How Much Does A Bale Of Hay Cost?

Last Updated on December 27, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

As a farmer who takes care of livestock such as sheep, horses, goats, or cattle, you will need large amounts of hay supplies for their daily diet. Also, if you have a pet like a hamster, guinea pig, or rabbit you will have to provide it with hay as well. In this article we are going to talk about the costs of different types of hay, to give you an idea of how much you should budget for this animal feed.

How Much Does A Bale Of Hay Cost?

If you would like to buy square bales of hay, expect to pay around $8 for an average grass bale of hay with no alfalfa, while for the alfalfa hay, you will have to pay around $11 per bale. The cost of a bale of hay will depend on the size of the bale, shape, quantity, and the quality hay, but also on location.

Larger bales, e.g. large round bales that are 4 feet wide by 4 feet tall, are more efficient and less costly for farmers to produce per pound than small square bales. Larger bales sell for a lower price per pound.

Square bales are more labor intensive for farmers to make and require more storage space, so they tend to be more expensive than round or rectangular bales, as they require less work. Round hay bales roll easily for moving and stacking.

The price of a bale of hay changes a lot and very fast through time. There are different types of hay you can choose from and their prices vary significantly. For example, according to the Internet Hay Exchange website, the price of hay is around $124 per ton, while for Alfalfa you will have to pay around $211 per ton.

You might also like our articles on the cost of a bale of cotton, a pole barn, or a donkey.

There are people who need to purchase smaller quantities of hay for their beloved pets. The daily diet of some animals like rabbits, hamsters, or guinea pigs includes hay. Expect to pay around $45 for a 25-lb. bag of hay from an online pet shop, including shipping. This means that one pound of hay would cost around $1.8.

Hay prices vary widely depending on the quality. Premium hay, such as fine, green, leafy alfalfa commands much higher prices than grass mixes or feed-grade hay which contains more sticks/debris. Prime hay is more nutritious and preferred for the horse needs. Other types of hay commonly bought as forage by horse owners include timothy grass, alfalfa, Bermuda grass, and orchard grass, among others. They also love oats, as they are relatively low in fiber but high in carbohydrates, providing readily available energy.

Prime hay is harvested when at peak nutrition. Prime hay is harvested and handled carefully from the pasture to retain leaves/flowers and prevent excess crushing or bruising of stems. The softer texture of prime hay also supports consumption and digestibility.

In many areas, hay costs in 2022 increased anywhere from 30-60% over normal average years, resulting in per-ton retail hay costs ranging from $200 to as high as $400+ for a ton.

Cost of grass hay and alfalfa hay by location

The cost of hay is greatly influenced by your location. In the table below you will find the average costs per ton for grass hay and alfalfa hay in different states of America, according to the USDA.

State Grass Hay Alfalfa
Wyoming $190 to $200 $95 to $205
Wisconsin $80 to $120 $105 to $190
Washington $230 to $240 $175 to $230
Texas $50 to $330 $200 to $280
South Dakota $63 to $185 $88 to $225
Pennsylvania $100 to $370 $205 to $365
Oregon $230 to $275 $175 to $250
Oklahoma N/A $140 to $150
New Mexico N/A $190 to $300
Nebraska $70 to $150 $90 to $180
Montana $75 to $85 $90 to $180
Missouri $60 to $120 $100 to $225
Minnesota $45 to $145 $93 to $235
Kansas $75 to $125 $95 to $375
Iowa $75 to $185 $93 to $300
Idaho $150 $165 to $195
Colorado $140 $180 to $260
California $300 $175 to $320
Alabama $80 to $320 $100 to $350

As you can see, there are some states with no prices listed. Though, here are some prices offered by the suppliers from some of these locations.

We also found one company in Florida that has hay for sale. Below you will find the prices per ton charged by this company.

Martin’s Larsen Farms – 270 W County Road 466, Oxford, FL

            Conventional Bales

  • 2 String Orchard/ALF – $610
  • 2 String Alfalfa – $580
  • 3 string Orchard – $690
  • 3 String Alfalfa – $590
  • 2 String Orchard – $650

Field Bales

  • 3x3x8 Alfalfa – $540
  • Compressed Alfalfa or Grass Mix 1/2 bale – $450
  • Compressed Alfalfa Bale – $430

If you are living in Utah, here are two suppliers you can purchase hay from. Depending on the type of grass, and the bale sizes, the costs will vary.

Laub’s Feeding & Cubing – 4016 N Beryl Hwy, Beryl, UT 84714

  • Grade A Hay Cubes (Ton) – $340 bagged, $330 if you were to buy in bulk
  • Hay Mini Cubes (Ton) – $250 to $270
  • 3-String Hay Bale – $21

Harward Farms – 1988 West Center Street, Springville, UT  84663

            Large (3×3) Bales

  • Straight Grass – $95
  • 100% Alfalfa – $150
  • Grass/Alfalfa Mix – $150
  • Small Bales
  • Straw hay – $9
  • 100% Alfalfa hay – $16
  • Alfalfa/Oat Mix – $14
  • Grass Hay – $12
  • Grass/Alfalfa Hay – $17

Round Bale of HayThere are two suppliers in Arizona, Harward Farm and Conway Feed & Supply that listed their prices per bale of hay on their websites.

Triple L Feed & Supply – 13700 N. Sandario Rd., Marana, AZ 85653

  • Alfalfa Cow Hay – $14
  • Alfalfa hay – $19 to $21
  • Bermuda cow hay – $12
  • Bermuda grass hay – $20 to $23
  • Rhodes grass hay – $23

Conway Feed & Supply – 1520 E Storey Rd, Casa Grande, AZ, 85194

  • Beardless wheat hay – $12
  • Alfalfa hay – $15
  • Premium Teff grass hay – $22.50
  • Bermuda grass hay – $22.50
  • Teff grass hay – $17
  • Premium Alfalfa hay – $21

Things to consider about hay bales

The hay prices are often affected by drought and warmer temperatures in states such as Colorado, Arizona, and California.

Farmers tend to plant hay on their farmlands instead of potatoes, corn, or cotton because they expect higher profits from this type of crop. As they have e decent amount of buyers, they have the power to dictate the costs.

The hay cost is greatly influenced by quality. Expect to pay a higher price for a premium, good, or fair bale of hay.

How much hay one buys also affects the final cost of a bale. The advantage of buying hay in bulk quantities (such as a truckload of round bales) is that it brings down the average price per bale. Retail hay prices for individuals buying just a few bales at a time or bagged hay are higher.

Hay prices are also affected by the cost of fuel. Hay growers and those who deliver this product to wholesalers and sellers need to recover the tractor fuel costs somehow.

Hay pricing in the USA is also impacted by the high demand for both alfalfa and grasshays in the UAE, Japan, and China. Tons of hay and bales are used to feed the domesticated livestock.

1 reply
  1. Deanna M Correa
    Deanna M Correa says:

    When was this article written/posted? I’m in Northern California & today is 12/24/2022. We are paying $27 to $30 per 3 string bale (100lb) of Alfalfa.


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