Hay newbie questions

   / Hay newbie questions #1  

ericm979

Super Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2016
Messages
5,396
Location
Santa Cruz Mountains CA, Southern OR
Tractor
Branson 3725H Deere 5105
I'm considering buying property in a place where a lot of the rural properties grow hay. While I grew up in a ranching area where there was a lot of hay grown, my experience is on the consuming end. The farm land in the place I'm looking at usually has irrigation. It looks to me that they aren't growing alfalfa, and one property I looked at had "grass hay". I don't plan on running livestock or cutting the hay myself. I'd have someone do it.

My questions:
-is making a deal for someone to cut, bale and sell the hay common? what's a typical cut the landowner gets?
-since oat and grass are annuals, and when you cut the hay you take the seed heads, does that mean you need to reseed every year? If you're having someone bale the hay do they do that too? Is there other land preparation that's needed like discing or harrowing (assuming its already been in hay for a while)?
-what other sort of maintenance is needed?
-where I grew up oat and grass hay were dry farmed and only alfalfa got irrigated. If you irrigate oat or grass hay do you get multiple cuttings like with alfalfa?

Thanks.
 
   / Hay newbie questions #2  
I'm considering buying property in a place where a lot of the rural properties grow hay. While I grew up in a ranching area where there was a lot of hay grown, my experience is on the consuming end. The farm land in the place I'm looking at usually has irrigation. It looks to me that they aren't growing alfalfa, and one property I looked at had "grass hay". I don't plan on running livestock or cutting the hay myself. I'd have someone do it.

My questions:
-is making a deal for someone to cut, bale and sell the hay common? what's a typical cut the landowner gets?
-since oat and grass are annuals, and when you cut the hay you take the seed heads, does that mean you need to reseed every year? If you're having someone bale the hay do they do that too? Is there other land preparation that's needed like discing or harrowing (assuming its already been in hay for a while)?
-what other sort of maintenance is needed?
-where I grew up oat and grass hay were dry farmed and only alfalfa got irrigated. If you irrigate oat or grass hay do you get multiple cuttings like with alfalfa?

Thanks.
-is making a deal for someone to cut, bale and sell the hay common? Usually you make a deal to cut, rake, and bale and then either sell the hay or use it yourself. You can structure a deal where you sell the hay "on the stump" and the buyer cuts, rakes, bales and clears the field.

what's a typical cut the landowner gets? It depends on the going rate for cutting raking and baling is and the market value of the hay. If hay is selling for $200/T and the mowing rate is $35/acre, the raking rate is $10/acre, and baling charges are $10/bale and you are getting a yield of 3T/acre, $600 -$35-$10 - $60 (6-1000 lb bales/acre) =$495/acre. I made up these numbers so you'll have to plug in your local values.

-since oat and grass are annuals, and when you cut the hay you take the seed heads, does that mean you need to reseed every year?
That's true for annual grasses. If you have perennial grasses or legumes then you don't have to reseed every year.

If you're having someone bale the hay do they do that too? ?? yeah if they bale the hay they bale it!
Is there other land preparation that's needed like discing or harrowing (assuming its already been in hay for a while)? if you l graze it then a spring harrowing is a good idea as is fertilizing via soil test recommendations should be done.
 
   / Hay newbie questions #3  
I'm considering buying property in a place where a lot of the rural properties grow hay. While I grew up in a ranching area where there was a lot of hay grown, my experience is on the consuming end. The farm land in the place I'm looking at usually has irrigation. It looks to me that they aren't growing alfalfa, and one property I looked at had "grass hay". I don't plan on running livestock or cutting the hay myself. I'd have someone do it.

My questions:
-is making a deal for someone to cut, bale and sell the hay common? what's a typical cut the landowner gets?
-since oat and grass are annuals, and when you cut the hay you take the seed heads, does that mean you need to reseed every year? If you're having someone bale the hay do they do that too? Is there other land preparation that's needed like discing or harrowing (assuming its already been in hay for a while)?
-what other sort of maintenance is needed?
-where I grew up oat and grass hay were dry farmed and only alfalfa got irrigated. If you irrigate oat or grass hay do you get multiple cuttings like with alfalfa

Thanks.
- t-what other sort of maintenance is needed? None

-where I grew up oat and grass hay were dry farmed and only alfalfa got irrigated. If you irrigate oat or grass hay do you get multiple cuttings like with alfalfa.
As I stated above, oat hay is an annual grass; grass can either be annual or perennial. Irrigation won't do anything for annuals after they are cut for hay.



Sorry, I don't know what happened to the formatting.
 
   / Hay newbie questions #4  
I do 4 different fields on shares and the same person owns them all.

He gets 1/2 of the sale price and I get 1/2. I take 1/2 the cost of fertilizer and herbicide out of his and 1/2 out of mine, but then I have only one customer that buys it all. Same with fuel but I cover all the maintenance myself because I run my own fields as well.

