How Many Bales Of Hay Per Acre? Starting The Hay Farm Right

rectangle hay bales

Most farmers in the U.S. start off by growing hay instead of trying to grow cash crops the first time around. This is because there is not much risk and capital involved when growing hay. This can also be because it can provide you with a steady cash flow throughout the year without the hassle.

If you plan on growing hay, you need to be in an area where farmers or ranchers will be willing to buy it because they need more fodder for their animals. Of course, you should also have a good quality farmland that can help you get a good amount of hay per acre.

But how many bales of hay should you be able to get in one acre? New hay farmers need to know exactly how many bales of hay per acre their farmland should be able to produce. Otherwise, they will risk losses and will not know if they need to change their methods to increase their yield.

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Why Is It Really Hard To Find Straight Answers?

hay bale on farm

A lot of new farmers get frustrated whenever they try to look for answers online. This is because it is really hard to get a good estimate, and because there are too many variables that you need to consider when growing hay. Keep in mind that different plants can be grown as hay and they all weigh differently.

Another reason why it is very hard to get a reliable estimate is because different areas in the U.S. will get different yield. You will have to factor in how far north or south you are, how much rainfall you are getting, the climate of the area and how fertile is the soil in your farmland.


To help you understand better, it can be very easy for a farmer to say that you should be able to get 500 bales of alfalfa hay per acre. But if you are not using alfalfa, if you are not having the same quality of soil and quantity of rainfall as that farmer, then that answer will basically not apply to you in any way.

Another thing you need to consider is that there are different types of bales. There are rectangular bales and there are also rounded bales. You will not just need to know how many bales of hay per acre you need to produce, you should also know exactly what kind of bale you want to make.

How Many Bales Should I Get Per Acre?

hay bale rolls

To help you out, I have compiled a few estimates that you might find useful especially if you are a new farmer. In general, you can get as much as 5 large rounded hays that have weigh 1000 lbs. each, per acre on average. Some farmers also give a rough estimate of 100 small bales of hay per acre.

If you are trying to grow timothy hay or a mix of timothy and clover or with other grasses, you should get as much as 80-150 square bales of hay in one cutting. Some can even get 200 bales in one cutting especially if there was a good amount of rainfall, followed by a lot of heat prior to cutting.

rectangle hay bale

In western Oregon, farmers can get as little as 62 pieces of 65-pound bales per acre if grown in a low productivity field. And as much as 165 pieces of 85-pound bales per acre if they were grown in an excellent field. Of course, you can expect to get more with the right conditions and with productive soil.

While 100 square bales of hay is a conservative number for those who own rich farm lands, some farms are just not able to produce as much. Some farms can only produce as much as 2 large rounded bales, or 33 square bales. The quantity will also vary with each cutting for the whole year.

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hay bales

Although new farmers can use the estimates I provided as a guide, I highly recommend that you try to discover the correct number of hay that you can get per acre by getting the answer out of your farmland. The only way for you to get a good estimate is to see it for yourself during several cuttings.

If you think that your farmland will not be able to produce enough hay per year, you should not get frustrated right away. In most cases, buyers are going to pay you not in terms of the number of bale, but in terms of actual weight and in terms of how good the quality of your hay is.

Dairy farmers for example, pay hay depending on how it scores on their food value rating system. Horse ranchers are also known to be willing to pay more for good quality hay especially when there is a drought or when they badly need the fodder for their livestock.

Do you grow hay in your farm? Tell us more about how much bales of hay your farm produces per acre in the comment section.

Last update on 2021-01-24 at 10:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the Author Emily Taylor

My name is Emily Taylor, gardening is my passion and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I know that there are millions of people out there want their backyard and garden be attractive just like their front yard, so I am here to help you create your own backyard paradise.

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