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  #1  
Old 06/06/11, 08:34 PM
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Question Hay and haying equipment

We have 13 acres in new grass hay on our property. In a couple of years we will have double that when the CRP contract runs out. We have gone crazy this year trying to find a farmer who is not too busy to cut and bale our hay. We finally found someone but the hay will be near the end of it's prime baling time.
My question is; if we buy our own mowing, conditioning, baling equipment (already have a tractor), will we ever "break even" or pay for the cost of the equipment (new, unless we luck into decent used equip). We're beginning to think we might be better off using the fields as pasture and buying hay (horses, mules and a couple of beef steers in the future). Any opinions are greatly appreciated! We have come to the conclusion that we need our own equip. or don't cut for hay at all.
Thank you!

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Old 06/06/11, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueMc View Post
We have 13 acres in new grass hay on our property. In a couple of years we will have double that when the CRP contract runs out. We have gone crazy this year trying to find a farmer who is not too busy to cut and bale our hay. We finally found someone but the hay will be near the end of it's prime baling time.
My question is; if we buy our own mowing, conditioning, baling equipment (already have a tractor), will we ever "break even" or pay for the cost of the equipment (new, unless we luck into decent used equip). We're beginning to think we might be better off using the fields as pasture and buying hay (horses, mules and a couple of beef steers in the future). Any opinions are greatly appreciated! We have come to the conclusion that we need our own equip. or don't cut for hay at all.
Thank you!
Are there any rental areas near you? I know a few guys here that rent the equipment for a weekend or two at a time to get their hay in.
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  #3  
Old 06/06/11, 08:50 PM
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For 13 acres, or even 20, no the equipment will not pay for itself if bought new. Not in a reasonable amount of time anyway.

Old equipment could be worth it but be prepared to spend allot of time and money fixing it.

Of course, you've found a market. If interested, it might be worhtwhile to buy new and do custom hay work. You'd have to have allot of time on your hands to do it though.

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Old 06/06/11, 09:12 PM
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Time, DH has thought about doing custom baling, if we buy equipment but a farmer friend of his told him he might not be so thrilled with that job. We did hear about a used mower/conditioner for sale nearby so might be able to gather up all the equipment by next year. If we could stay with the guy who finally said he'd do our hay this year, we'd skip the purchases...until he couldn't do it anymore. I just hate being dependent on anyone.
Invalid, I've not seen any haying equip for rent around here but need to inquire more closely. We just didn't think we'd have this much trouble. Unfortunately, the grass is ready when the guys are the busiest in their own fields.
Thanks for the ideas.

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  #5  
Old 06/06/11, 09:23 PM
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Custom haying can be/is a pain.

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  #6  
Old 06/06/11, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by SueMc View Post
We have 13 acres in new grass hay on our property. In a couple of years we will have double that when the CRP contract runs out. We have gone crazy this year trying to find a farmer who is not too busy to cut and bale our hay. We finally found someone but the hay will be near the end of it's prime baling time.
My question is; if we buy our own mowing, conditioning, baling equipment (already have a tractor), will we ever "break even" or pay for the cost of the equipment (new, unless we luck into decent used equip). We're beginning to think we might be better off using the fields as pasture and buying hay (horses, mules and a couple of beef steers in the future). Any opinions are greatly appreciated! We have come to the conclusion that we need our own equip. or don't cut for hay at all.
Thank you!
Quote:
Originally Posted by SueMc View Post
Time, DH has thought about doing custom baling, if we buy equipment but a farmer friend of his told him he might not be so thrilled with that job. We did hear about a used mower/conditioner for sale nearby so might be able to gather up all the equipment by next year. If we could stay with the guy who finally said he'd do our hay this year, we'd skip the purchases...until he couldn't do it anymore. I just hate being dependent on anyone.
Invalid, I've not seen any haying equip for rent around here but need to inquire more closely. We just didn't think we'd have this much trouble. Unfortunately, the grass is ready when the guys are the busiest in their own fields.
Thanks for the ideas.
Sue , I am in the same boat as you.Grass is ready ,farmer is'nt.Its been like this for 10 years now.I think it has finily sunk into my thick skull ....I need my own equipment.I know it will never pay off ,but like you ,i hate being dependent others.
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  #7  
Old 06/06/11, 09:36 PM
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I had a ten acre plot of good grass I was looking at and ran into the same issues that you are running into now. I also determined that the only real way I could get good hay of the property was to do it myself.

