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  1. #1
    Super Member MossflowerWoods's Avatar
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    Default Thinking about getting into haying for my own use and for small $$$

    Guys,

    Maybe I'm crazy, but it seems to me that I spend more for Hay than I do for feed/grains.

    There is a lady on my street who leases her land to a hay guy, and he just leaves the large round bales there to rot. they sit in the field for months, then he stacks them on the treeline.

    I'm thinking about offering her a lease and curious how hard it is, and how long before I break even on the investment (I would go out and buy used hay equip).

    I'm sure I'm just being a silly n00b, but it sounds tempting...

    Talk me into or out of this Hay-brained idea!

    Be well,
    David
    Former Submariner & Army SGT
    2011 Kioti DK50SE HST, KL-401 FEL w/72" bucket, tooth bar, & Ratchet Rake, 2 rear remotes, canopy, WR Long RBG72 Grapple, Woods BB72X cutter & TSG-50 stump grinder, TSC PHD, & more to come. Mowers 2003 JD LX266 42" deck mower, & old JD STX-38 (12.5 hp).

    Managing 51 Acres of Virginia hills with ponds & streams, mature market timber, riding trails, empty pasture, long gravel drive, veggie garden, & yard.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member jlsmith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about getting into haying for my own use and for small $$$

    How much land is there and how many bales a year do you use? Are you wanting to round bale or square bale. How is the land now, will you have to do anything to it or is it ready to bale. Dont forget after the cost of the equipment you still have fertilizer to spread and maintain the land. Just asking because I bale about 300 ac a year 3 to 4 times a year. A lot of start up dollars up front.
    Jeremy

  3. #3
    Veteran Member jlsmith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about getting into haying for my own use and for small $$$

    You might talk to the hay guy about buying them as he bales them and get it at a nice price also. Might be cheaper than doing it yourself.

  4. #4
    Elite Member smstonypoint's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about getting into haying for my own use and for small $$$

    There have been numerous TBN threads on small-scale hay production. Here's an example:http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/o...scale-hay.html

    Steve

  5. #5
    Super Member Iplayfarmer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about getting into haying for my own use and for small $$$

    We did hay when I was a kid. If you do hay you need to plan a lot of time for fixing machines... especially if you have used equipment.

    We did save a lot of money on hay, though. We baled a lot of the small <5 acre plots in the area. All small bales. All loaded by hand on a pickup truck and stacked by hand.
    From now on I will only buy cars that are a silver/grey color. Then I can make all body repairs with Duct Tape.

  6. #6
    Super Member RickB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about getting into haying for my own use and for small $$$

    You think you are paying a lot for hay now, try making it on a small scale and see how much it costs.......
    We have too much gun control.
    What we need is more idiot control.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member scoutcub's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about getting into haying for my own use and for small $$$

    David -

    Hope you're doing well my friend!
    I would talk to the owner and/or the gentlemen baling the hay and try to get a good price on the hay he bales. Perhaps you offer to exchange some tractor/computer/other services.

    The upfront cost of baling is $$$. Storage, maintenance, extra fuel, etc. etc. I use to hay/square bale when I was a kid, not only lots of work but worse in the hot summer. And, when those knotters screwed up.....

    And, give you a good excuse to get a bale spear.....

    Good luck!

    Frank

  8. #8
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
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    Sold the farm, sold the tractors, moved back to the city

    Default Re: Thinking about getting into haying for my own use and for small $$$

    Quote Originally Posted by MossflowerWoods View Post
    Guys,

    Maybe I'm crazy, but it seems to me that I spend more for Hay than I do for feed/grains.

    There is a lady on my street who leases her land to a hay guy, and he just leaves the large round bales there to rot. they sit in the field for months, then he stacks them on the treeline.

    I'm thinking about offering her a lease and curious how hard it is, and how long before I break even on the investment (I would go out and buy used hay equip).

    I'm sure I'm just being a silly n00b, but it sounds tempting...

    Talk me into or out of this Hay-brained idea!

    Be well,
    David
    You have too many other interests, judging by your other posts on TBN, to even consider getting into small time haying. It's expensive and time consuming even if you do it with used equipment.

    However, if you really, really want to get into DIY haying, I'd start with the baler. It'll be a used unit for sure unless you have $20K++ for a new one. Buy one that's currently being used for haying, not one that's sat around in a shed for years. And avoid "field-stored" balers absolutely--these generally are tired machines that will eat you alive in time and money for repairs. Mine is a Massey Ferguson 124 (small squares, two-twine, $2K) that I bought right out of the field (the seller baled 30 acres with it the day before I got it).

