As I have just become a proud horse owner, the next thing I was concerned about was feeding this beautiful creature. I have no pasture for horses to graze on, so, it started to bother me how much hay horses eat? How much does a round bale of hay cost? All these questions needed answering, I went on a quest to find some.
Horses consume about 1% to 2.5% of their body weight, the horse I bought weighs 1000 pounds, so it would eat about 25 pounds of hay. The first query solved, I was on to the next one, round hay bale cost. I am not involved in the haymaking operations or associated with baling of any sort. Therefore, I knew little about the costs of a round bale of hay.
I had been wanting to own a horse ever since I can remember, with no previous association with livestock it has gotten a bit difficult getting my head wrapped around all the information required to raise a horse. Finding round hay bale cost was by far the most difficult as it was hard to get to a definitive figure.
After thorough research that took me 3 days to reach a conclusion, here I am all ready to share it all with you. With the hope that the readers will benefit from it. So, without further ado, let’s get to the details.
How Much Does a Round Hay Bale Cost?
Even the horse owners with well-developed pasture resort to buying a cut of hay for fodder inventory during the spell of dry weather. The average cost of a hay bale is about 8 dollars, however, this price fluctuates in relation to demand, location, season, climate, and type of hay. Round hay bale weight also puts a great impact.
The quality of hay affects prices as much as it has an impact on nutrients supply. Nutrient-rich hay will cost more than standard hay. For instance, a horse owner can not expect grass hay and alfalfa bale to have the same purchase price. Here’s a price breakdown of different types of hay bales.
- Alfalfa – Alfalfa is one of the sought-after hay types for its nutrients content. Therefore, it is expensive than most hay types. It may cost $19.95 apiece. Read a guide on How Many Alfalfa Cubes Equal a Flake?
- Bermudagrass – If the horse is getting essential supplements from other sources as well, feed them Bermudagrass instead of purchasing expensive hay. Available in the price range of $8.75 – $14.99
- Timothy – Timothy is in demand and bought by thousands of livestock farmers regularly. Therefore, it is sold at a higher price of about $21.99.
These average prices are estimated from different online hay selling platforms, you may find bales of the above-mentioned hay types at different prices locally.
Hay Bale Prices By Ton
If you have purchased hay before, you must be aware that it is either bought by bale or weight. As per hay grade, a buyer pays different prices for each grade. Here is an estimated price of hay bale according to hay grade.
- Prime – A Prime large round hay would cost about $154 per ton. The purchase price for this type of hay starts from $120 and goes up to $178.
- Grade 1 – A Grade 1 hay bale may cost around $170 per ton.
- Grade 2 – A Grade 2 hay bale would go from $80 to $170. However, the estimated average price per ton is $118.
- Grade 3 – An average cost for Grade 3 hay bale per ton would be about $92, $50 being the minimum and $170 being the maximum.
As you have witnessed that prices vary for each grade, if the hay type was also in consideration, the prices would have fluctuated even more. For instance, alfalfa is more expensive as it supplies better quality and denser hay.
How To Get Hay Bales At Affordable Prices?
With all the expenses of keeping a horse, most equine keepers are always on the lookout for hacks and tricks to cut down on upkeep costs. There is one way with which you can minimize the feeding cost to some extent.
If the horse is being fed on hay alone, it is advised to buy in bulk. Buying in bulk gets you a good deal and huge discounts. You can bargain for some extra bucks off for each bale. Secondly, try to buy hay directly from farmers. Hay bales sold in feed stores are generally expensive than the ones bought directly.
Is High-Quality Hay Expensive?
Yes, high-quality hay is definitely. Even the same type of hay can have different purchase prices due to the hay cutting. Time of cutting affects prices and quality.
The third, fourth, or fifth cuttings not only excel in quality but also are leafier and cut with better drying conditions. The first and second cuttings can have just as good quality relative to the hay itself and the quality analysis.
Where to buy it?
If you can not find better hay locally, it is good to buy hay online. You can get good deals, avail discounts which is almost impossible to get in retail stores. Here are some organizations selling hay online.
- Core Feed – Based in Folsom, Louisiana, Core Feed offers affordable prices on most commonly fed hay like Alfalfa and Bermudagrass.
- Tractor Supply – Known as best sellers for quality hay. Provided by Standlee, Tractor Supply offers huge discounts on bulk purchases.
- Hay Exchange – A platform that encourages farmers to list hay at affordable prices. You are saving a lot of dollars when buying from Hay Exchange.
Factors That Influence Round Hay Bale Cost
It is difficult to get a definitive number as many factors play determinants. The first question that comes to the mind of a potential buyer is how much a particular hay type cost? Prices for each hay type and grade vary depending on the following factors.
High-quality, nutritious hay types fetch more prices than low-quality hay. Multiple hay types are sold at different types. Alfalfa is a bit costly than most hay types. Bermuda grass hay can be bought at a lower price.
Prices of the same hay type differ as per the hay grades. Different grades of Alfalfa or Bermudagrass would have a different price each. The purpose of grading is to reflect the hay quality.
Type Of Foliage
Hay bales are composed of different types of vegetation, therefore, the type of foliage used to make the hay bale has a significant impact on the cost of a bale. Hay flake’s quality also matters a lot.
The time of year it is bought affects the prices to a greater extent. Generally, hay bales are more in demand during the dry weather, winter, or when there is not enough pasture to graze.
Each state or area has different prices set for square and round hay bale. It also depends on the demand for hay in the area as well. The prices mentioned above may vary slightly based on the location.
Putting it all together, Foliage, an indispensable part of a horse’s diet, is necessary when there is not sufficient grass available or pasture to graze on. Therefore, hay is a primary food source. Hay prices vary significantly for different types of hay. Buy in bulk to get an affordable price and store them to use throughout the year.