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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to get started in hay farming (mainly orchard grass with some alfalfa and bermuda also). I plan on renting ground from local landowners. I know getting the ground to farm won't be a problem, but I'm just wondering what all I need to get started and what kind of work is required? Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Small square bales. There are a lot of horse and cattle farms here in Ga so selling it shouldn't be a problem. I would like to do it for a living eventually but would probably start out small at first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
How many cubes you hoping to make or acres, land rent values price per cube, so I can get an idea on what might be practical
I plan on starting with around 30 acres and then growing from there once I get started good. I can pretty much get as much ground as I want. Land rent should be pretty cheap. I'm thinking I can get it for around $30 per acre.
 

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I have 35 ton left over from last year 4x4 squares, called some customers, offered it for 25$ a bale to get rid of it, no interest, offered to give it to them if they bring their own trucks and still no interest, think I'm going to make it warm outside for a bit! Last few years hay was going clear down to Texas and every place in between for 150$ a ton. It was hard to make the old man give up with me but he didn't complain one bit when he collected a check for his swather and power rake!
 

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Better get to studying how to repair knotters, start looking for something in the nature of 40 hp tractor, maybe 271 new holland baler, John Deere 450 sickle mower, recommend a side delivery rake to keep dust out of the hay
 

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Good year for you in production = no profit, left over hay you cant get rid of
Bad year for you in production = low profit, not enough hay to sell, poorer quality
I was in the business for 14 years, loved the work.
Are you going to deliver or let them come to your barn?
Delivery is a gamble, you get there and they pull 1 bale off and cut it open, then reject the whole load.
If they come to you, they will call you when the weather is the worst, tell you they are out and need a truck load, show up and get 2 bales. All while your supper is getting cold.
The chemicals are not out there to help. Nothing will take Johnsongrass out of Orchardgrass. Believe me I TRIED FOR YEARS!!!!!!
And last, you will spend the money, either on help or equipment. you chose. but the equipment is more reliable. Kids don't want to work. I had to pay $10/hr for help and still couldn't keep any good ones.
At the minimal you need:
2 tractors with loaders (one with grapple for the field and one for the barn)
grapple and accumulator
big enough barn to hold your best production for all year, separated by cuttings, quality, ect.
smaller tractor for raking
2 rakes, you will never borrow one if yours breaks, everybody makes hay at the same time.
NEWEST baler you can afford, you will be working on it often.
And just remember if any one of these break down, you are done. AND THERE WILL BE A THUNDERSTORM COMING.
Don't get me wrong, I loved making hay, but it is a lot easier and more money in your pocket with grain farming.
 

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Don't let some of these guys scare you from hay farming. If you never made hay before your not going to make nothing first year ,cause you will be learning how to make good quality hay. You do need to be good at marketing your product. You need to live close to your market. Hay is expensive to truck. You will need more than one outlet for your hay. Different markets, private sales, auctions etc. Than the last outlet I have is cattle to eat my poor hay and the hay that does not sell.

Also like mentioned get the best equipment that you can afford.
 

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I am from the perry ga area, what part are you from. Have done ok In the hay business, but the best money comes from doing some custom work and collecting a check when you are done. My biggest problem is that most people only want to pay for the cheapest stuff they can find.
 

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Far more truth in the pessimistic posts than I would like to admit. I was young and full of um submariners a bunch of years ago. I made millions gross on hay. Far less than that net. I sprayed out another couple quarters of alfalfa this fall. I never listened to the naysayers. I expect you won't either. Nothing quite like the smell of curing alfalfa.
 

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Small squares are loved by most horse people around here. The often don't have the equipment and such to handle rounds or big squares, and its not usually a good idea to plunk a bale in a pen and let a horse eat itself to death. I can make hay side by side with a small square and round baler, and the round bales will be dustier. Cattle farmers? Most likely won't be interested.

Knowing how to make quality hay is half the battle, getting decent weather at the right time is the other half, and around here the last couple years that is a losing battle. Storage can help a lot, but is a big investment if you don't already have something. Like mentioned, on a good year, you won't sell much because everybody else had a good year and what you do sell won't be worth much. But if you can physically and financially afford to hold on to it, then you'll have good hay for sale on a bad year.

New Holland makes reliable balers of the budget you'd be looking at, and they are plentiful, and parts still available. I like more than 40HP for even a smaller baler though, the reciprocating mass of the plunger takes its toll on small stuff. I'd go 65. Need another tractor also, especially if you have help. I'd get a sickle bar style mower conditioner, about 9ft wide, and that 65 HP tractor can run that too. A disc mower will require a lot more power. 2 rakes, and get a hitch where you can pull them at once. I made mine, it is steerable, you can pull it so that the second rake picks up the windrow of the first and rakes it 2 - 1, or steer it to the other side and with 1 trip around the field, you make 2 rows 1-1, depending on how heavy the crop is. So, 65 HP tractor, 9ft mower conditioner, 2 rakes, rake hitch, and a baler. You could handle 30 acres with this and change and grow as you like. Hauling...what'cha' got in mind? Your going to have, what, 2000 - 2500 bales of first cutting, and a little less per subsequent cuttings? Lots of options here, with various amounts of manual labor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Small squares are loved by most horse people around here. The often don't have the equipment and such to handle rounds or big squares, and its not usually a good idea to plunk a bale in a pen and let a horse eat itself to death. I can make hay side by side with a small square and round baler, and the round bales will be dustier. Cattle farmers? Most likely won't be interested.

Knowing how to make quality hay is half the battle, getting decent weather at the right time is the other half, and around here the last couple years that is a losing battle. Storage can help a lot, but is a big investment if you don't already have something. Like mentioned, on a good year, you won't sell much because everybody else had a good year and what you do sell won't be worth much. But if you can physically and financially afford to hold on to it, then you'll have good hay for sale on a bad year.

New Holland makes reliable balers of the budget you'd be looking at, and they are plentiful, and parts still available. I like more than 40HP for even a smaller baler though, the reciprocating mass of the plunger takes its toll on small stuff. I'd go 65. Need another tractor also, especially if you have help. I'd get a sickle bar style mower conditioner, about 9ft wide, and that 65 HP tractor can run that too. A disc mower will require a lot more power. 2 rakes, and get a hitch where you can pull them at once. I made mine, it is steerable, you can pull it so that the second rake picks up the windrow of the first and rakes it 2 - 1, or steer it to the other side and with 1 trip around the field, you make 2 rows 1-1, depending on how heavy the crop is. So, 65 HP tractor, 9ft mower conditioner, 2 rakes, rake hitch, and a baler. You could handle 30 acres with this and change and grow as you like. Hauling...what'cha' got in mind? Your going to have, what, 2000 - 2500 bales of first cutting, and a little less per subsequent cuttings? Lots of options here, with various amounts of manual labor.
That's the kind of info I'm looking for! Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I am from the perry ga area, what part are you from. Have done ok In the hay business, but the best money comes from doing some custom work and collecting a check when you are done. My biggest problem is that most people only want to pay for the cheapest stuff they can find.
I'm in the Temple area in Paulding County. Not far from Alabama.
 

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with 30 acres its just a hobby your likely not going to get your money back. I like haying we do around 2000 acres but its parts of our custom work/grain farm. I don't know with the rainy wet years we have been having if 2000 acres would support a guy full time and during haying season it takes up to 5 people of course this is only a short season hence it fits with the rest of our farming operations
 
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