How Long Have Large round Bales of Hay Been Around?
Farmers who grow hay can bale it in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending upon the particular baling equipment they purchase. Older balers produced square or rectangular bales of varying sizes. Smaller square or rectangular bales of hay weigh between 40-50 pounds each.
In the last 40 years or so, balers that produce very large round bales have become much more common. These “ton bales,” as they are often known, can weigh anywhere from 800 to over 1,500 pounds.
To make things even more complicated, balers have also been invented that can bale large “ton bales” in a square or rectangular shape.
Large round bales require less time between cutting and baling, since they tend to be packed more densely and are more moisture-resistant due to their shape.
They are also more economic, since they require less manpower to produce. Large round bales can often be transported and stored by one person using a tractor.
Large farms with hundreds of animals require huge amounts of hay. For these farms, large bales also allow the hay to begin to ferment naturally, which can prolong its use by preventing rot and mold.
So when you see different types of bales of hay in fields, remember that many factors have played a role in determining the type and size of bales to produce.
Some farmers make their decisions based upon their own animals they need to feed, while others may make their choices based upon the clients they serve.