Most Minecraft players know that hay bales serve as food blocks placed in a game world for livestock mobs such as donkeys, mules, llamas, and horses. However, hay bales have many other uses in Minecraft, including reducing fall damage, composting, breeding, creating signal fires, and even changing the sound of note blocks.
Minecraft: Uses for hay bale blocks
Whether found naturally in Minecraft villages or crafted via combining nine pieces of wheat, hay bales serve a general purpose as food for livestock mobs. However, they can also be placed near llamas or horses, who will enter Love Mode and begin breeding after consuming hay bale. Hay bales can heal up to ten hearts for livestock mobs that eat them. They can also speed up the growth time of baby horses and llamas by 90 seconds.
Hay bales can also protect players and mobs significantly from fall damage, reducing it by 80% for those that land on one of the blocks. Though this won't protect mobs or players from death from fall damage depending on the height of the fall, it can significantly reduce the threat if a water bucket or body of water isn't present to break the fall in totality.
When used on a campfire in Minecraft, hay bale blocks can transform a campfire into a signal fire, increasing the height of the fire's smoke particles by 2.5x. This can be incredibly useful for those hoping to mark a spot of importance since smoke particles tend to be pretty distinguishable in a given environment. With smoke particles at the height of 25 blocks, players aren't likely to lose sight of the signal fire until they've departed a significant distance away.
Much like other blocks and items made from plant matter, hay bale blocks can be placed into a composter and have an 85% chance to increase the composting level by one. However, this method is inefficient compared to breaking the hay bale down into wheat and simply using the wheat bushels themselves to increase the compost level. Since 900 pieces of wheat and 100 hay bale blocks are equivalent, this comes as no surprise but is worth noting.
Lastly, a fun little Minecraft factoid. When hay bales are placed underneath note blocks, the sound of the note block will change from its standard tone to that of a plucked banjo.