Do You Know the Difference between Square and Round Bales of Hay?

Square (really, rectangle) are being sold; hence the shape for stacking. Round are used for feeding on your very own farm.

I love hay! Not to eat, let’s be clear. I mean, I don’t even like iceberg lettuce, but I think it’s beautiful. Perhaps for its ubiquity; for its symbolism of not being in a city; the pure magic of getting all those tiny pieces into compact bales.

So clearly driving across the backroads (and sometimes smack beside the highways) hay abounds. And it calls to me to take pictures.

Hay Lady

Gettysburg, PA; Of course they dressed up bales as a patriotic lady–complete with glasses. It was a rainy day, so pardon the haze. I got sopping wet for you people (well, and myself, too).


Freshly-mowed hay

Freshly mowed hay in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate NY.

Stacking Bales of Hay

A Mennonite man pauses to organize hay bales. They were overflowing as the machine kicked them into the bin and he needed to re-balance.

Hay Baler in Action

Hay baler in action. I L.O.V.E. when it kicks a completed bale into the bin. You can see the movement in the pic. It’s humming along and then wapow! It shoots out! I giggle every time.

Watch this video, courtesy of YouTube, to see the baler in action. I was so enthralled–and flustered that the farmer waved at me–that I didn’t think to take my own video.

Hay in Wyoming

A Wyoming hay field (not from this trip, but yes, my pic)

Sunset on stacked hay in Montana

Sunset on stacked hay in Montana, Not this trip, but yes, my pic.

Round hay bales in Wyoming

A massive field of round hay bales in Wyoming. Not this trip, but yes, my pic.

Storing hay from the elements in Kentucky

Storing hay from the elements in Kentucky. Not this trip, but yes, my pic.

Plastic Wrap on Hay in New York

Shower caps on round hay bales to protect them from bugs and weather. Finger Lakes region of New York.

Watch a video, courtesy of YouTube, that shows how round hay bales are made and how the shower caps (not the official term) are put on. I think the whole “parade” is fascinating, but if you don’t or don’t have five minutes to spare, skip to 2:00 and watch 15 seconds, then skip to 3:00 and watch from there to the end.

6 Responses


Hay baling fun to watch. Worth waiting for the link.

Glad you liked it!


The pix are really good and they make your point.

Somehow it never dawned on me that Round bales were for local use and tight ones were for shipping. Makes sense, I just never thought about it.

All that logic in the world, right?!


Ditto to your dad! I see the round ones all the time, and never realized the difference. Cool!


Great pictures and videos. Had to show this one to the bunnies. They couldn’t tell if it was Timothy hay but got excited all the same and rated it 5 carrots.

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