I never totally reseed, I broadcast vernal alfalfa every spring and set it with a tine harrow than I'll wait a week or so and fertilize them with 28% urea sprayed on. Up here no irrigation is needed. Mother nature takes care of that issue. I cut it when it blossoms. Alfalfa is self propagating I always get a good fetch as well but first cut will be mostly grass, only second and third cut is when the alfalfa really comes in. I fertilize in the spring before first cut after overseeding and just before third cut in late summer.

Be apprised hay tools are expensive and old used hay tools that someone put up for sale are usually problematic (why they were sold in the first place). To that end, I only buy new, never used. Nothing worse than a failure in the field.

If you decide to do it yourself you'll need at least a tractor with 75 PTO and if at all hilly, front wheel assist and some tractor weight as well. If you square bale, a square bailer will throw around a light tractor, especially when turning to start another windrow. Round bales not so much but a full round baler can and will be heavy so again, you need a substantial tractor to power it....and at least 2 sets of remotes or even 3 sets. I use 2 sets all the time with my equipment.

been doing this about 20 years now. My rule of thumb is, once an implement ifs fully depreciated, I trade in in or sell it outright and get a new one.

Do I make money? My wife says I do and she keeps the books, not me.
 
   / Hay newbie questions #5  
I'm going through the early stages of a similar process. I'm buying my late brothers farm. Before he bought it, a guy was baling hay on it for the previous owner. My brother put cattle on the place and let the mesquite trees take over. I'm in the process of getting the cows off of his place and moved to my place. I'm also poisoning the mesquite trees so they will die off and stop spreading. They are an invasive tree that sucks up all the moisture out of the ground.

From talking to people in that area, it's common to pay a guy $27 to $30 a bale to come out and do all the work to make round bales. Once he's done, he counts them and leaves them where they are in the field. They I would pay him what I owe him. Currently, round bales are selling for $65 for junk hay, on up to $110 for clean, fertilized, horse quality hay. I'm paying $90 a bale for really nice horse quality hay from a guy that delivers for another $100 per load of 18.

My neighbor has a guy that bales his place for a share of the bales. I've heard him say they split it 50/50 and I've heard him say it was other amounts then that. I think it all depends on how much fertilizer is put down, and what the rains have been like.

Here in East Texas, Common Bermuda Grass is the preferred hay for horses, and all livestock. You just fertilize it to increase protein levels, you might spray it to kill weeds and bugs, and if you can, watering it always helps, but that's very rare. Some years they get three cuttings, other years, they've been able to get four. If there is only two cuttings, the cost of hay goes through the roof!!!! That happened last year, and we went from $60 a bale to $150 and I saw people asking $200 a bale. A lot of it gets trucked in from other states when that happens, and panic buying becomes a thing.

Bermuda grass is also used on golf courses here, it's a fast growing lawn type grass that spread with runners, loves the extreme heat, and makes great hay. Some people will over seed it to make it thicker, faster, but if you just let it grow, it spreads quickly.
 
   / Hay newbie questions #6  
Wow Eddie, around here, 4x5 rounds in net if alfalfa grass mix hay are selling for 40-45 a round.
 
   / Hay newbie questions #7  
I'm considering buying property in a place where a lot of the rural properties grow hay. While I grew up in a ranching area where there was a lot of hay grown, my experience is on the consuming end. The farm land in the place I'm looking at usually has irrigation. It looks to me that they aren't growing alfalfa, and one property I looked at had "grass hay". I don't plan on running livestock or cutting the hay myself. I'd have someone do it.

My questions:
-is making a deal for someone to cut, bale and sell the hay common? what's a typical cut the landowner gets?
-since oat and grass are annuals, and when you cut the hay you take the seed heads, does that mean you need to reseed every year? If you're having someone bale the hay do they do that too? Is there other land preparation that's needed like discing or harrowing (assuming its already been in hay for a while)?
-what other sort of maintenance is needed?
-where I grew up oat and grass hay were dry farmed and only alfalfa got irrigated. If you irrigate oat or grass hay do you get multiple cuttings like with alfalfa?

Thanks.


In TX it is common to have someone else cut, bale, and sell. It really depends on what you can negotiate and how busy they are. We have done years where we keep 1/2 of the hay, we have done hears where we keep 30 of 300 bales. It depends. It is also common to do it yourself, but it is a very serious investment.

We only deal with coastal bermuda in my area of TX. Timing is everything. Part of our normal deal is to take fewer bales but have the hay farmer fertilize between cuts...so it keep our nutrient balance in order.

We do not do anything to it but fertilize, graze ,and cut. No harrowing, etc.
 
   / Hay newbie questions #8  
IMO, it's a serious investment (equipment and tractors) anywhere, not just in Texas. That is especially true of you don't run break prone junk. I have around a quarter million in equipment sitting in the barn presently.
 
 
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