a bit more about lifting and moving hay bales

What’s Inside:The Factors That Affect How Heavy a Bale of Hay IsThe TensionThe Moisture Levels in the HayTypes of Hay Bales by WeightHow Much Do Small Square Bales Weigh?How Much Does a Three String Hay Bale Weigh?How Much Does a Round Bale of Hay Weigh?How Much Do Big Squares Weigh?How Heavy Is a 3x3x8 Square Hay Bale?How Much Do 3×4 Square Hay Bales Weigh?How Much Do 4×4 Square Hay Bales Weigh?My Hay Weighing HistoryFrequently Asked Questions (FAQ)Weighing Hay Bales – One Straw at a Time!More Reading on Homesteading With Hay:

Hay Bale Weights: An Overview

Before we get into the details, here’s a bit of info on the average weights you can expect from the most common sizes of bales of hay:

Hay Bale Size and TypeAverage WeightAverage Weight of Light Grass (lightest)Average Weight of Third-Cut Alfalfa (heaviest)Small Square Hay Bales45 to 85 lbs45 lbs85 lbsThree-String Hay Bales100 to 145 lbs100 lbs145 lbsRound Hay Bales700 to 900 lbs700 lbs1,900 lbs3x3x8 Square Hay Bales900 to 1,100 lbs880 lbs1,100 lbs3x4x8 Square Hay Bales1,100 to 1,500 lbs900 lbs1,500 lbs4x4x8 Square Hay Bales1,320 to 1,800 lbs1,320 lbs2,000 lbs

The Factors That Affect How Heavy a Bale of Hay Is

Hay bale weights will always vary, even from the same harvest and baler

Hay bales come in all sizes and weights, so you might need to ask yourself some questions when determining how heavy your hay bale will be

For example, on average, the lightest hay bales weigh less than 45 pounds, and the biggest weigh over a ton!

The weight of hay bales varies

What’s inside the hay bale?

Is it straw, grass, first-cutting, second-cutting, or third-cutting alfalfa?

Grass hay bales are lighter and leaner than other grasses

Alfalfa hay bales are usually at least 20% heavier than their straw and grass counterparts

In addition, the cut of the hay bale will make a significant impact on how heavy it is

First-cut alfalfa is usually lighter than third-cut, and second-cuts fall between those weight ranges

The Bale Size

Also – there is no standard-size bale of hay

The size depends on a few factors

What type of hay bale is it?

Is it a small square, three-string, round bale, a three-by-three, three-by-four, or one of the big boys, a four-by-four?

The tension will determine how much hay has made it into that bale

Higher tension means more grass per square foot, while low tension means less hay per parcel

However, you’ll be able to tell how much tension is in a hay bale by its weight

The Moisture Levels in the Hay

And finally, maybe the most critical consideration of all, at least with small square bales you’re stacking by hand: what time is it?

Humidity and water significantly affect how heavy your hay will be

Whether round or square, hay bales will be much heavier after accumulating moisture from the atmosphere

So, avoid moving your hay when it’s raining, foggy, or early morning when dew will appear on the bales

If you are committed to only moving hay when it’s at its lightest – like I am – you can always use a hay moisture meter to gauge the humidity in your bales

Types of Hay Bales by Weight

Storing bales of hay outdoors results in uncertain loss of physical matter

In other words – your bales may lose weight after long-term storage

Variables like rain, snow, frost, humidity, ground cover, hay moisture, and spacing impact the total amount of hay bale loss

Let’s analyze a wide variety of hay bale and packaging styles, starting with how much square and round hay bales weigh

We’ll also brainstorm variables that help determine the weight of different hay bale types

How Much Do Small Square Bales Weigh?

Small square bales can weigh from 45 pounds for light grass hay to 85-pound third-cutting alfalfa bales

How much a square bale of hay weighs is all in the tension settings

The higher the pressure, the heavier the bale

Because of their lighter weight, most equestrians like light grass and small square hay bales

They’re easier to handle, simpler to measure out to their horses, and generally dryer than heavier packed bales

However, light grass square bales don’t stack well with a bale wagon

How Much Does a Three String Hay Bale Weigh?

The next size is the three-string bale

On average, a three-string hay bale weighs between 100 lbs and 145 lbs, with lighter grasses being the most lightweight and third-cutting alfalfa being the heaviest

The pressure in the bale also plays a role in its overall weight

A standard first-cutting alfalfa three-string hay bale weighs about 125 pounds

Second-cutting with a few more leaves and a few fewer stems can weigh up to 135 pounds, and the heavily leafed third-cutting hay tips the scales around 145 pounds

How Much Does a Round Bale of Hay Weigh?

Many commercial operations use big round hay bales

These bales unroll behind a truck or tractor with a bale spear and work best with grass hay or first-cutting alfalfa

Most medium-sized round hay bales weigh between 700 and 900 lbs

However, large round hay bales over 5 feet tall can weigh around 1700 lbs

Tension, grass density, and alfalfa or clover in the mix significantly affect total weight

Timothy or orchard grass makes premium grass hay in a large round bale and is considered by many the best grass you can feed livestock, particularly horses

These round hay bales usually weigh the most out of all the round bales

How Much Do Big Squares Weigh?

