09-28-2012, 10:36 AM
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I thought hay was high too until we started doing our own. Now I think it is cheap. We do our own hay (about 150 acres) and some custom jobs...most of which are not worth our trouble. It costs us more to do the work than we get out of it. This is why. It takes at least 5 peices of equiptment to do hay. A tractor big enough for the haying equiptment, ours is a 100hp. Not a cheap thing to buy by any means, but you can get old used ones for $10000. The trouble with older used ones is they then to break down often and parts are expensive. A way to cut the grass. Ours is a bar style rotary cutter and those things are very heavy and about $10000 used. They have rotating blades that get dull easily and have to be replaced regularly. It takes a rake to put the hay in windrows. We have a 10 wheel rake. That is one of the cheaper peices of equiptment. The teeth on the rake need replacing frequently. You need a baler. A new JD square baler is $25,000. An older one that needs frequent repair is still $8000. You also need baler wire. That runs $70 a box and it takes two. You can only use it one season if you are lucky as it gets rusty and then hangs up in the baler.Once you have your hay baled you then you need some way to get the bales out of the feild. A truck and trailer perhaps. So the diesel to take your tractor around the feild at least 3 times, one to cut, one to rake and one to bale. The fuel to run everything, supplies and hours of time. So it does'nt pay unless you do a lot of hay that you don't have to haul equiptment to. Hauling that much equiptment is a whole new set of expenses. It takes a big truck and heavy trailer and several trips. We do hay on shares but it is 70/30 and we get the 70. I realize that it sounds unfair. Once I get that 70 bales out of 100, I still have to haul it off your property to mine. We will happily do it for cash but there is a minimum fee. I have to at least cover the cost to haul my equiptment, fuel, supplies and labor. I can't do that on a small feild.