We are in the Pacific North West also. We bought a little farm that is 11 acres. We have about 6 acres that we could have turned into hay. I was looking into getting USED hay equipment.
A used rotary hay cutter attachment would cost about $3000.
A used hay rake to wind row the hay are about $1500.
The baler, used is about $3500 to $5000.
So already I was way up there in price. $9000 would be a LOT of hay just bought from someone. So I asked a friend that is about 11 miles down the road about if he would hire out to cut our hay. And he has all the equipment - he grows oats and barley and bales the straw. He has hired out before to hay other people's fields, but they have a bunch more acreage than we do, making it much more cost effective for him to do it.
He said, that with the cost of fuel, time, etc that it wouldn't be worth the outcome for us to have him do it. And he didn't know anyone else right near us that would want to do a little field for us either.
So I decided to just divide up the pasture we have and rotate the horses so a couple paddocks get a rest and grown while one or two others are being grazed. That way I don't have to feed a stem of hay, unless we go over night camping with the horses.
I can often find hay for $3.50 a bale near me. So I am just going to stock up for the winter and call it done.
Now when we lived in Northern California, The *real* Northern part, like almost to Oregon, we had a 6 acre irrigated hay pasture. We had the guy a mile down the road come with his combine and cut, flip, and bale it. He would even gather it up in a hay buggy and put the stacks of hay in our hay barn. He would charge us $200? I think we got three cutting and they were about 2 tons each cutting. But the growing season there is about to start in April. And it lasts until around October sometimes...