?? on Equipment Needed for Haying

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by debd0712, May 27, 2006.

  1. debd0712

    debd0712 Well-Known Member

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    We have an hay field that is approximately 10 acres. The guy who has been promising since last September to cut and bale the field on shares has proven to be very unreliable. He has told me every day since last Tuesday that he would be over to start the job. Still no sign of him. I have tried to find someone else to do the job and so far been unsuccessful.

    So, I need to know exactly what equipment we would need to cut and bale it ourselves and approximately what we should expect to pay for good used equipment. We would prefer small square bales. We have a JD 2020 tractor.

    Thanks,

    Debbie
     
  2. dcross

    dcross Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How long since it was mowed last?
     

  3. BeesNBunnies

    BeesNBunnies Schnauzer nut

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    On that small of an acreage you would be better off buying hay rather than buying the equipment to bale the hay. New equipment would be prohibitive for that small of an acreage. Used equipment is cheaper but you will always be repairing it......nobody sells hay equipment unless it is just totally worn out. I doubt you will be able to find someone to bale it either. I'm just full of good news aren't I? This time of year EVERYBODY is begging for folks to bale hay for them. With the way grass is growing right now balers can keep busy baling big places. Especially if you are wanting it square baled you are going to have a hard time. Most people want to make round bales rather than square(lot easier to move round bales in an air conditioned tractor than to toss squares up onto a trailer). Something else to consider......have you had it fertilized? If it hasn't been fertilized then it probably isn't going to have as good of a nutritional analysis as you'd like.

    If I was you I'd get something that could store that hay 'on the hoof'. If you don't want to mess with having something to graze it yourself you could always lease it to someone. Always always always specify that the pasture must be brushhogged once a year at least on any lease. I can't even get anyone to come brush hog my place(it's in Missouri too).
     
  4. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I sure wish I had your extra 10 acres to hay. I'd buy the equipment and then hire out to hay for others to pay for it. Most custom hayers work on a 50/50 basis. Around here if the field were planted in Coastal Bermuda I could cut it 4 times a summer and expect to get about 50-60 square bales per acre. That would be about 2400 bales. 2000 bales sold at about $4.00 each would be about $8,000.00. That will help pay for the equipment. If I could irrigate and fertilize it I would get 6 cuttings at about 90 bales to the acre or 5400 bales.
     
  5. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    It depends on how handy you are keeping old equipment pieced together. Sickle mowers especially shorter 5 to 7 foot ones tend to go very cheap around here. Be careful if you get one with huge belt, those belts are pricey. Old JD mowers that mounted on drawbar (pre-3pt hitch era)with little wheel in back and lifted with small hydraulic cylinder were just about as bulletproof as it got. They used gearbox instead of big belt and pulleys. Had an override clutch built into pto. I saw half dozen of them sell at one particular auction for $5 each. The guy just took the cast iron lids off the gear boxes to sell as decoration and left the rest for seller to get rid of. If you already have a brush hog mower you might even try cutting hay with it, just sharpen blades and run pto slow and it might do good enough job to get by on small field. Older side delivery hay rake like when I was kid (NOT the ancient dump rakes that now sell as yard decorations) can be $25 and up. If gearbox is good, you can buy replacement teeth reasonable usually and adapt teeth if original arent available. Newer sleeker style side delivery rakes $500 and up. Small square baler depends on condition and demand. I saw a good but small Allis Chalmers one go for $100 once. I didnt need a baler or I would have bought it at that price. Figure $500 to $1000 for average smaller one that still works. Those that use wire tend to be cheaper to buy but wire costs more than twine. Unless you really want a heck of a project dont get some rusted up relic and hope to make it work. Look for one that shows signs of having been used in last year or two and taken care of. New Holland made some good servicable small square balers. The knotter is big problem on many old balers and you will be lucky to find repair parts.

    Anyway that is the handyman cheap way to hay small field with your own equipment where you already have a tractor. Course if money no object expect to pay multi-thousands to buy late model equipment. Or if you are going to bale hay for others you probably want newer more reliable equipment. But just for your own minimal use purposes, old, small, slow, out of date equipment can be way to go.

    Oh one other thing that old equipment needed daily greasing. Since you only have 10A, just grease before using equipment and there can be lot of places that need such lubrication.
     
  6. RLMS

    RLMS Well-Known Member

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    I have two John Deere 14T balers. One is PTO and one has a Wisconson engine. Both ran last time they were used. They are older balers, but probably as foolproof as they come. They will run easily with your tractor. The PTO one was used last behind a 30 hp New Holland, the engine one behind a Ford 8N.

    You can have them both if you want to come get them. I can load them on whatever you bring or send for them.

    We are in NY, the real part, not lower Manhattan..
     
  7. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Search around and you can find the hay equipment. Since going to rotational grazing I am going to sell most of my equipment. My equipment is not worn out and is sheltered. I have a 472 New Holland haybine that is like new and a Massey Ferguson 124 baler to dispose of. That and a rake and you would be in business. All this would cost you around $5000. You could get by for less by buying a conventional mowing machine. I saw a Ford 501 needing some minor repair sell for $20 at an auction 2 weeks ago.
     
