How to Determine the Weight of a Round Bale of Hay

Round bales can vary greatly in size. A scale is needed to accurately weigh them.
Round bales can vary greatly in size. A scale is needed to accurately weigh them. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Round bales of hay can vary greatly in weight. It may be important to know the weight of a bale since they are often sold based on dollars per ton. Knowing the weight may also help determine how much access to it the animals that it is intended for should have. The weight of the bale will vary depending on the type of hay, moisture content, the type and brand of baler used, how tightly the bale was baled and the skill of the operator who baled it.

Things You'll Need

  • Truck
  • Trailer
  • Hay bale
  • Tractor with grapples

Weigh your truck and trailer prior to loading the hay bale on it. If the hay bale will fit in the bed of the truck, you will not need to use a trailer. Record the empty weight of the entire unit. If you do not know where to find a scale that is large enough to weigh the truck and trailer, look for truck stops with commercial scales, government-run scale houses used for weighing semi-trucks or grain elevators and terminals; these places usually have scales capable of weighing many tons. Most of these places will allow you to weigh the unit for a small fee.

Load the round bale on the truck or the trailer with the grapples of the tractor. Tie the round bale securely to the deck using at least two heavy-duty tie-down straps that are rated to hold up to 3000 pounds. Because you don't know how much the bale weighs, tying it down with heavy-duty straps will maintain load security. In the event of an accident or a sudden stop, the round bale will not roll off the surface of the truck or trailer.

Return to the scale with the loaded round bale and re-weigh the entire truck and trailer. Calculate the weight of the bale by subtracting the truck and trailer's empty weight from the truck and trailer's loaded weight. The resulting number will be the weight of the round bale.

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