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Texas Summer Custom Cutting Market


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#1 michaelnaegelin

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 01:11 PM

Im new on this site and it looks like a great place for information. I recently fell into a deal that I could not turn down, which is a 60 acre pivot already established in good coastal bermuda. The place needs a little work but thats another story. Im here asking if I go ahead and look into purchasing my equipment that I will need for my personal operation is the custom market going to be a good one this year? I do understand that is probably the million $$$ question but people with more experience have a general idea. My concerns are I have this hay field now but with our weather its not looking like a very promising year to move alot of hay with all the rain we are getting in my area. So, with getting my operation up and running I would need to pay for my equipment and operating expenses through custom work, so in a nut shell does it seem like it will be a good one? Thanks any help is greatly appreciated.

#2 Mike120

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 08:29 AM

Personally I would focus on the the hay ground you've got. That needs to pay for the equipment, etc. You also need to find a market for what you produce. The custom work should be gravy. If the weather isn't looking promising at your place, it won't be much better in the rest of your area. If you are going to have to drag your equipment all over S. Texas it's doubtful you'll make much. Where in S. Texas are you getting all this rain? I grew up in Frio County in a perpetual state of drought.
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#3 michaelnaegelin

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 11:41 AM

Im at the north eastern tip of Frio County and i dumped the rain guage last night with 4 inches in it and its still showering on and off. Thats not including the 3 inches prior the week before. I know thats not all the much but it seems like everywhere theres hay stacked out right now. I am positive if I buy used and cheap my ground would more than cover my equipment and operation expenses, Im just all about making more and if I have equipment im only using 3 or 4 times a year why not put it to use and make a little more with it? Thanks for your input where might you be located in Frio if you dont mind me asking?

#4 Mike120

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 10:01 AM

I'm not there any more.....I'm NW of Houston now. Part of our old place is still in the family, but I gave my interest in it to my kids. We were just south of Devine off the old Bigfoot Rd. (now CR 2615). I'm surprized to hear you got that much rain. When I was a kid we always joked that there was a big square hole in the clouds over our place....now I think it's followed me here. I did get about 3.5 inches on Friday though.

Nothing wrong with your plan. I just feel that your first priority should be getting what you've got into production. If that's going to take a long time then maybe the custom route is the way to go to generate cash flow. I just think that selling hay is easier than selling services and managing the time conflicts that go with it. I also don't know that the demand for baling services are in your area. If you've got customers already lined up that's one thing, building up a strong custom baling customer base to pay off your equipment is another. Have you built a business plan yet? Go through this site, there have been a lot of threads about starting up a hay business. To my way of thinking, if you've already got 60 acres under a pivot, you're already further along than most.

#5 michaelnaegelin

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 12:22 PM

Small world im just 4 miles passed 2615 down off of 173 right across from the old dairy farm (Now JLS International) I do have a business plan in effect and things are looking good, as for my operation goes my ducks are in a row. Thanks for your response in the matter. I see a lot of adds on the local craigslist for cutting and bailing some smaller stuff like 10 to 20 acres mainly, are things like that worth the hassel if they are fairily close and convienient? I do know the hay business somewhat and know what it costs to produce and operate and so on, im just young (25) and a little nervous about sinking money in equipment thats going to sit a lot of the time.

#6 Mike120

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 02:24 PM

A business can be made baling small fields.There are guys on here that do it. I'm surprised that no one else has responded. Other than the equipment costs, you can spend a lot of time and effort hauling from field to field. You minimise that if they're close. The other thing you need to consider is if the field has been baled before. Tall grass can hide a lot of surprises and tear up your equipment.

#7 michaelnaegelin

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 02:39 PM

Yeah I have been there before sucked a few odd things through a cutter before. I think I might try and go look at these fields as both are within 15 miles of me andd see what it looks like.

#8 David in Georgia

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 05:08 PM

I do some custom work, small squares 4x4 and 4x5 rounds. But only on a cash basis with a signed contract stating what the customer expects from me and what I expect from them and the work involved. Tried the whole doing it on shares thing and it's not worthwhile in my area, so needless to say I got burnt and had some fields "stolen". Had a field that belonged to a church being rented to a customer that the guy who had done it the year before just "assumed" it was his.... Before I take on a field I ride and walk the area with the customer having them tell me everything they can such as any holes, rocks, etc. Once I've done that and discussed what kind of bales the customer wants I figure a per bale price and a minimum price, so that if the field doesn't produce enough bales I still come out to the good. Everyone I have baled for has been more than pleased with the minimum pricing and bale price and love the contract, that way no one can say it was supposed to be like this or I told you I wanted it this way. Covers everybody's butt. Hope this helps to give you a little more insight.
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#9 michaelnaegelin

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 10:46 PM

Thats honestly some great information. My cousin does some custom work but mainly for friends and such so he is not really in the "business" so to speak and even the way he does it he still has trouble sometimes. I especially like the minium pricing as most of the smaller fields around us have no irrigation and usually are not fertilized, so the yield is pretty low. Did you have to have an attorney draw up the contract or do you just make them on your own? Thanks for your response.

#10 David in Georgia

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 11:33 PM

We just write it out stating what we're going to do for the customer and anything the customer is responsible for such as moving or stacking their own hay. Then review everything and make sure everyone is satisfied and sign. Example: I took on a farm across the creek from me, me and the wife went over and talked to the owner and his son. We asked what type of bales they wanted, had it been baled in the past, how many and what type of bales had come off it before. After we found this out we drove and walked the fields asking questions and plotting obstructions. While doing this I was figuring cut times in my head to get a general idea for the hours involved. We went home and figured up a per bale price of $10 for a 4x4 round (going price here for 4x4 is $20)and figured I could still make a profit at $500 for the minimum. Wrote out the contract and took it back over in under a hour with some literature on grass types and field maintenance. They looked it over and were extremely impressed with everything. Next weekend I cut and baled getting 81 4x4 rolls and moved 36 bales out of 3 fields up to the barn for them to stack while the wife was teddering and raking the last field. Moved the bales to be "neighborly" it wasn't part of the contract or my responsibility but by doing that it sealed the deal for this particular farm. I've got it from now on for as long as I want to cut and bale it for them.




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