Different farmers worldwide process their hay in different heights and dimensions

That’s another reason it’s difficult to say whether a bale of hay weighs 100 pounds – or 1,000!

The big square hay bales come in three varieties; 3x3x8, 3x4x8, and 4x4x8

How Heavy Is a 3x3x8 Square Hay Bale?

A 3×3 square bale of hay weighs between 880 to 1,100 lbs on average

A good mix of 40% grass and 60% alfalfa in a first cutting 3×3 will weigh less than 1,000 pounds

Straight, third-cutting hay can tip the scales at 1,100 pounds if packed correctly with perfect moisture content

The 3x4x8 bale has become a favorite for many reasons

It packs a lot of hay into one easily portable package and stacks easily with a utility tractor

A 3x4x8 hay bale weighs between 1,100 and 1,500 lbs when it consists of alfalfa, but lighter grass bales of this size are usually around 900 lbs

A first-cutting 3x4x8 alfalfa bale can weigh between 1,100 and 1,400 pounds

Second-cutting weighs a bit more since there are more leaves and lighter stems than the first

More leaves pack tighter creating a bale that weighs 1,150 to 1,450 pounds

Third-cutting hay is dangerous for feeding cattle

Cattle can bloat on third-cutting forage hay and require bloat blocks and special feeding precautions

Read More – What’s the Best Hay for Goats?

Read Our Hay Goat Guide!

Your livestock love to eat alfalfa and hay bales by the ton

But there’s no way you can weigh these hay bales

The 4x4x8 bale of hay is the largest square bale on the market

Often referred to as one-ton bales, they don’t usually come in that heavy

A 4x4x8 square hay bale weighs between 1,320 and 2,000 lbs

A 4×4 first-cutting bale comes in around 1,650 pounds on average

A second-cutting 4×4 is usually about 1,800 pounds and packs in nice tight blocks

The heaviest bales you can purchase are third-cutting 4×4 bales

They can weigh a ton or slightly more

The high concentration of leaves, with fewer stems, packs a very tight bale

The more compact the bale, the lighter the weight!

(Although, the tightly-packed bales seem denser )

Third-cutting bales can tip or roll a smaller tractor or lift the rear end off the ground if you don’t have tractor weights attached

After the small and three-string bales, if you have a size two hat and a size 50 shirt, everything else depends on machinery to stack, move and feed

Hay is the largest commodity for feeding livestock, but it can vary in size – especially in weight

My Hay Weighing History

You never know how much the bale of hay weighs until you see it with your own eyes

Not even the farmer may know the correct weight – unless they throw the hay bale on a scale!

I’ve been around hay bales for a long time, and my back can attest to that experience

He purchased a bale wagon when I headed off to college

Those small square bales were heavy

Wire tire balers are a rarity these days with the high cost of steel

You could set the tension on a wire tie baler so high it would pop shear pins like popcorn, but they made very hard, heavy, easy-to-stack hay bales

From that, I’ve learned that hay bales packed with twine and sisal are easier to lift than wire-tied bales, even if they have a bit less hay per square foot

Although you might want as much hay as you can get per square foot of your bale, getting a bale that’s a bit lighter has its perks

Stacking, tossing, and moving these bales is loads easier, so if you are concerned about moving your hay, try to pick a lighter option with less tension

In addition, when purchasing hay, be sure you are buying it by the pound

Since so many variables determine how heavy your bale of hay will be, size isn’t the best determinant for price

Read More – How Much Hay Do Cows Need During Cold Winters?

As a veteran hay mover, baler, and enthusiast, I’ve heard a lot of questions about how much hay bales weigh in my day

How Many Square Bales Equals a Round Bale of Hay?

On average, a round bale of hay equals between 15 and 20 square bales

However, while round bales generally have more hay than small square bales, 4x4x8 square bales are usually heavier than one large round bale

Is It Cheaper To Buy Round Bales or Square Bales?

It is usually cheaper to buy round bales than square bales

Buying your hay in bulk with a round bale offers a discount, but you’ll still have to transport that round bale, which might cost you extra

Weighing Hay Bales – One Straw at a Time!

We know that weighing hay bales is a lot of work

It’s also tricky to know how much your hay bale will weigh without throwing it on a scale yourself

So, knowing what weight to expect from your hay bales can help ensure you have the tools (and muscle) to stack and store them

If you have questions, feedback, or tips about hay bale weight, please share them!

More Reading on Homesteading With Hay:

Or Any Day!My Straw Bale Gardening Experiment [With Photos! ]How Much Hay to Feed Your Cows in the Winter?