The only cost effective way I could come up with was the BCS two wheeled tractor. I did the math for my area and determined that four years was the break even point. I think that's awfully good for buying new equipment and having that kind of control over your hay.

On the other hand, not many people are willing to walk 10 - 15 acres behind a two wheel tractor. Cutting, then raking, then baling. A lot of walking. Also slow, compared to what we are used to. I would do it, but that's me. I wouldn't think ill of anyone thinking that's not such a good idea.

I don't know of any regular cutting and baling equipment that's cost effective for such small acreage. Too bad they don't make mini hay equipment to fit my BX-24. That would be a treat.

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  #8  
Old 06/06/11, 09:38 PM
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New won't pay but good used will. Shop very carefully. New Holland is a good name to remember, but there are others.

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  #9  
Old 06/06/11, 09:53 PM
 
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I make two acres of hay. No one wants to deal with that little amount. I finally purchased all the equipment needed in very used condition. Here in Ohio (Amish country) there are many machinery sales, several times a year. People from other states come here to purchase their equipment. You can be set up with all of it for under $10,000.00. A lot less if you are mechanically proficient. If you cant fix it yourself (even newer equipment fails),you can be in trouble. This time of year the dealers are very far behind. Hay can not wait for a servicemen to show up, and who can afford the $75.00 per hour.

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  #10  
Old 06/06/11, 09:54 PM
 
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SueMc how do you know they wont renew that CRP contract? I had a family member with over 100 acres renewed last year. You might be able to find someone to cut and bail on halves. Thats done around here all the time.

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  #11  
Old 06/06/11, 09:57 PM
 
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I do about the same amount of acreage as you have with a modified bush hog ( left side rear cut out) and a NewHolland rake and a pine straw baler to make hay for my own use. It makes excellent hay but is very slow. I can make about 40 bales a day but they are only about 45 lb. bales. Works good for my rabbits and goats though, but pretty slow. They stack good, and keep good, and my animals like it better than feed store hay. There's no way I could justify the cost of even a used baler for my purposes. The pine straw baler workes real good, you just have to be willing to spend the time.

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  #12  
Old 06/06/11, 10:02 PM
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10 k is way to high unless that price also includes tractor .People use to do shares around here, but like the way grampa farmed ,saddly thats in the past....

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  #13  
Old 06/06/11, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Badger View Post
I do about the same amount of acreage as you have with a modified bush hog ( left side rear cut out) and a NewHolland rake and a pine straw baler to make hay for my own use. It makes excellent hay but is very slow. I can make about 40 bales a day but they are only about 45 lb. bales. Works good for my rabbits and goats though, but pretty slow. They stack good, and keep good, and my animals like it better than feed store hay. There's no way I could justify the cost of even a used baler for my purposes. The pine straw baler workes real good, you just have to be willing to spend the time.

Link please.......
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  #14  
Old 06/06/11, 10:07 PM
 
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J.T.M. I did not spend that much, I was referring to ready to go equipment. My cost: Haybine $750.00, Tedder $800.00, Rake $650.00, Baler $900.00. I use flat bed trailer to carry it. A wagon (not kicker) can be had for $600.00.

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  #15  
Old 06/06/11, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by achrap View Post
J.T.M. I did not spend that much, I was referring to ready to go equipment. My cost: Haybine $750.00, Tedder $800.00, Rake $650.00, Baler $900.00. I use flat bed trailer to carry it. A wagon (not kicker) can be had for $600.00.

This is more in line with my thinking.....

