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  1. #1
    Bronze Member feedjake's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    54
    Location
    Central Ohio
    Tractor
    John Deere LA120

    Default Never before, green horn thinking about growing Alfalfa hay small scale.

    So... Here is my (small) thought.

    • Find a small piece of land (1-2 acres) that's in decent condition for hay.
    • Have an agreement with the land owner.
    • Rent/borrow a tractor and plow said field at the right time. (Might be looking at spring planting at this late point. or late summer next year)
    • Add manure and compost from my dairy goats, and perhaps manure from other local farms that I can get my hands on.
    • Spread the seed in season by walking with a simple hand-cranked spreader across the soil.
    • Borrow/rent a tractor (or a horse) and this time simply pull some type of harrow/log to get the seed a couple inches in the soil.
    • Come harvest time, I've got a little 40" gas powered, self propelled sickle mower that I could use to cut the hay.
    • Baling is a problem I have not yet solved. Don't have a baler. I wonder if there is some really old fashioned type of hand baler.



    I know there are lots of factors to consider, weeds, drainage, soil pH, moisture hard pan etc. etc...
    Not to mention considering the cost, of work, time, and money.

    I'm just sticking my green-horn neck out there to get chopped I'm sure, but my goal would be to perhaps get a few bales out for my goats the first year.
    Then perhaps to have enough to supply my goat operation fully the next, and perhaps have a few bales to sell along side.
    __________________
    "...I'm just a country boy, money have I none. But I've got silver, in the stars, and gold in the mornin sun."

  2. #2
    Elite Member sandman2234's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    4,097
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Tractor
    JD2555

    Default Re: Never before, green horn thinking about growing Alfalfa hay small scale.

    With the cost to lease the land, borrow and then transport the tractors, the time spent to apply the manure (that is factoring in you possibly being full of the needed manure), cut time plus cutting costs and then having it baled... Hmmmm, wouldn't it just be cheaper to buy bales or have a goat barbeque???

    Seriously, the "unknowns" can make this a fair deal to a really bad deal. What happens if your borrowed tractor breaks? If you think hay prices are bad, buy a couple of John Deere parts, lol.
    David from jax
    A serious accident is one that money won't fix.

  3. #3
    Elite Member DT86's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
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    2,992
    Location
    SWVA
    Tractor
    Kubota 9540, RTV 900 and David Brown 885.

    Default

    I agree with David.

  4. #4
    Bronze Member feedjake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    54
    Location
    Central Ohio
    Tractor
    John Deere LA120

    Default Re: Never before, green horn thinking about growing Alfalfa hay small scale.

    Very good point... in fact, as I was writing out the "plan" I was asking myself that same question... "hmmm.. really? Maybe I should just buy my hay." Now the other thought (or dream) I have is eventually keeping some draft horses, and using them along with an old time standing hay baler.... But the upkeep on something like that... whoa... maybe I'm done already.... But my whole desire to do some of these things comes from a heart of not wanting to rely so much on my stinking paycheck for the things I need in life. And if I made my own hay, I could at least have a fighting chance at providing for my family. by not having to buy all of my hay, and perhaps sell what I don’t use, or bless some of my neighbours with good hay.
    __________________
    "...I'm just a country boy, money have I none. But I've got silver, in the stars, and gold in the mornin sun."

  5. #5
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    2,174
    Location
    Carroll, Ohio
    Tractor
    Massey 180 Diesel

    Default Re: Never before, green horn thinking about growing Alfalfa hay small scale.

    If you had a decent idle acre or so of your own, it may be alright. Sounds like a lot of walking over 2 acres though.
    When we first started making hay (about 6 acres), we had a Farmall A, and a 7' sicklebar mower, and a trailer made out of a Ford stepside pick-up bed. We borrowed the neighbors hay rake to rake it. Doodled it up, then loaded it on the trailer, and made a haystack. Did that for about 5 years, until we could afford a larger tractor, and baler, rake, etc. It can be done, but it's not easy.
    One thing to remember is, you need to do it when it's ready, and there weather is right. Not when you feel like doing it. You really need to keep an eye on the weather, or it's all for nothing...

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