This Much!The Best Hay for Goats in Their Heyday

This Much!The Best Hay for Goats in Their Heyday

Randy Tucker

Randy Tucker is a freelance writer in Central Wyoming

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Farmers usually use the grazing pastures benefits as a typical diet for their animals

As a result, their diet will change, so you should feed animals with hay instead of fresh grass

In such a situation, it is necessary to provide a sufficient hay amount to feed animals in winter

For that, you need to know how much does a bale of hay weighs

Only that way can you estimate how many hay bales will be necessary to feed your animals throughout the cold period and which hay storage area size to provide

Table of ContentsWhat Is Hay?Hay CategoriesHay Bale Weights and SizesHay Bale PriceSummary

Hay is dried and mowed grass, legumes, and other herbaceous plants you can use to feed grazing animals, like:

These animals are ruminants, and their digestive system is excellent at processing plant materials

However, some plant parts are heavier to digest than others

For instance, the soft green leafy parts of the plant are much easier to digest

Therefore, you need to pay attention to how fast the grass grows and mow it before it becomes hard and too tall

The best option is to bale the hay after mowing to make it easier to transport and store

You can use wire, twine, plastic wrap, or net to hold bales together

They can be of different sizes and shapes but are typically round or rectangular

You can choose the shape and size of the bale as you see fit, based on the needs and storage space available to you

Hay Categories

You can use different hay categories to feed your livestock, like:


This hay category has low protein, amino acids, and lysine levels but is rich in fiber

Timothy grass

Fruit grass

Timothy grass is best mowed before flowering because it has the most nutrients in that period

The best option is to cut Bermuda grass approximately 4 to 5 times a year

This hay type is rich in vitamin A, calcium, and valuable nutrients

Alfalfa is the most popular legume and is extremely widespread throughout the US

Although it is similar to grass due to its long fiber, it is almost three times richer in calcium and twice as rich in protein

It is ideal for feeding both working and young animals

It is best to mow these plants while still green to make animals digest them more efficiently

Legume and grass blend

This mixture is the best option for animals to get a balanced and healthy diet

The grass is rich in fiber, and legumes are rich in nutrients, calcium, and vitamin A

Hay Bale Weights and Sizes

The hay bale weight varies depending on the density and size

The baler packs hay in bales of particular dimensions without precisely determining their weight

Basically, the hay’s moisture percentage and plant types will directly affect weight

For instance, a timothy hay bale is about 15% lighter than an alfalfa bale

The acceptable moisture percentage for square hay bales is about 22%, while the moisture of approximately 18% is suitable for round bales

The too high moisture content of the hay bale will allow the fast growth of microorganisms inside it

Round hay bales

Since they started appearing 40 years ago, round bales have become the most popular type among farmers

Round bales Weight & Size

Loading these bales is quicker with the help of a tractor with a special attachment with spikes

Remember that short-distance transport involves special wagons or trailers

However, their long-distance transportation is not that simple

Round bales are difficult to secure due to their shape, so they often fall off trucks and cause traffic accidents

Small square hay bales

Small square bales have been in use for more than a century

They are popular wherever smaller hay amounts are needed

You can recognize three types of small square hay bales, including:

Two string small square hay bales –This bale type has been present for many years

They are easy to use and don’t require any special handling equipment

Three string small square hay bales – These bales’ weight is twice the two string bales’ weight because they are denser and slightly larger

This bale type is suitable for long-distance transport because its density reduces transport costs

Square hay bales Size & Weight





Three string bale

Three string bale

Three string bale

Three string bale

High-density bale

High-density bale

Half ton bale

One ton bale

High-density small square hay bales – Such a bale requires a bale press or a bale compression system

This press compacts hay from ordinary bales until getting two to three times heavier bales than usual ones of the same size

Large square hay bales 

Large square hay bales have existed for about 40 years

They are ideal for storage because they are easy to stack and are also suitable for transport

However, it is necessary to use forklifts for loading and storage due to their size

Hay Bale Price

When planning to purchase hay for your animals, in addition to weight, you need to know the hay bale price

The price is affected by several factors

Hay bale price per ton

Hay grade

Bale type

Average price

Small square

Small square

Small square

Large round

Large round

Large round

Large square

Large square

Large square

Hay type

Hay type

The most important factor influencing the price is the plant’s type in the hay bale

Interestingly, although alfalfa hay is excellent and most popular, timothy hay is still the most expensive

Bermudagrass hay is not so popular, and you can get it at the most affordable price

Hay quality

Hay quality is essential for animal nutrition

Since grades from 1 to 3 determine its quality, you should know that the 1st-grade hay means the best quality

On the other hand, the 3rd-grade is for hay of the lowest quality

There is no official standard for assessing hay quality, but the following characteristics determine the grade height:

Most farmers look for hay high in protein that provides a lot of calories and energy for the animals

Plant type 

The type of hay plants affects the price you will pay for a bale

Timothy and bermudagrass hay are grass hays, while alfalfa is a legume and this hay is richer in protein

Timothy hay will cost you $20 to $22 per bale, depending on the manufacturer

The bermudagrass hay price is more affordable, ranging from $875 to $15 per bale, although they are in a similar category

The alfalfa bale price is even, from $1995 to $20

Another factor that significantly affects the hay price is the season or the mowing hay time

During the season, the price you will pay for a bale of hay is much lower than out of mowing season

In other words, you will spend two to three times more money for the same quality hay bale offseason

Many factors affect the hay bale weight

For instance, hay bale coming directly from the field is thicker and heavier because it contains more moisture

Mature hay has more stems than leaves, so the hay bale is lighter and not so dense

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