Any regrets ?
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  #16  
Old 06/06/11, 10:12 PM
 
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link to what ?

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  #17  
Old 06/06/11, 10:14 PM
 
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Badger, 40 bales a day? My two acres I just put away yielded 250 bales. It would have taken me six days to bale that based on your 40 bales per day. Ten acres would take a month to bale, or did I misunderstand you. I also used a brush hog for several years, the problem is that it tends to destroy the leaves on the Alfalfa.

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Old 06/06/11, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Badger View Post
link to what ?
Id like to learn more about your bailer.Can you give a brand name so I can look it up?
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  #19  
Old 06/06/11, 10:22 PM
 
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Well, I don't have alfalfa , and I'm only telling you what my experience is, I've been doing it for a few years now and that's a pretty good averege. I use a bush hog, New Holland rake. Pick it up on a trailer loose, move it to a shade tree and bale it with a pine straw baler, by hand. I get about 40 bales a day average.

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  #20  
Old 06/06/11, 10:22 PM
 
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I haver never heard of anyone renting out their equipment. At the costy of good eqwuipment who in their right mind would let an inexperienced person use it.

I have a 1934 CC Case tractor that my grandad bought. I wont even let people set on it. I have a 48 H Farmall, and a 1950 Cub Farmall that once was painted white when new, for a year. I have 2 horse mowers that work, both 6ft, ones a MH, the others an IHC. I havew 2 steel wheeled side rakes that work, Ones a JD, the others a Case. I have a Dump rake, I have a loose, and a bale type hay loader. I have a 1960 140 Casae bailer that wont tie right. I could fix it, but I cant find anybody alive who knows about them, so Im still trying to fix it. Other than the bailer, everything else runs good. I also have a 40s IHC simi mount 7ft mower. 2 flat bed trailers.
Alla this is OLD old used equipment. I wouldnt rent it out for ANY amount of money that anybody would be willing to pay. Ive got along without money for most of my life, I dfont need it now.

Like some others in here, when I came to Okieland, I had hay to bale. The baler people had tyheir steady customers, and their relations to baler up. I couldnt find anybody to do mine. Thats when I started buying and bringing down here the equipment I had in NW Mo. Now, I can tell them to kiss, off. I dont need them. Ive made sorgum sudan hay and ive made pararie hay.

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  #21  
Old 06/06/11, 10:23 PM
 
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J.T.M. no regrets at all. Just wish I was getting younger instead of being months shy of sixty. Repairing equipment is just another part of subsistence farming. It helps that I am a Journeyman machine repairman. Thirty years in industrial maintenance. Have been on my own for the last ten years, but homesteading for thirty five years.

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Old 06/06/11, 10:24 PM
 
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achrap, Ive baled Sudex hay that was so tall I couldnt see over it standing up on the tractor. and ive NEVER seen 2 acres make 250 bales.

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  #23  
Old 06/06/11, 10:24 PM
 
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J. T. M. - Google pine straw baler from Barnes machine shop - They have a good video of how it works

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  #24  
Old 06/06/11, 10:35 PM
 
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FarmBoyBill, let me clarify. I make my bales at around 40 pounds. Just cant handle them any bigger any more. The two acres is give or take some. My point was that 40 bales a day is going to take some time. Here in Ohio, it can rain at any moment, so the hay needs to get in. I used to help my grandfather when I was a kid and we did it all with a hay loader and I was not the one on the tractor. I wish I could do loose hay like that again, but just do not have the help I would need.

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  #25  
Old 06/06/11, 11:09 PM
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achrap, Ive baled Sudex hay that was so tall I couldnt see over it standing up on the tractor. and ive NEVER seen 2 acres make 250 bales.
I have not done the per acre math on it ,but last year I got 22 round bails with a total weight 39,550 lbs. off of 5 acres of land.
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  #26  
Old 06/06/11, 11:21 PM
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250 40 pound bales off 2 acres would be a good yeild here in E Ontario but hardly uncommon. Around here if you're not getting 100 bales per acre first cut there's something wrong

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  #27  
Old 06/07/11, 01:17 AM
 
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New???? You gotta be kidding, takes a couple 100 acres of good hay to try to pay off new baling equipment, you are looking at $30,000 or more.

