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  1. #1
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    Default Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    Our situation is we are about to inherit an 80 acre farm that has been growing hay for many years, and 20 years ago also had cattle on part of it. My husband and I have absolutely no experience or knowledge on farming of any kind. We have always wanted to get into it and have dreamed of moving to the farm. (My husband lived there for many years when he was younger).

    Basically my questions are- is it insane for us to think of taking over the farm and doing the haying ourselves with (at the moment) no experience or knowledge on farming? We are hoping to have enough time to learn what we can, but we aren't sure what time we have before we have to do something one way or the other with the farm. We have also considered raising cattle.

    Our other option would be to lease the land to someone who knows that they are doing, but all the research I have done doesn't come up with that make enough money for us to be able to have that as an actual income. Am I right in reading that you either crop share or cash rental (which comes out to very little income)? Or do you do a cash rental plus a percentage of the crop? We don't intend to make a ton of money at any of this, but in order for us to keep the farm it would have to produce enough income for us to live off of that solely. Otherwise we will be forced to sell and that is the last thing we want to do.

    Any advice or info is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    CJ - I don't have answers for you, but posting because my wife and I are about to embark on a similar situation so I will be monitoring this post. Not 80 acres, only 15. We are purchasing 15 acres and hope to close very soon on it. The tillable ground is currently being rented out to a friend who farms it every year. We had horses years ago and want to get back on a piece of property that will allow us to have them again for our grandkids. I worked on farms into my 20s and then got a way from it. Now we are planning retirement and hope to use the property to grow hay (sell some), have a couple horses and enough beef cattle to supply us and our grown kids and their families. You will find by searching this forum there is a lot of information regarding growing hay. Good luck and I hope you find a way to keep the farm, there is nothing better in life to have acreage and even better if it can help support your family. Do whatever it takes to keep it, you may not get to the point immediately where it will completely support your family, but you will regret letting it go the rest of your life IMO.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    Thanks bobm6996. I agree that if we had to sell it I would regret it for the rest of my life. That is why I am fighting to learn what I can to keep it. What we would ultimately like to do is farm as much as we need to and use the front acreage where the house sits to raise our own food. A few cows and chickens, etc. But definitely not jumping into everything at once. Don't want to overwhelm ourselves. But that is our ultimate goal. To be as self-sustained as possible and making enough profit off the farm to make it all possible. Good luck to you and congratulations!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    It worked on Green Acres with Oliver...

    Watch out for Mr. Heney!

    My advice...sell it and take the money and do something that benefits you. Nothing worse then clutching sentimental value. Don't feel bad if you ignore my sound advice, I am used to it.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    Thanks sdkubota I am looking for realistic advice to help me make decisions on what to do in the future when the time comes. I do not want to lose the farm entirely because we got in over our heads. But I also know that it is a once in a lifetime chance for us to do what we have always wanted to do. Weighing it all out at the moment and learning what I can. Thanks! :-)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    Quote Originally Posted by CJMomo View Post
    Thanks sdkubota I am looking for realistic advice to help me make decisions on what to do in the future when the time comes. I do not want to lose the farm entirely because we got in over our heads. But I also know that it is a once in a lifetime chance for us to do what we have always wanted to do. Weighing it all out at the moment and learning what I can. Thanks! :-)
    I wish you all the luck in the world and hope you make a decision that is right for you. An 80 acre farm of hay is not going to generate much money. In many areas of the country you actually have to pay someone to cut and bale the hay and they take the hay. Since you stated you have never farmed why on earth do you think it is something you always wanted to do? There are people knowledable in farming with good productive land that lose everything...it is a risky, low rewards, hard working, game.

  7. #7
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    JD LA115, WH 244, WH 525 hydro-pops,Original Troy Built Horse 8 HP

    Default Re: Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    Quote Originally Posted by CJMomo View Post

    Our situation is we are about to inherit an 80 acre farm that
    has been growing hay for many years, and 20 years ago also
    had cattle on part of it.

    My husband and I have absolutely no experience or knowledge
    on farming of any kind. We have always wanted to get into it
    and have dreamed of moving to the farm
    (My husband lived there for many years when he was younger).

    Basically my questions are- is it insane for us to think of taking
    over the farm and doing the haying ourselves with (at the moment)
    no experience or knowledge on farming? We are hoping to have
    enough time to learn what we can, but we aren't sure what time we
    have before we have to do something one way or the other with the farm.
    We have also considered raising cattle.

    Our other option would be to lease the land to someone
    who knows that they are doing, but all the research I have
    done doesn't come up with that make enough money for us
    to be able to have that as an actual income. Am I right in
    reading that you either crop share or cash rental
    (which comes out to very little income)? Or do you do a cash
    rental plus a percentage of the crop? We don't intend to make
    a ton of money at any of this, but in order for us to keep the
    farm it would have to produce enough income for us to live off
    of that solely. Otherwise we will be forced to sell and that is
    the last thing we want to do.

