You're doing good at $3500 invested. My stuff cost me about $4300. Still struggling with my sicklebar mower--probably have to rebuild it again before next May (we plant in Oct/Nov and bale the following May--dry land farming).
One of the problems of learning to do hay the right way is you have to do it wrong for a few years , and lose lots of money, in order to have an educated guess how to do it for less money. The wisdom for all who comment in this thread likely comes with a great deal of personal anguish. I have put up tens of thousands of small square bales and if I had to do it again would hire it out, take my chances and call it good. I'd spend my time not used having fun with the family and engaged in some other agricultural endevor that has a greater probability of more fun. I'd use the money not spent to buy old tractors to restore and sell at a profit. That's just my opinion but I understand if it's something you have to do.
Oh, and be careful. Most of those older farmers you see walking around with only one arm or one hand, note they likely lost it to early hay quipment. That is the era of farm equipment you will be using so be extra careful with yourself and family.
We have only 3 acres of hay, plus a 4ac field at our school (8 mile away) and it's pretty much impossibleto find someone to come do it at the right time, so I decided to gear up over the last year to do it myself. I work a desk job full time, so "farming" is all evenings and weekend work.
I already had a Kubota B7100 4x4 (originally 16hp, I'd swapped in a 20hp D950 motor). Paid $500 for the tractor w/ FEL and a junked motor, have $600 into the replacement motor.
I picked up a New Holland 451 7ft sickle bar for $450, then put $120 (and a bunch of hours) into new bearings and a few sections.
I bought (2) junker Kuhn 2-basket tedder/rakes, tore both apart and made one good one (many more hours). $900 + 100 in parts
I got a JD14T for $1500 (too much), went throught it to time and grease everything, baled 490 bales, then found a better condition 24T for $750 so bought that and sold the 14T for a little less than I had into it.
So total I have about $2300 into it (not including the tractor), and already saved half that by not having to buy hay for the 2 horses this year, plus was able to cut and bale at the right time instead of waiting weeks for someone who said they'd come but put priorities on bigger fields
The tractor only weighs 1000lb + ~500lb FEL. I couldn't have done it without the 4x4 or FEL (traction and weight up front for steering). The little tractor looked pretty tiny running all that gear but did it without any problem. an 8ft mower would have had me going in circles to the right. I planned my baling so I didn't have to go down a small hill in the field (the baler would likely run over the tractor). (I think a 2000lb 25hp 4x4 tractor would be perfect, but would go larger if I had to deal with hills.) Sickle mowers and old small balers don't take much power. I cranked out well over 100 bales/hr, then hauled gear to and from the remote field and brought hay back to the barn on my $900 flatbed trailer behind my $1000 F250 diesel, then loaded in the loft using a $120 elevator.
Being able to weld, make parts and fix things enables saving loads of $$. It was a very enjoyable and satisfying experience, and I learned a lot. I'm already looking forward to haying next year. It should be easy now that everything is bought already and rebuilt!
It takes a whole lot of trips to bale a remote field. Easily 3x the work and time as doing our own pasture, plus a breakdown means hauling it all home and trying again another day.
Go ahead buddy! Sounds like you were a busy fellow, but gotta make hay when the sun's shinen', have a good one .Quote:
Originally Posted by petes
Great information. I was looking into getting into baling, but on a smaller scale. Ran into an ol boy that uses one of these small round balers built and used in Europe. He says you can bale a 20 to 60 pound round bale. He sales out each year. I have a 2 wheel rake I just bought, looking at a small disc mower, then the hay baler. Has anyone ever used one of these smaller round balers. Everything I read says 50hp or less in a tractor is perfect. My other option is an older square baler.
Thanks, JHK Farms
Several of the fixed chamber round balers will run on less than 50 pto hp. I used a Deutz Fahr 4x4 for several years with a Ford 2910 (37 pto hp) with no problem. Currently have a Vermeer Rebel 5410 and run it with a Mahindra 6000 4wd (50 pto hp).
I am not endorsing any company but check out this company on the web. It is Small Farm Innovations, they deal in low horse power mowers, rakes, balers, including round balers. I started out small with very used equipment. 2 wheel Vicon rake, Used my brush hog to mow for several years, and still using a NH 271 sq baler. I bale small "Hobby Farm" plots and few gave yards. I am a hire hand for a larger operation baling hay. I liked the looks of the mini baler, only seen one in use. He implied he made some good extra money "mini" baling hay. Talked to my county ag agent, he had never heard about the mini balers. So I sent him the web site and he said he will get back to me.
Thanks, JHK Farms, Maud, OK