  8. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Deere and New holland will have parts for old hay equipment pretty much forever. Newer MF stuff is OK, I have Massey Ferguson 3 point hitch side deliver rake, I paid $200 for. I like it as much as my $2500 NH rolabar. Deere rakes are good too. IH New Idea etc. rakes are all serviceable. Limit your baler thoughts to Deere or New Holland, and newer Massey, or even inline (<-- note the "inline") Hesston and IH balers if you have dealers for parts. There are hundreds of NH 273 balers out there, some will be cheap, under $500 but will need work, some will make bales with minor repairs (like twine fingers or the brass rollers) for $1500, and there will be a few rebuilt balers out there too for more. Lots of NH models to consider they're all about equal, 275, 276, 310, 311 315, 316, 320 326......... the 315/316 were probably the best of a very good bunch. Deere will have similar styles of square baler for similar prices and are as good and worth keeping/rebuilding. You want a haybine, not a scicle mower, and I'd stick with NH on this. Never liked Deere mower conditioners myself. Never really matched NH for quality either which is strange. The bigger hydroswings and self propelled probably came closer, but still you can get parts for 40 year old NH but I doubt you'd get a scicle drive for a similar age Deere. Ignore the super cheap Fords, IH, New Idea, Gehls, older Massey etc. they're all orphaned meaning parts are virtually nonexistant, and some used down right oddball things like special hard to find knives. They were good when new but aren't even on the parts lists at the dealers anymore. Agman is right $5000 isn't a bad price to keep in mind for a good setup, it can be done cheaper, if you shop carefully.
     
  9. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A sickle mower, for $500. If this is grass, good. If this is alfalfa, you might want a mower/conditoner aka haybine - $1500 or double for a useful model.

    A baler, JD14T or newer is ok, in my area a NH baler is far more popular, a 69 or newer. Any other brand of older baler is not well supported & was not designed as well. They will sell cheaper, for good reason. If you are a good mechanic you might do fine with one, but know what you are getting into..... I would buy a NH myself.

    Side rake - can skimp here & get a $100 model, good NH goes for $400 - 1500 depending on model. But, if you must skimp, skimp here.....

    Most want a hay rack to go behind the baler. $250 or double. You need 2 people to bale - one driving, one stacking. Or you can get a bale basket, bale thrower & bale rack - either adds $1000 or more one way or another. Or you can drop the bales on the ground, pick up the next day - but _lot_ of work, still need a trailer to put them on.....

    I'm not a JD guy, so don't know the power of your tractor, need 35 hp & enough weight to run a baler. Don't want the tail wagging the dog. Can 'get by' with 28 hp, but _not_ a compact tractor - need the weight. And, you will be _much_ happier running a baler with a live pto. Miserable to bale without live pto.

    North of me in grass hay they get 1 cutting per year. As others mention, other areas get 6-7 cuttings in a year. Depends a _lot_ on what hay it is, and your climate, what you will actually get. Some places 10 acres isn't worth bothering with; others it will seem like a full time job. :) Don't really know what you have.....

    This web site has compiled a _lot_ of good info on making hay, I would recommend studying it. Really good reading.

    http://www.sheepscreek.com/rural/haying.html

    --->Paul
     
  10. chris30523

    chris30523 Well-Known Member

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    He may be waiting on the weather.I know around here for good hay you need at least 5 days in a row of dry weather.We cut hay and have several people waiting on us.Unless they want rain on their hay they will wait.Some say bale it anyway.Its their barn..We have about 10 acres in our back pasture in grass and I got 1000 square bales first cutting.I don't know what you pay for hay but We can get two maybe three cuttings a year here.So I would weigh the price of the equipment against the cost of hay and go from there.If you use the 10 acres for grazing that would cut down on the amount of hay you need.Not to mention there is alot to go wrong with hay equipment.We are constantly fixing something..
     
  11. Corky

    Corky Well-Known Member

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    This is how we did our hay for about 5 years. Until we had too many critters and needed the field for pasture.
    Keep in mind that we live on the banks of a river, on the side of an ozark mountain so everything is up and down hill. :)
    Oh yeah! Also keep inmind that we are a little different to say the least. :) OK, NUTS! :shrug:
    We had a three acre meadow of clover and timothy.
    We cut it when the clover bloomed in the spring and the timothy was just starting to get heads on it. That is a beautiful meadow. Believe me.
    Anyway, we mowed in with the weedeater with long thick string on it.
    Let it lay and dry for a day then raked it over in rows with a leaf rake. This turned it. Then the next day we raked it in piles, loaded it on a big tarp and dragged it down the hill to the truck and put it in the back of the truck to haul it to the barn where we then loaded it into another tarp that was threaded with rope. We then drew up the rope to make a giant bag, hoisted it up to the loft on a pully. I was the one in the loft dumping the tarp. This was the sweetest smelling hay we have ever had.
    I have been stung by bumble bees that thought the meadow belonged to them. We have raced storms for the hay.
    This method is not for the faint of heart! We now buy our hay as we have too many animals. Sad to say the timothy and clover are basicly non existent in that pasture now. It does grow a great crop of stinging nettle though! Ask me how I know. :grump:
    You could do 10 acres this way. Heck , if you have a flat field you could drive the truck right up to the hay. Wow! That would be awesome!
    I would do a few acres at a time though and get more than one weed eater going at a time.
    Call all your friends and plan a barbecue. Tell them all to bring their weedeaters. Tell them you need a little trimming done and will feed them for the help. :rolleyes:
     
  12. debd0712

    debd0712 Well-Known Member

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    First of all, thanks for the replies.

