It’s a question that most hay farmers have of how many hay bales can you get per acre from one cutting? One hundred small square bales of hay per acre is a healthy figure. At the same time, many factors, including location, crop variety, rainfall, and fertilizer, have a role in deciding the actual quantity.
If you want to grow hay, it’s best to live around farmers or ranchers who are keen to buy it to feed horses or for animal feed, etc. besides this, some have their own horses and seek to grow have as their own feed and forage for their animals.
Most farmers in the United States start farm careers by growing hay instead of cash crops. This is because growing hay is low-risk and low-cost. This could also be because it can supply you with a consistent cash flow throughout the year with less effort. (Read Are Lawn Mower Blades Universal)
But how many bales of hay per acre should you get?
New hay farmers need to know how many bales of hay yield per acre. It can reduce the risk of losing money and how to increase yield.
In our guide, you can learn more about how many bales of hay per acre per cutting you should be able to get. By the end, you’ll see how to calculate, care for and find out if there is money to be made with the small squares you have around your property.
How Many Small Bales Make An Acre?
What is the average percentage of yield you get on each cutting when producing small square bales?
Example: Orchard grass at 50 lb. per bale
1 acre can yield 150 bales per year.
- First Cut = 70 bales
- Second Cut = 50 bales
- Third Cut = 30 bales.
How does yield in bales per acre change from one cutting to the next?
So, in a poor year in a dry environment, it can half and range from 20 square bales per acre in light alfalfa to 500+ bales in heavy alfalfa with 4-5 cuttings per year ideal weather.
Hay yields are affected by climate, hay type, rainfall, soil fertility, and location (north or south).
How Much Hay Does An Acre Produce?
A terrible growing season or a lack of land are two examples of affecting your hay yield.
With this in mind, there is no single correct answer to how many large bales of hay can be produced per acre.
If a large bale is considered as anything weighing between 45 and 60 pounds, the first cutting round might yield 100 bales of hay per acre if the season is right.
We must emphasize the factors affecting the hay yield you can expect, regardless of acreage. (Learn Why Are Lawn Mowers So Loud)
1. Type Of Hay Species
Is your farm specialized in one type of hay or many? You can expect more significant or lesser hay cuttings depending on your crops.
For example, clover, and lucerne, produce low yields, yet you could sow the same amount of fescue and Timothy mix to get more cuttings.
So, why grow clover or lucerne? It’s all about RFV or relative feed value. This scale determines the quality of silages, grass hays, and legumes.
Quality trumps quantity, so you must decide which is more important.
2. Plant Stage Of When You Cut The Crop
During the growing season, hay can be cut three times. The first cut has the most fiber and is where tassels (hay flowers) appear.
After the second cut, hay contains less fiber but more protein, and it is easier to cut.
The third cut is thicker, greener, and offers fewer stems and seeds; it also offers the least fiber content.
Depending on where the hay plant is when cut, you could have a good or bad yield. To get around this, farmers compute the average yield across two seasons.
Weather can be a farmer’s best or worst enemy. Because of the need for water, your hay crops may dry up and perish during a drought, But if it rains for days on end, the deluge might flood the crops and kill them.
Sunlight is also vital to the growth of hay crops. Therefore, you’ll need as much sun as possible during the active growing season. If your growing season is plagued by cloudy days, your yield will be poor.
Many new farmers get irritated when trying to find answers online. This is because it is difficult to estimate, and there are too many variables to consider when growing hay.
Keep in mind that hay is made from various plants that vary in weight.
Another reason it’s difficult to estimate is because different parts of the country will get more yield. Dairy farmers consider how far north or south they are, how much rainfall, temperature, and soil fertility.
A farmer could say you’ll get 500 bales of alfalfa hay per acre. But if you don’t grow alfalfa and don’t have the same soil or rainfall, it won’t apply.
Bale type is also a consideration, as now there are many. There are rectangle bales and round bales. You need to know how many hay bales per acre and what kind of bale you want to make.
How do you feed your hay crops? The answer to this question determines the number of bales of hay per acre.
Plant hay species in organically rich soil. Then, throughout the season, feed the crops with a balanced fertilizer containing potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen. A natural solution would require around two tons of hen manure, but finding this much could be challenging.
6. Growing Season Length
Growing hay is a more conducive pastime in some places than others. For example, some regions have shorter hay growing seasons, and such farmers may only get to cut hay twice before the season ends, thus reducing their hay yield. (Read Coco Liner Alternative)
How Many Bales of Hay Can You Get from 50 Acres?
In ideal conditions, an acre of land may yield 100 small square bales of hay weighing around 45 lbs. each is a conservative number. 100 bales of hay may be enough for a modest operation, but many hay importers and exporters need more.
This is an example of elementary math. If an acre of land yields 100 bales of hay, 50 acres will yield 5,000 bales.
Remember that 50 acres can yield 285 regular round bales.
Weather, fertilizer, and the length of the hay growing season affect your overall yield.
How Many Round Bales Are In An Acre?
How many round bales can you get off one acre?
One tonne of hay equals an average of 40/45 bales or 4 to 5 round bales, and one acre would yield approx two tonnes of hay.
Similarly, you could wonder how many bales of hay you can harvest from three acres.
Around five large rounded hay bales weighing 1000 lbs. each can be gotten per acre on average. However, some farmers also give a rough estimate of 100 tiny bales of hay per acre.
Is Farming Hay Profitable?
Is growing hay profitable? You will get over three years, but using three years average, that’s about $100 per acre per year.
If you get $125 per ton for quality hay, you will see a profit of $51 per ton, or $204 per acre.
Of course, this is a supply/demand scenario unless you are growing for yourself.
Large round bales of hay sell for $75 to $90 per ton higher than previously. One in particular are the alfalfa-grade hay bales, which are priced between $140 and $165 per ton
Mid-quality grass hay bales sell for $125 to $150 per ton.
How much does a 4 by 5 round bale weigh?
The weight of the grass bales in the table would range from 563 to 1,584 pounds if they all had the same density. The bale size of a 4′ 4′ bale is just 51% that of a 5′ 5′ bale. (Learn How to Build a Straw Bale Garden)
How much hay can you grow on an acre?
On 50 acres, you’ll get 100 square bales per acre yield, which is a conservative number.
This works out to be 100 bales x 50 acres = 5000.
How many pounds is a bale of hay?
- The average weight of two string bales of grass hay is 45 to 55 pounds. 60 to 70 lbs. of 2-string alfalfa with good leaf retention and 12 – 16 percent moisture.
- In Alfalfa, 3-string bales can weigh up to 110 pounds, whereas good Bermuda grass hay can weigh 90 pounds.
- There are also large bales that may hold up to a ton of material.
How much does alfalfa sell for?
May’s Alfalfa Hay price of $189/ton is the highest since October 2014 and is up to $5/ton from April. A year ago, the May price was $32. Since December, Alfalfa Hay has risen by $40 per ton. Annual alfalfa prices typically peak in April or May.