When calculating how many square bales of hay per acre you need, there is an easy way to determine your needed amount. By taking into account the length of time for growth, average feed needs, and seasonality, it is possible to know exactly how much hay to buy.
The easiest way to do this is by using the equation found below. If you are looking to add some quality hay to your horses’ diet, then start with buying enough to meet their current nutritional requirements, and use the above formula as a guide to find what they might need in the future.
If your horse is currently eating well and staying healthy, you can skip step 2 completely!
Step 2: Find the average weight gain per month
A second important factor when determining the needed amount of hay per acre is figuring out how fast your horse will grow. Different breeds of horses require different amounts of food to maintain health and size.
Some horses eat more quickly than others, requiring less nutrition overall. A very active young horse requires more frequent feeding times to ensure he does not go hungry.
As such, there are several ways to calculate “average weight gain per month”. You can compute this by averaging the weights of each animal at specific intervals or you can take a monthly average of all the animals.
- 1 Calculating the number of square bales in a crop
- 2 Calculating the number of square bales in a crop based on density
- 3 Calculating the number of square bales in a crop based on volume
- 4 Calculating the number of square bales in a crop based on yield
- 5 Tips for creating a strong bale
- 6 Tips for creating a strong bale
- 7 Factors that affect bale strength
- 8 Factors that affect bale strength
Calculating the number of square bales in a crop
The amount of hay per acre that is needed for your horses depends on two main factors: how tall your horse is, and what kind of pasture or grazing area you have.
The second factor is how much grass your horse can access while eating his/her daily ration of hay. If there’s not enough grass to eat, then he/she will be hungry which could potentially hurt their performance or even cause death.
A lot of times, owners make the mistake of thinking that because they bought an extra bag of hay at the store, their horse has enough food. But buying one bag does not give your horse enough nutrition to keep up with demand!
That is why it is important to know how many square feet of quality forage your horse has access to. A ton of raking and tedding before bedtime will help ensure his/her hunger is satisfied.
There are several ways to calculate this depending on the size of your horse, the season, and whether it’s green season or dry season.
Calculating the number of square bales in a crop based on density
The amount of square bales you have in your hay or forage depends on two main factors: how much dry matter it has and what ratio of mature to immature material there is.
The first factor determines how many bales you can get out of a ton (one thousand pounds) of material-the average dry mass of good quality grasses is around 2%-. This means that every one hundred pounds of material will yield about two pounds of usable feed. So if you had a ton of material, then you could potentially get twenty pound of food per hundred weight!
That’s why high density crops are more efficient- they pack in more nutrition per unit volume. Grasses with higher densities typically are either longer or heavier straw which helps them retain moisture and nutritional value.
A lot of growers prefer shorter, thicker blades because this allows better airflow and therefore faster drying. That way, the plant does not need as long to dry before you cut it off its growth cycle.
Another reason to like longer, thinner leaves is that they take up less room in a bale, making space for new growing shoots to fit into.
Calculating the number of square bales in a crop based on volume
The amount of hay needed per animal depends on how much growth your stock is experiencing, as well as what stage of production you are at for that season.
At the start of spring grazing, grass grows very quickly to ensure it has enough nutrients to survive the winter. This can cause overgrowth of green plants which then needs to be harvested or dried out.
This is where producing cutgrass comes into play! Cutgrass is typically two to three months old pasture and is either sold as feederlots or spread onto new pastures to promote regrowth.
Cutgrass can be expensive depending on the quantity required but will always go up in price as time passes so there are ways to save money by investing early!
By estimating how many square feet of dry hayland you have per acre, we can work backwards to determine how many bales of cutgrass you need per year.
Calculating the number of square bales in a crop based on yield
When calculating how many square bales you have per acre, there is an important factor that most people get confused about!
Yield! The amount of hay produced by your grasses determines how many square bales you will have per acre. More productive hay means more bales per acre!
A very common way to calculate this value is using both % dry matter (DM) and% total green mass as a reference. Both of these parameters are crucial in determining how much biomass or growth your plants contribute to.
The % DM is calculated by taking 100 percent of all plant parts dried and weighing them then dividing that weight by the whole plant part weight. For example, if we were trying to determine the % DM of leafs, we would take all leaves taken out of the plant and weigh them then divide their weight by the total weight of all plant parts – stem, roots, and leaves.
Then, we can do the same for the % total green mass which is just like % DM but instead we use only the weights of the leaves. This makes sense because the rest of the plant does not grow into mature tissue so it does not add biomass to the sample.
Tips for creating a strong bale
When forming bales, how many square bales you have per acre is an important factor in determining whether or not your crop will succeed. If there are too few bales per acre, then farmers cannot protect their crops from hungry livestock very well!
Too many bales can be a problem if cattle feed on the material while it is still soft and bulky. This could cause stomach ulcers which would cost money to treat!
Also, when animals do eat some of the material while it is hard, they may choke on it and need medical attention. More expensive care for them!
There are two main reasons why having too many bales per acre may be a bad thing. The first is that cows may push down harder on bales as they work to chew through them, potentially damaging the bales slightly or even breaking them.
The second reason is that heavier weight bales take longer to create, so fewer bales per acre means more time spent working on fields.
Tips for creating a strong bale
When forming your bale, make sure to pack it tightly together to ensure that all of the needed air is squeezed out. You can use either round or square hay bails depending on what size area you have to work with.
When putting in heavy layerings, try to maintain an even pressure across the whole bale. This helps prevent small areas from being packed too tight which could cause compaction and loss of quality of the hay.
After packing down each layer, let the top layer set for one hour before adding more layers. If done this way, the weight of the next layer will help press-dry the ones below it!
Another important part of packing bales is keeping the wind off them. Use plastic sheeting or blankets to cover up any exposed bales as best you are able.
Factors that affect bale strength
There are several factors that play an important role in how strong your bales will be. As you know, the stronger the bale, the heavier the hay can be stacked before it becomes too heavy to handle or use.
Bale size is one of the most significant factors in determining bale strength. The larger the bale, the weaker they are due to less surface area for binding together. Therefore, if two bales have the same amount of internal content, the smaller bale will be weaker than the bigger bale.
Another factor comes down to the type of hay being cut. Grasses like grass clover or smooth bromes (no hairs) will bind more easily and thusly, strengthen bales over dry crop hays such as alfalfa or timothy.
Last, depending on the climate where the bale is stored, the moisture level of the air surrounding the bale can also effect how well it dries out and therefore, its strength. If the bale does not get enough airflow, it may spoil or mold earlier than necessary.
Factors that affect bale strength
Strength of bales is dependent on several different factors, including number, size, and type of hay used to make them. The amount of hay in a given area also makes a difference!
The length of time it takes for horses to eat their bale feed depends mostly on two things: how much they are eating at one sitting and whether or not they are hungry after their last meal. If you give your horse enough food but no opportunity to refuel, he may hold off on eating until later.
It’s best to have a full stomach when you start feeding bale hay so that your horse doesn’t need to work too hard to consume his ration. Also, making sure your horse is well-fed can help prevent weight loss due to starvation.
This article will talk more about what types of bales are needed for specific situations and why. Make sure to check out our separate article on where to store bale hay before buying new amounts for yours.