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  1. #1
    Veteran Member
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    YM2000

    Default Hay bailing for profit??

    Here in the Atlanta area, hay has been fairly hard to come by this year, leading my buddy to think of cutting it for himself(us) and possibly selling the remainder off.. The main reason for slim pickins is apparently the army worm this year.

    The land shouldnt be an issue, we have access to about 200ac of pasture land that we could use. It looks like the equipment would be fairly expensive even though he does curently own a large enough tractor(40hp I believe) to handle the cutter and bailer. Mine(YM2000) could surely pull the rake and spreader. $10-20k for used equipment is what I understand for decent stuff. Fertilizer, lime, insecticide, etc(not sure what else) would add to the cost.

    My question to you guys, is it profitible for a couple of guys to do on a part time/side venture?? How much would you think could be made on 200ac, on a good year? How bad could it be on a bad year?(could you have a total loss??)

    I'm curious, I know nothing about it but it does seem like a fairly safe venture from the outside.. All coments and suggestions are welcome. Thanks
    Greg

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
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    Kansas
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    Kubota L3000DT

    Default Re: Hay bailing for profit??

    Someone's signature here says, "If baling hay was easy, everybody would do it" or something to that effect.

    Not many people do.

    I have hauled hay but never baled it. Today, a square bale is a rarity. Is that what you're talking about? They take a lot of handling (labor) and most real farmer's don't have that so they want big round bales. Most people I see doing big round bales are using a tractor much bigger than 40 hp.

    If you're going to do the square bales your market will probably be hobby farmers and horse owners. That may be a good market to tap...they seem to have a lot of money. A 40 hp tractor might run a square baler but someone else will have to answer that question.
    Meetings: If more than two people are there, at least one's time is being wasted.

  3. #3
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Central florida
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    ym1700, NH7610S, Ford 8N, 2N, NAA, 660, 850 x2, 541, 950, 941D, 951, 2000, 3000, 4000, 4600, 5000, 740, IH 'C' 'H', CUB, John Deere 'B', allis 'G', case VAC

    Default Re: Hay bailing for profit??

    As CP says.. square bales are prety much horse and small animal teritory. However.. Again.. that is a decent market here in fl. Right now fl is in the middle of a hay crisis.. no coastal to be found in any useable quantity int he central portion of the state. i had to just go buy a couple rolls off a farmer at 'rip off' prices just to keep my horses and cows in fodder this month.. not sure what I will do next month... first cutting around here won't be till may/june ere.. Gonna be lots of people here in fl with thin horses i suspect..

    hasn't been enough rain in c-fl to get much pasture up yet either. I have another pasture that I'm working on, and if the trend is going to be continuing for a few years where it is hard to find forage.. then i may also try to bale my small 10ac pasture in squares.. just to keep my own animals fed. For 'cheap' I think a sickle bar mower, rake and old used square baler will have to do... I'v passe dup chances to buy sq balers at ok price in the past few years.. guess I need to keep my eyes peeled now..

    soundguy

    soundguy

  4. #4
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hay bailing for profit??

    Greg, I used to work for a rancher friend cutting and baling hay. His brother also had a small herd of cattle and cut and baled his own hay. And he and I were on the volunteer fire department and our fire chief had a small herd of cattle, but his primary living was growing, cutting, baling, and selling hay.

    Now I don't know what it's like in Georgia, but in my part of the country, I'd say you'll most likely lose money. Most of my experience cutting and baling hay was with an 85 hp Oliver, but the other two guys I mentioned had 100 hp class John Deeres. And yes, you can pull the rake with your small tractor, but with only a few exceptions, most hay equipment calls for a minimum of 50 hp and everyone I know says even that is inadequate, that the minimum should be more along the lines of 80-100 hp.
    Bird

  5. #5
    Elite Member tallyho8's Avatar
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    Katrinaville LA west of Westwego east of Ama south of River Ridge north of Boutte, above sea level
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    Yanmar 1802, Kubota L4400

    Default Re: Hay bailing for profit??

