A Manawatu farmer was crushed and killed by a large hay bale on his Waituna Road farm about 40km east of Palmerston North yesterday.

The 74-year-old man was found by a family member about 11.00am after he failed to return home when expected.

It appeared he had been trying to move some baleage when one of them toppled down and crushed him, police spokeswoman Kim Perks told the Manawatu Standard.

The coroner had been advised of the death and the Department of Labour is investigating.