    Next on the priority list is the mower. Spend $3K and get yourself a new drum mower. Disc mowers are what the big boys use, but they're twice as expensive (new) as drums and considerably more complex. Sicklebar mowers (new) cost about the same as drums but take more maintenance and know-how to get them to work properly. Drum mowers windrow the cuttings whereas disc mowers and sicklebars lay the cuttings flat without windrowing them. You may have to make a pass with a tedder or rake to spread out the windrow from the drum mower to get the hay to dry properly. It's an extra pass over the field that costs some time but, IMHO, the speed and simplicity of the drum mower offsets this. Be sure to get a drum mower that's compatable (size and weight) with your tractor.

    Next, rake. The options are side delivery bar rake, wheel rake and rotary rake. If you have $3-5K to spend, get a rotary rake--these are modern state-of-the-art designs that are extremely popular. The bar rake is old school that's being supplanted by the rotary rake. Wheel rakes are relatively inexpensive and fast. Some people dislike them because they can contaminate the hay with dirt and debris if not set up and operated properly.

    Bale handling. Small time operators stack small square bales by hand. If you're producing several hundred small squares, some type of bale accumulator/grabber is nice. New they cost $5-10K. Used about half that. Round bales can be handled by bale spears attached to your FEL (get skid steer quick attach option on your FEL).

    Planting--easiest is broadcast spreading seed and fertilizer. Equipment is inexpensive $500-$1K. Not as efficient (germination wise) as drilling the seed into the ground. Reconditioned drills (5 ft width) for food plots run $1.5-3K.

    Good luck

  9. #9
    Super Member MossflowerWoods's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about getting into haying for my own use and for small $$$

    Quote Originally Posted by flusher View Post
    You have too many other interests...
    Flusher,

    You probably got me there...

    But this is an AWESOME post and very informative. I havea TBN buddy who has some haying equip (small rnd bales) and he and I are planning to use bith his and my tractor on his uncle's place near me.

    I am making long range plans for how to handle all this when I've got 5 or more horses and my hay demands are higher, etc. And there are these small hay fields nearby just going to waste...

    I'm going to try Frank's idea also. I plan to ask to buy the really old rotten round bales as mulch for my cleared areas to cover the seed, and then open the conversation that I MIGHT be interested in buying the round bales when FRESH for my horses (and my neighbor's horses, etc...) Call it a small scale co-op or just being neighborly...

    I also plan to offer my services free to the guy who I am currently committed to buy my square bales from (I've bought almost 100 and I have committed to another ~70 or so (what ever is left) before his first harvest in May. I figure how better to learn than by working...

    I want to learn all this stuff so I can be more self sufficient and in general more handy of a guy to know.

    Thanks again for the outstanding answers in your posts.
    Once again the Univ of TBN rocks...

    Be well,
    David
    Former Submariner & Army SGT
    2011 Kioti DK50SE HST, KL-401 FEL w/72" bucket, tooth bar, & Ratchet Rake, 2 rear remotes, canopy, WR Long RBG72 Grapple, Woods BB72X cutter & TSG-50 stump grinder, TSC PHD, & more to come. Mowers 2003 JD LX266 42" deck mower, & old JD STX-38 (12.5 hp).

    Managing 51 Acres of Virginia hills with ponds & streams, mature market timber, riding trails, empty pasture, long gravel drive, veggie garden, & yard.

  10. #10
    Elite Member smstonypoint's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking about getting into haying for my own use and for small $$$

    Quote Originally Posted by MossflowerWoods View Post

    I'm thinking about offering her a lease and curious how hard it is, and how long before I break even on the investment (I would go out and buy used hay equip).
    Excuse my language (economics), but here are two ways that you could evaluate the economic feasibility of making your own hay.

    The first (and simplest) is to compute the number of bales that you would have to bale yourself each year in order to just breakeven versus buying hay, Q*. The formula is Q* = FC/(P-AVC), where FC is fixed costs (annual equipment ownership costs and the prorated costs of establishing the hay fields) measured in $/year; P is the price you pay when buying hay measured in $/bale; and AVC is the average variable cost of producing hay (fertilizer, lime, twine, equipment operating cost, etc.) measured in $/bale. If Q* is greater (less) than the # of bales you buy each year, you are better off buying (making) hay. Here is an enterprise budget that you might find useful in estimating FC and AVC for your individual situation: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/aes...les/fescue.pdf

    The second is to compute the net present value (NPV) of an investment in hay equipment. You would need to compare your initial investment to the discounted value of the after-tax cash flows associated with making versus buying hay.

    Steve

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