    It sounds to me like getting our own equipment would be a pretty good idea - buying hay is costing a fortune. The field was mowed early last fall, and rotational grazed over the winter - stock was removed from the field early this spring. I don't know when it was last fertilized - we had soil tests done last fall and everything was high - county extension people told us to wait on fertilizing. The field is mixed grasses, which are growing thickly. There is a bit of scattered clover, but not much. We can rotational graze with our cattle (2 cows with heifers)and six horses, but the approximately 100 goats (mixture of dairy and meat) are another matter. We just don't have the fencing yet to keep them in on most of our land. We are working on it (just moved here end of last July), but basically all of our fencing needs major rework (at a minimum) to hold goats. In addition, all of the dairy goats are brought into the barn for the night and can really go through the hay, a good portion of which they waste. I am not sure what horsepower the tractor is but I will check - it is a full size tractor, not a compact. It does have live PTO and we do have the means to transport round bales (or large squares) but no way to stack them.

    The field itself is somewhat hilly, but relatively rock and stump free - at least for this part of the country. Someone at sometime spent a lot of time clearing this field - most of the rest of our property has tons of rock. I can't even imagine trying to hay this field by hand, let alone find a place to store all that loose hay.

    DH is handy with most equipment and would be able to fix most mechanical problems. Money is a definite consideration - I would love to be able to go buy new equipment, but that just isn't possible at this time. I have seen lots of ads in local papers and magazines for haying equipment but really didn't know enough about the various brands etc. The pointers you have given me should definitely help.

    Thanks,

    Debbie
     
  13. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    RLMS, we would be very interested in looking at your balers! I tried to PM buy your mailbox is full.
     
  14. wilderness1989

    wilderness1989 Well-Known Member

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    When I farmed in Ohio I rented, low cost, a mower crimper from the Extension Office or the ASCS I do not remember which. You might check around and see what's available. Crimping hay seals in some nutrients and I dries much quicker. You might run an ad wanted to buy in the livestock/farming classifieds and see what you come up with. Back at that time I came up with a Case baler and a rake for around $400. Most everybody in going to larger bales now and you might come up with some bargains on small square baling equipment. Good help for baling is really hard to find I ended up baling on the ground and picking it up myself.:cowboy:
     
  15. debd0712

    debd0712 Well-Known Member

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    What is ASCS? I will check with the extension office, and try to get a few ads in. We are more than willing to pick the hay up out of the field ourselves, assuming we can quickly come up with a way to get it cut and baled.

    We haven't had a drop of rain for over two weeks, though we did have several weeks of almost constant rain prior to that. If the guy who was supposed to do it is behind because of weather and couldn't make it til a later date that would be fine - as long as he would have the courtesy to let me know and not BS me by telling me he would be here each day and then not showing or even bothering to call. We have delayed several off farm errands in order to wait for him as we had expected to help - or in reality do most of the work ourselves. He was going to bring a cutter which we would help unload, hook to our tractor and use to cut the hay ourselves. He was going to bring a rake and baler later and we were also going to do that work. We had also expected to be picking the hay up ourselves. What we hadn't expected was letting this grass go to waste. Hopefully we can manage to get something arranged before that becomes reality.

    Thank you all for your help, and I apologize for getting frustrated here.

    Debbie
     
  16. debd0712

    debd0712 Well-Known Member

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    The horsepower on the tractor should be sufficient according to what we can find. The drawbar HP is 45, PTO HP is 53.91.

    Debbie
     
  17. Hammer4

    Hammer4 Well-Known Member

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    Yep a 3020 will do real well, even on a smaller round baler. I picked up a IH sickle mower for $150, a JD 14T baler for $425 and a JD 894 rake for $350. That was two years ago, yes it took some tinkering but they are now in fine shape and work very well. You will have to start shopping around and watch farm auctions, find some equipment that is not rusted out and all the pieces are there, get some manuals and replace wear parts ( sickle mower sections, teeth on the rakes, chains and bearings ) and you will be set to do your own baling...
     
  18. RLMS

    RLMS Well-Known Member

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    Minnikin1----Sent you a PM.
     
  19. wilderness1989

    wilderness1989 Well-Known Member

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    What is ASCS?
    Soil Conservation Service.
    I don't remember what the A is for that's just what they used to call it.
     
  20. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    Used equipment prices vary greatly but you usually do get what you pay for. The saying "make hay while the sun shines" has a lot of truth to it, and a piece of worn out or broken equipment makes no hay and the weather waits for no one. The price of the equipment is just the initial investment. Hay equipment does not last long out in the weather so you will need a shed for it too.