    Any advice or info is greatly appreciated.





    Well you have almost stuck your foot in it now.

    The many issues include and are not limited to
    the following as far as your specific desire to farm
    this acreage.


    1. Your actual income
    2. your disposable income-can you afford to purchase the tractors, plow, disc harrow, sure stand grass seeder, sprayer, widrower crimper, hay baler,
    hay wagons, running gear,hay elevators, fuel and lubricants, sisal baling twine, seed, annual soil tests, fertiliser, lime, gypsum?
    3. the needed equipment for 80 acres.
    4. annual real estate and school taxes on the property
    5. availability of fire protection
    6. available water supply for possible irrigation (being Center Pivots)
    7..your possible market for high quality hay
    8. annual 5 million dollars of blanket liability isurance coverage premium
    9. crop rotation or simply letting twenty acres go fallow every five years to let it rest
    10. TDN testing-for the digestable value to ruminants.
    11. I cannot place enough emphasis on purchasing a bale wrapping machine for
    hay bales as it preserves the hay and reduces the chance of damage from vermin.

    There is still a big market for horse hay in small bales , personally i woul drather use
    a round mini baler as the bales are more dense and are easier to handle and store
    if they are wrapped as they can be left under tarp without damage.

    the thing is small bales wastes much less hay and is economical THE PROBLEM IS the hay buyers TIME AND THE LACK OF IT.



    If your serious about owning this property you should think about renting it out
    for an annual cash rent basis per acre and see how it fairs for the first few
    years as you will have to spend a considerable amount of time plowing and planting
    new hay for a foddr crop as the sod may be no good for good forage haycrop if it
    was not maintained.


    Find out from your neighbors what they are getting for cash rents or what hey are
    paying for cash rents and then decide.

    UNLESS AND UNTILL you offer a high value fodder crop that has a high total digetable nutrient percentage
    you can simply slam the drawer on your hand as no one will buy it from you- a lot of hay gets sold and moved
    every yearnation wide and is even more valuable in drought years as well as in times of flooding.




    The annual cash rent income has to cover your insurance and liability coverage, land repairs-
    cleaning drainage ditches, possibly installing drainage pipe using a commercial drainage pipe installer
    which is the fastest and cheapest cost per acre to improve bad drainageand wet fields.

    You should also examine Remont Sainfoin as a fodder crop as it has an excellent reputation and yield for a fodder crop as well.


    I hate round or square big bales unless they are wrapped as you have use chainsaw to open them up to get what little good feed there is for the cows.
    Last edited by leonz; 10-10-2012 at 04:57 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    Quote Originally Posted by sdkubota View Post
    I wish you all the luck in the world and hope you make a decision that is right for you. An 80 acre farm of hay is not going to generate much money. In many areas of the country you actually have to pay someone to cut and bale the hay and they take the hay. Since you stated you have never farmed why on earth do you think it is something you always wanted to do? There are people knowledable in farming with good productive land that lose everything...it is a risky, low rewards, hard working, game.
    My husband and I have always wanted to farm. For many reasons our situation in the past has not allowed us to do the things that we wanted. Just because I haven't been able to start doesn't mean I haven't always wanted to. But I understand what you mean. I don't know 100% what I am getting into. That is why I am researching it and learning what I can so I know what to do when the time comes to make those decisions. I am very aware that it is a risky, low rewards, and hard working game. Just trying to find some advice and some answers to all the questions I have. It would be heart breaking to sell the farm if there was a way to keep it going. That is all I am trying to figure out. Thanks for your comment.

  9. #9
    Platinum Member
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    Default Re: Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    80 acres of prime Iowa corn producing land capable of producing 250 bushel an acre corn will not support a family. Losing everything you have to try to hang on some sentimental dream isn't good financial planning. I apologize for being a little cold here but you need a serious dose of reality. Best of luck!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Thinking of haying/farming for profit- many questions

    Quote Originally Posted by leonz View Post
    Well you have almost stuck your foot in it now.

    The many issues include and are not limited to
    the following as far as your specific desire to farm
    this acreage.


    1. Your actual income
    2. your disposable income
    3. the needed equipment for 80 acres.
    4. real estate and school taxes on the property
    5. availability of fire protection
    The farm comes with equipment that is currently being used to hay. The entire 80 acres is not farmed, there are several acres where a house sits that are cleared off. The taxes on the property are payable and nothing is owed on the farm or any of the equipment. I am very concerned about the possibility of this working but am not going to give up without even trying to at least learn my options and as much as I can about it first. Current and future income being the biggest factors obviously. Thanks for your comment/advice! :-)

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