More Hay Arrives

Most of the hay we use comes to us in round bales of 800, 1200 or 1600 lbs. This is one of those tasks that the tractor makes soooo much easier. If I didn’t have the tractor we would only use the 40 to 60 lb small square bales. We put hay out every few days rather than every day but it averages to about 450 lbs per day. That’s about 10 square bales a day. Doable.

Ease of putting the hay out is not the only reason I use the round bales as much as possible. The big round bales cost significantly less than the small square bales. Round bales are $25 to $40 per bale or about $60 per ton. Square bales are $3.50 to $4 per bale or about $160 per ton. We still use some square bales but having the round bales saves a lot.

Lastly, the round bales come to us wrapped, have a higher moisture content and have fermented a little bit making them that much more digestible for the pigs. That’s a bonus.

The disadvantage of the round bales is dealing with the wrapping materials. I don’t like all that plastic. I still have to figure out some grand way to reuse it… On my to-do list.

We got two big truck loads of hay today. Round bales, ten to a truck. Big truck, big bales. Don’t meet him on the road coming up the mountain!

I think he didn’t carry more per load because the weather was making the roads a bit iffy. I’m glad he didn’t slip on the hill. As usual, truckers try to make their deliveries in the morning before the sun hits the road which helps especially when conditions are warmer.

Unloading is easy because we live on a back road with few cars coming by. We simply flip the bales off the side of the truck and the tractor trailer truck drives away. That leaves a lane between the bales for cars to pass incase any come by before I get the bales put away.

I then used the tractor and a chain to pickup the bales and stack them. I’ve gotten good enough with the technique that I didn’t mung or rip any of the bale wrappers. Last fall the loads of bales came in so fast that I rushed and ripped several in my effort to speedily get them out of the road. Fortunately our cold weather makes that not a big issue and I just fed those out first.

Delivering Hay

Once the hay was cleared off the road it was time to move out some to each of the herd areas. The pigs and sheep were glad to see the new hay.

Outdoors: 33°F/11°F Overcast, 3″ Snow
Farm House: 57°F/53°F Sorted pigs who self-loaded, Received 20 round bales, 3 put out
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/55°F

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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6 Responses to More Hay Arrives

  1. John Collis says:

    The cheapest three twine bales around here go for $14 to $17 dollars a bale. That’s if you can find any.

  2. h1970hu says:

    It is possible to make bales with baling twine only(without plastic cover)

  3. Quatrefoil says:

    I’m proud to say that I believe the round hay bales to be an Australian invention!

  4. Yes, we can get covered or uncovered bales. The problem with uncovered is two fold:

    1) We get hay deliveries in the fall before the rains stop and we have no barns. Tarps would work if they don’t get destroyed by the high winds – an experience we’ve had repeatedly. My solution to that has been to crank ropes down tight over the tarps to tighten them.

    2) Covered bales ferment a little and the uncovered ones dry out (as long as they don’t get out in the rain). This is fine for some animals but the pigs have somewhat of a preference for the covered bales.

    Quatrefoil, cool – I hadn’t realized that.

  5. JeffM says:

    Walter, I was wondering what are the dimensions of the hay bales?
    Our local papers has several farmers selling 4×4 and 4×5 round bales. How does that compare with what your getting?


  6. Jeff, Most of the bales are 4×4 but some batches are a bit bigger which may be the 4×5. I can feel the difference in weight when we hand roll them as well as when the tractor is picking them up.

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