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Seems there is money in selling hay. Can someone give me a cost per mile of shipping hay, and bales per truck info? I can buy hay for a relative good price here, and need to know shipping costs.
 

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Many, many variables. The cost per mile depends on the driver having a load of something to "back haul", so he won't have a lot of empty miles to cover. There isn't an exact standard size bale and weights can vary widely. The hay that is shipped around here is often wire tied bales that weigh 70 pounds and are about 32 inches long. The big square bales are more compact and can contain more hay in a smaller area than the small square bales. Supply causes wide swings in hay prices. Northern Michigan has been real dry, so won't have as much hay to ship. Perhaps other areas have plowed down their hay fields in favor of the expected rise in corn prices. I don't know the pasture conditions in KY and FL or other states that normally import hay.
You can get more hay on a flat bed semi trailer than an enclosed one, but risk ruining your hay if the truck is caught in a rain shower.
First, find a buyer, then locate a hauler. Find out the size of his trailer. Measure your bales and do the math. By the way, max heigth for a semi is 13 feet, 6 inches. Eight feet wide is the standard, but you can do 100 inches without anyone getting conserned.
 

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Tinknal - By my calcs... If you have a 53' flatbed and IF the bales are 4' long by 20-22" wide and deep you should be able to load 65 bales per layer and IF the bed of the trailer is 4' off the ground you should be able to get 6 layers before exceeding the 13.5' height limit (thanks haypoint) OR a total of about 400 bales.

If you were to ship them from Minneapolis to Orlando (~1600 miles) that would be 8 miles per bale (round trip) at say 5 mpg average (.60per mile X 8 = 4.80 per bale) just in fuel cost to get them to central Florida from central Minnesota. (Not saying that you'd have to take 'em to FL - just chose that since hay prices were over the top down their last year) You could mitigate some of the fuel expense (half) by not having to dead head the truck back to MN. Add the cost of a tractor and a driver and you're probably looking at $7-8 Less the $2.40 if you had a return load. If you could buy them for $2.50 ($1000), I think you'd be scratchin' your head trying to find enough folks to pay $12-14 per bale for even good hay to make it worthwhile. Personally, if I couldn't make $800-1000 per load, I probably couldn't consider the investment in time and money. Of course I could be way off on one or more of the calculations and possibly overlooked some expense (insurance?) also....

I have to admit that I've thought of this also, but never put even a dull pencil to it....
 

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tinknal said:
Seems there is money in selling hay. Can someone give me a cost per mile of shipping hay, and bales per truck info? I can buy hay for a relative good price here, and need to know shipping costs.
A flatbed trailer is 8ft wide by 48 or 53 ft long and can probably carry about 40-45k lbs at a total height of 13'6". You might be able to hire an owner operator to haul it someplace they're trying to get for about $2-$3per mi. You might do better but it might take a lot of luck and research.
 

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I too have considered this business idea.

I would be careful though, if I may offer a word of wisdom. You better know hay the way I see things, and be able to describe it to any buyer accurately. Grass hay grown in Nebraska may not be the same quality as hay grown in Ohio, for instance.

You dont want to get sued over two loads of hay, or have some reject your shipment once it gets to Kentucky.

Good Luck, and I hope you make a fortune!!!!

Clove
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
clovis said:
I too have considered this business idea.

I would be careful though, if I may offer a word of wisdom. You better know hay the way I see things, and be able to describe it to any buyer accurately. Grass hay grown in Nebraska may not be the same quality as hay grown in Ohio, for instance.

You dont want to get sued over two loads of hay, or have some reject your shipment once it gets to Kentucky.

Good Luck, and I hope you make a fortune!!!!

Clove
I am aware of hay quality. Nebraska shortgrass is actual EXCELLENT hay and I wouldn't hesitate to put it up against any grass hay in the country. Unfortunately I only have access to alfalfa and clover...................... :shrug:
 

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Hay that is moved any appreciable distance is usually in the form of big square bales (3X3X8 ) foot. Most loads are 24 - 26 tons per semi load.
Some small square bales are trucked, but labor to make them, load them, and unload is making them a smaller part of the interstate hay business.
 

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tinknal said:
I am aware of hay quality. Nebraska shortgrass is actual EXCELLENT hay and I wouldn't hesitate to put it up against any grass hay in the country. Unfortunately I only have access to alfalfa and clover...................... :shrug:
If you are upset with what I said, please forgive. It was only offered as a caution.

I don't think I would fair well in the hay biz, because I don't know hay inside and out. I know it well, but I am no expert.

Nebraska hay is good, but I think buyers are finnicky to say the least. I know a woman that wont feed her precious horses anything but compressed alfalfa. I know another guy that wouldnt feed anything from the other side of the county, let alone the country.

I often joke that I would rather have a glass of pond water than to drink a Pepsi. I am a Coke guy, plain and simple. I think hay buyers sometimes fall into the same category.