But should be pretty easy, if you are in farm country, to find a setup good used for $2500 or so, and that will at least break even over time on that.

Spend money on a good baler, a NH 69 or bigger number, one in good shape, parts are still avaialable easily and good machines, can be had for $500-1000. This is the action piece, you want to find a good one in good repair and if you gotta pony up a little more money then you have to, you don't want some clunker that doesn't tie. JD made a few good old models as well, 14T or 24T. Other brands will be cheaper, but you can easily be buying problems - the other colors didn't get knotters figured out so well, and you can get a problem with poor parts support...

Cutting grass hay, pretty easy with a sickle mower, $250 should get you one. Maybe have to spend $600, but then sometimes see them sell for under $100.

Cutting alfalfa or clover, you want a crimper involved, that setup will run you more money.

A rake, if you need to save money buy a junky one. $100 to 600 will get you junky to pretty good.

New???? Holy cow. You haven't priced new farm machinery, have you?

What kind of tractor do you have, 35 hp or more is nice, and live pto makes life _so_ much more fun. I suppose you have an 8N eh, little underpowered, not many gear speeds to choose from, and no live pto so baling will be a struggle....

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  #28  
Old 06/07/11, 01:37 AM
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No one is going to rent haying equipment around here. The season is just too short and unpredictable. That is exactly why having someone else do you hay is problematic. Where you are, there should be two or three cuttings. Now, at the latter part of first cutting, you have someone that can accommodate you, I’d expect that this new plan puts you at the bottom of his “to do” list.

With all the flooded areas around the country, I’d suspect many people are running behind on good haying weather.

Haying equipment, like everything else, only breaks down when you are using it. Mastering the repairs of things like knotting mechanisms while learning about cutting depths and speeds, when to rake and how to rake without making a windrow into a big rope and how damp is too damp to bale is a lot to learn.

Being at the mercy of a farmer that has the equipment to bale your hay isn’t as bad as having him bale hay around your broken equipment.

If you had 60-100 acres, I’d suggest you gradually get into cutting your own hay. Justifying the equipment purchase with agreements to make hay on other’s fields is a bit premature. You’ll need to know what you are doing, able to do your repairs and, since you must “make hay while the sun shines”, be able to put haying ahead of your “real” job.

Perhaps, you could rent your ground for corn or soybeans and simply use that money to buy good quality hay?

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  #29  
Old 06/07/11, 06:02 AM
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Thanks everyone for the wealth of info you all have contributed. I'm going to have DH read this thread. To answer the questions asked:
We have a mid-sized tractor, can't remember the HP, does have PTO. We also have an old AC that comes out of the barn for parades. It does a good job hauling the manure spreader and for mowing.
We don't want to renew the CRP. We have a building site in mind that is within the contract area. We even briefly considered "buying back" the contract to be able to build early (ouch!). We are able to get a pond dug on CRP this year as it's considered an enhancement.
Regarding cash renting. We stopped that after last year's crop and had the field planted in grass last Fall. The pasture is more important to us the since we have animals. I do want to have feed plots planted on part of the CRP land since we have alot of pheasants and some turkeys around.
We've only had this property for 1 1/2 yrs and are anxious to get things done, and have accomplished quite a bit. We'll get the haying issue figured out too!
Thanks again.

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Old 06/07/11, 06:11 AM
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Forgot to say; I took Invalid's question about renting to mean renting from a company, which we do when we need a backhoe. We've never checked to see if our local rental has haying equipment (bet not). I wouldn't want to rent or borrow from a private person. I'd be worried about something happening. FBB, I have a motorcycle that no one rides except me so I understand about others not being on your farming equip! From the way he watches me, I don't think DH likes me being on the tractor.

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