    20 years ago we could take a 50 mile drive and buy a trailer load of square bales for $1 each from any of about 20 hay farmers. Today, we pay about $4 each in trailer loads when they have it and there are only about 8 left who square bale. This time of year nobody has any square bales left for sale except a couple of feed stores that get $9 a bale. We have to buy enough in October to last us until June.

    The problem with hay is it won't grow until it rains and then you can't cut and bale until it's a dry week. As soon as it's ready to cut, it rains. The day you finally bale, every worker in the county has disappeared and you have nobody to stack it in your barn. You have 10 people who want to come get hay out the field when you bale but only 2 show up. Since everyone bales the same day the others went elsewhere. Square balers only break on weekends when you can't get parts and everyone wants you to bale on weekends when they are available to pick up the hay out the field.

    You can get the best price for the hay in February, March & April but a December storm always blows the roof off the hay barn destroying all the hay. When you have a great year with perfect weather and more hay than ever, so does everyone else, so the price comes down.

    But, all farmers have the same problems and more. It's all in what you want to do.

  6. #6
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Nova Scotia, Canada

    Default Re: Hay bailing for profit??

    The equipment mentioned may be inadequate for 200 acres and two people. There just may be a lot of hard hand work involved with the small bales. This work all comes at one time and does not wait for weekends or time away from regular work.

    You must also consider the quality of the grass as this will affect the bale price.

    Do some looking around locally and talk to the Local Farm Agriculturist.

    I'm 50 years out of date and from a completely different farming area so just consider my musings as doddering! Just look at my avatar!
    Egon
    50 years behind the times
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  7. #7
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    Wheeling, WV
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    2006 JD 3520 w/cab & 300CX loader. 1995 JD 870 w/440 loader & 8b backhoe.JD 455 w/54" mower deck.

    Default Re: Hay bailing for profit??

    There must be some money in selling square baled hay. When my neighbor runs out of square bales he will buy round bales from other sources and unwrap them and run them thru his square baler. He does have a contract with two fairly large horse stables.
    "Good judgement comes from experience.Experience comes from bad judgement."

  8. #8
    Veteran Member
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    Georgia
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    YM2000

    Default Re: Hay bailing for profit??

    Part of the thought comes from his last purchase form a friend. It was $40 per round bail(large round bail). They guy bought 50 @ $40ea for his horse farm. I'm not sure how many bails could come off of 200ac, but like I said, it sounds like it could be a pretty good deal. Again, your coments are teaching me more about it as I really dont know any more than in this thread..Thanks, please keep the comments coming..
    Greg

  9. #9
    Silver Member
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    Oct 2005
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    central florida
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    long 460, Mahindra 6500 fwd/FEL

    Default Re: Hay bailing for profit??

    With 200 ac at your disposal, having it cut/baled on halves with someone that does that for a living would probably be safest bet. (farming is like gambling, only you do it in the sun) They will have more/better equipment on hand, or access to other equipment if their's breaks down. If my local baler breaks down, he can have JD deliver loaner equipment delivered immediately while his is under repair. For minor repairs, he has his own knowledgable people repair. Without fail, you will have a failure of equipment when a storm cloud is on the horizon and you have had hay down for three days. Quantity of hay cut is directly proportionate to how much fertilizer and/or spray for army worms coupled with the weather, need rain. Perhaps the safest option would be to get use of the 200 ac and have someone else cut it and observe what all is involved, then decide if you want to invest in the time, equipment and headaches.

    chuck

  10. #10
    Super Member
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    Northern Virginia
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    Kubota's, John Deere's

    Default Re: Hay bailing for profit??

    I'd look at market conditions FIRST, possible customers, what type of hay they are looking for, how many of them, where they are. Ths will determine if it is a good idea to follow.

    I think with the right product, in the right market - a premium quality hay - for example, you may indeed find it can be worth it.

    Then you need to figure out equipment costs and your availability.

    -Mike Z.

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