I still wish you very well on your endeavor.

Clove
 

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Up North said:
Hay that is moved any appreciable distance is usually in the form of big square bales (3X3X8 ) foot. Most loads are 24 - 26 tons per semi load.
Some small square bales are trucked, but labor to make them, load them, and unload is making them a smaller part of the interstate hay business.
The problem then with the large bales becomes handling them on the other end as many places aren't set up or used to handling that size bale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
clovis said:
If you are upset with what I said, please forgive. It was only offered as a caution.

I don't think I would fair well in the hay biz, because I don't know hay inside and out. I know it well, but I am no expert.

Nebraska hay is good, but I think buyers are finnicky to say the least. I know a woman that wont feed her precious horses anything but compressed alfalfa. I know another guy that wouldnt feed anything from the other side of the county, let alone the country.

I often joke that I would rather have a glass of pond water than to drink a Pepsi. I am a Coke guy, plain and simple. I think hay buyers sometimes fall into the same category.

I still wish you very well on your endeavor.

Clove
Oh gosh, no offense taken. I realize that opinions vary and I would never think of exporting hay to an area where it was in plenty. The simple fact is that folks opinion has a way of changing when prices go up and supplys get tight.
 

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We cut and sold hay for 10 years.We quit this year(just cut for ourselves )We didn't make big money I think all told with labor, equipment,supplies, and fuel we probably didn't break even. Last year we shipped several loads to Texas. They paid us per bale and they handled the shipping and handling of the hay. I think the guy told us by the time he got to Texas he had 8.00 per bale in the hay.Figure all your expenses. There is alot of labor involved in loading and unloading square bales.
 

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I was quoted 600 bales at 2.00 per loaded mile last week. Hay would be coming in from N. Florida. Too much money for the base cost of the hay, by the time the mileage was added, the hay was too expensive.

I passed and got hay from MS, I paid 6.00 per bale for coastal. I was told the next load would be 6.50 per bale.
 

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If a person selling hay figures out how much they've got in field maintenance, fertilizer, fuel, equipment, and labor, they're hay will be expensive.

For years, around here, a large roll 5x5 or larger, would go for around 20 to 25$ a roll. My uncle figured he had half that much in fertilizer costs alone, and with fuel and maintenance costs added, he wasn't making any money if he sold any hay. He sold excess in small quantities to neighbors and relatives when they ran short.....more of a public relations/good neighbor policy, instead of making money.

Last summer, there was zero hay cut. Nada. A roll of road weeds was bringing 80$/roll. Corn stalks trucked down from Dallas was 85$ + shipping.

Most herds locally were drastically pruned. The price of cattle plummeted locally.

So, rambling over, back to OP's query. Unless you like to work real hard and have lots of money to give away, hay making, selling, and hauling, is a risky endeavour. If you figure up how much it costs to develop and maintain a meadow, the fertilizer cost (unfertilized hay is just belly filler), the fuel costs, the hauling, the labor!, there's not much money in it.

Now if a person could figure out how to sell futures on the Chicago Board of Trade........you'd get rich!!!!! The only folks who get rich in farming are the traders, in their starched shirts, with clean fingernails, that never ever smell diesel on their clothes, or get grease stains.......but I digress...

Good luck, and if you jump in, keep you're eyes wide open! Oh, and buy some tarps..... cause I (and I'm sure every one else here) wouldn't buy wet hay.
 

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The guy I dealt with Sat. said he made money on his hay because he provided his own fertilizer (chicken litter which he spread from the four chicken houses he owned). He also owned all his equipment and his truck and trailer.

His big expense was hired help, but he bought a conveyor to load the hay into the trailer which reduced the hired help costs.

Most hay guys I deal with have near total automation..auto loaders, accumulators, big grapples, and the hired labor is 3 people or less to cut, bale, load, and haul to the barn. The unloading is done by a grapple which lifts the hay in ten bale sections, which is stacked onto pallets, stringed every run, then when time to load on to customers flat bed, the grapple is again used to pick up those stringed 10 bale lots and those are placed on the trailer.

Takes him about 45 minutes to load 150 bales for me by himself and he never touches the hay by hand.

The balers are expensive, the grappler is expensive and so is the accumulator but he says they are worth it since he doesn't have to pay hired help to handle the bales, the bales look better for less handling by people and stack better.

I guess he makes a profit, he's an engineer, his wife is an accountant and they wouldn't be in business if they weren't making a profit. Horse hay sells for more down here than cow hay..but the same money can be made in erosion control hay and a lot less headaches from what I'm told by both haymen.

Both men sell their hay before cutting and baling on contract..if one can't cut, the other usually can (which is what happened this year) so reg. customers can still get their allotment of hay.

It's a gamble but what in farming isn't?
 
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