How Much Does a Bale of Straw Cost?

Written by: Staff

Straw is a by-product of harvested grains which can also be used for construction when bailed.  When farmers clear the harvested area, they will bale the straw, and it can also be used as a way to minimize soil erosion, and the smaller bales can be used for decorative purposes.  Some countries even use the straw to build their homes.

Round bales of straw by Roberto Verzo, on Flickr
“Round bales of straw” (CC BY 2.0) by  Roberto Verzo

How much does a bale of straw cost?

On average, the cost of straw will depend on the size, type, if it contains alfalfa and the current market conditions.  A small square bale with no alfalfa will cost about $4 to $8, while bales that contain alfalfa will cost about $1 to $1.50 more.

The big round bales can cost anywhere from $35 to $55 per bale, and by the ton, it can cost $90 to $110.

Pine straw, which is made of naturally shed pine needles, can cost $5 to $8 per small bale.

To see current market conditions, see this page.

Lowe’s, for example, sells small bales for about $7.

What are the extra costs?

Shipping/transportation fees may apply if you’re not able to pick it up the location.

Tips to know

Decorative straw is usually individually bailed and is packed and tied with a wire.

A smaller bale should cover up to 2,000 square feet.  A standard bale will be 14 inches by 18 inches, but the length may vary depending on the baler.  Common lengths can be either 36 or 48 inches.

Straw purchased in smaller bales is often used for mulch in flower gardens, gardens or as seed cover.  It can also be used to help with erosion control.

Smaller bales can be found at most home improvement stores and nurseries.  For larger bales, you may have to resort to a local supplier, which can be found online via Craigslist or other related classified ad websites.  You can also talk with local farmers since many will be more than happy to sell you some.

The best straw to use for your garden is rye, oats, barley and wheat.  These stalks will have already gone through a combiner and will have very few seeds.

Hay vs. straw: What’s the difference?  Straw makes a better mulch and a great addition to your compost pile, while hay doesn’t.  In terms of definitions, straw is the stalks or the stems of grains from wheat, barley and oats once it has been harvested.  Hay is grass that has been cut, dried and commonly used for animal feed.  Hay is also known to be mineral rich, and as it decomposes, it adds more minerals to the soil.

Do you use hay or straw to cover grass seed?  You can use both.  If using straw, be prepared to be able to cover about 1,500 square feet per bale.  When applying, sprinkle it in a thin enough layer so it can decompose properly.  This will also prevent you from raking it up when the grass sprouts.

How is straw made?

How can I save money?

Look for farmers nearby who have recently harvested their grains.  Upon clearing, they will just sell the bales of straw at the lower price to clear the area.

If you are able to purchase locally,  you probably will not have to pay for shipping expenses as long as you have a way to transport it.

Sometimes, straw can be found for free when mold gets to it.  Once it develops mold, it can no longer be used with animals and some may allow you to take it off their hands.  Check the free section on Craigslist to see if any opportunities exist in your area.

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Average Reported Cost: $4

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Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Matt (Mercer,  Pennsylvania) paid $4 and said:

    $4 ea. for a 36″ square bales at the feed mill in Fredonia

    Was it worth it? Yes

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