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  1. #1
    Bronze Member
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    Ford 1900

    Default Making hay with 30hp tractor

    I have looked high and low, far and wide for an answer to my question. I have read thru forums, websites and anywhere else I thought might help.

    Does anyone know if you can make hay with a 30hp tractor? Some people say yes, some people say no. Here is my situation and please feel free to offer any advice necessary.

    I'm currently raising beef cows anywhere from 5-10 that I buy in March/April and sell usually in October. I make a little bit of money but realize if I had a hay supply(preferably my own) then I could play the beef market better to my advantage both by being able to buy earlier and sell later, plus I could sell the extra hay as well as have more cows.

    So I have 15 acres of flat hayfield that I'd like to hay myself. Problem is I only have a 30hp tractor, a 1980 Ford 1900. If my 1900 could make hay then I could get away pretty cheap both on equipment as well as having hay for myself.

    I was thinking of using a sickle bar, a rake and a smaller square baler(like a new holland 68). I'm not looking to pull a hay wagon too, just bale up the windrows and let the bales drop on the ground, then pick up with a wagon later.

    I know many people say I won't be able to bale, but I've seen 8n's run at 3/4 throttle bale under the same exact conditions i'm looking at.

    I do realize they have 1 extra PTO hp than I do but I have better gear range options and can run full throttle for hours on end.

    If I can hay with my 1900 then i'm looking at about $2000 to buy all the equipment I need to hay the 15 acres. If I can make this work a couple years then I could upgrade to another tractor down the road. I'd like to put up 600 bales for myself and then sell the rest and near me at a price of $3.50-$4.00, I could make out well.

    I understand newer and bigger may be fun, but i'm all about simple, always have been, so if it takes me the whole month of july to hay the 15 acres, i'm fine with that. I realize with better/bigger equipment I could hay it all in 3 days.

    Thanks to anyone that responds.

  2. #2
    Gold Member CTPhil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making hay with 30hp tractor

    In my opinion 30 HP is plenty. My one concern would be that a 30 HP compact isn't as heavy as a utility model and may require extra care on slopes with the baler.

    The tractor in my signature runs all of my hay equipment and is 32 HP, it never seems to work very hard making hay, even on 15 degree slopes.
    Ford 2600, Ford 4100, Ford 3550 Industrial Loader, 1949 Case VAC, 1951 Case VAC, 7 assorted Gravely L Models, Gravely Commercial 10, Gravely 524, Gravely 5460...


  3. #3
    Platinum Member
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    Central Maine

    Default Re: Making hay with 30hp tractor

    That combination will work. Early balers with their own engines had much less HP. The tractor will rock back and forth a lot but that's ok. It becomes an issue if you have hills because the baler can weigh as much as the tractor and the tail can wag the dog with disasterous results if you are traveling down hill.

  4. #4
    Gold Member CTPhil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making hay with 30hp tractor

    Quote Originally Posted by charleyfarmall View Post
    It becomes an issue if you have hills because the baler can weigh as much as the tractor and the tail can wag the dog with disasterous results if you are traveling down hill.
    Yes, that is really my only concern. Having 4WD or reasonably flat fields would mitigate that.
    Ford 2600, Ford 4100, Ford 3550 Industrial Loader, 1949 Case VAC, 1951 Case VAC, 7 assorted Gravely L Models, Gravely Commercial 10, Gravely 524, Gravely 5460...


  5. #5
    Bronze Member
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    Ford 1900

    Default Re: Making hay with 30hp tractor

    These few answers are better than any of the answers I've got so far. Yes the 2 fields I'm looking to bale are very flat.

    I've asked a few farmers and a bunch of other people including family and some dealers.

    The farmers I asked wouldn't give me an answer, they just ask why would you want to use such a small tractor/baler. Family said yes because my great grandfather, and grandfather used an 8n for everything on their family farm from the 40's thru the 80's. And dealers say no because they have a nice shiny new tractor sitting outside that "would" run a baler.

    My tractor with weights is at about 4000lb. Any idea what an older square baler will weigh in at? I know I tow 2000lb loads of firewood on an old dump trailer down out of my hilly woods without issue.

    Thanks again for the responses.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Making hay with 30hp tractor

    Quote Originally Posted by Doyle670 View Post
    , but I've seen 8n's run at 3/4 throttle bale under the same exact conditions i'm looking at.

    I do realize they have 1 extra PTO hp than I do but I have better gear range options and can run full throttle for hours on end.
    As far as I know, an 8N has 23 hp.
    Here is a shot of my 2N pulling a McCormick #45 with no problems.


  7. #7
    Bronze Member
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    Ford 1900

    Default Re: Making hay with 30hp tractor

    Yeah I just reread the specs. Ford claimed they had 27 but when tested they were actually at 23hp. And I know my grandfathers tractor when they were running a baler was nowhere near 23hp because it was no where near brand new. At that time it probably had 5,000 hours on it so it was probably actually at about 18-20hp at the pto.


    Now what about a haybine? I've never looked into this because of the need for a hydraulic remote. I could put one on my tractor fairly easy but haven't considered it. The reason I ask is at the past few auctions some of the sickle bar mowers were going for higher than what an older solid haybine was going for.

  8. #8
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    Ford 1900

    Default Re: Making hay with 30hp tractor

    Hey Harry, is there a setting I have to change in order to see your pic?

  9. #9
    Gold Member CTPhil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making hay with 30hp tractor

    I had a haybine but sold it, it didn't like rocks and was hard to get into some fields. I mow just as fast and drying is also just as fast with a sickle bar, plus less downtime and cleaner mowing of field edges. I'll never go back to a haybine.

    These few answers are better than any of the answers I've got so far. Yes the 2 fields I'm looking to bale are very flat.
    IMO you're good to go.
    Ford 2600, Ford 4100, Ford 3550 Industrial Loader, 1949 Case VAC, 1951 Case VAC, 7 assorted Gravely L Models, Gravely Commercial 10, Gravely 524, Gravely 5460...


  10. #10
    Bronze Member
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    Ford 1900

    Default Re: Making hay with 30hp tractor

    Alright thanks alot. I'll be looking to get my equipment at the March auction.

    Who knows if another mint Massey 1085 is there and goes for $4100 like the last auction maybe i'll just upgrade then.

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