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Please help me start!!????


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#1 hunter85

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 10:08 PM

My father offered to buy 30/40 acres as an investment oppertunity in North GA. Is it a good idea to start my own operation??? I would be starting from scratch and dont know what angel to approach this. This would not be a main source of income would just like to help on land payments. Would splitting the hay 50/50 with some one be a good idea or purchase our own equipment? ANY HELP WOULD BE GREATLY APPRETIATED. Thnks and Godbless.

#2 Toyes Hill Angus

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 10:25 PM

Only you know what your wallet can handle. Share cropping is a good way in the door for sure. Also, as far as I know they quit making more land a long time ago, swamp draining and bush clearing aside, so in my mind land values will only go up.
I have no idea what your area is like but here things are very competitive when it comes to land with one trying to outbid the other. Never a bad idea as long as the ground is mostly flat, well drained, and no native indian groups have a land claim on it.
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#3 Tim/South

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 10:32 PM

Most haying splits I know of are 60/40 or even 70/30, the lions share going to the custom baler.
It would probably be cheaper to hire the work done and sell the hay. Around here we can get a crop cut, raked and baled for $16.50 per roll.
Years ago when we first planted hay it was easier and cheaper for us to hire the baling. We focused on selling and other farming areas.
That said, I am a big proponent of being self sufficient. I like to grow my own hay, raise my replacement heifers and do everything I can on my own. Not saying I am right, just my mindset.

Is the property farm land?
Would you need to plant hay or is it already established?
Do you live close to the property? Would equipment be secure if left unattended?
Is there a lot of hay available in your area? I ask to see what the market would be.

It is a pretty big decision to start from scratch. Land and equipment are not cheap, even when purchased separately.
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#4 hunter85

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:49 AM

Thanks guys, the land is flat and has Bermuda on it, I'm sure it needs some fertilizer. I am about 45 min north of Atlanta. For the most part a lot of smaller farms so not many people cut there own. There is a big market in Atlanta for horse quality hay. The property is about 25 min away, I am a full time firefighter and have a great work schedule so I can contribute what ever time is needed.

#5 RockmartGA

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 06:06 AM

A tractor will be your biggest investment and even if you do not get into haying, you will still need a way to maintain the land. A tractor and bushhog probably should be your first purchase.

As far as getting into hay, I would suggest finding someone willing to cut/bale on shares. Usually, this means you pay for fertilizing/spraying and the other person cuts/bales with each of you taking half.

Disadvantages are that you are not going to make much (if any) money on the proposition and you are at the mercy of the other person's schedule.

Advantages are that you get to learn the hay business from someone with experience and you also get to learn the hay market without a large expenditure in equipment. Later on, if the numbers work, you can start investing in equipment.

Good luck to you...

#6 man of steel

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 07:03 AM

I would be starting from scratch and dont know what angel to approach this.


You for sure need and angel to watch over you on any to do with starting any type of farming:)

Sorry but couldn't resist
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#7 JD3430

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 07:07 AM

hunter85, I'm in the same boat as you. ~40 acres and trying to find buyers for the hay. I'm part way done buying equipment and looking for barn space to store rectangular bales!!!
Challenging, but something I've always wanted to do.
Succeed or fail, I'll be able to look back and say "I gave it a shot".

#8 jenkinsfarmsinc

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 05:25 PM

I kind of started in the same fashion as yourself. I am also a career Firefighter in Colorado but grew up farming and ranching on my families operation. I started off backwards in a sense from your situation however, I couldn't afford the land so I purchased equipment and started custom farming all the neighbors land. It was a nice side job, paid for all my machines anyway. I am now able to invest in land and I am closing on my first 105 acres of hay ground next week. I would suggest a couple things, based off past experience. Your best option, if you have the land, is to hire out what you can and what you cant afford to buy up front. Then slowly start buying small, used, lower price equipment as you can afford them. The second option, which is far more risky, borrow the money upfront to purchase decent equipment and then go custom to pay them off while you farm your land in between. I wouldn't be afraid to crop share with someone, as long as it isn't too large of a share (ie 60+%), it sometimes works better this way because the custom guy has a vested interest in putting up high quality hay. I have seen way to many "custom farmers" who don't care about quality and come bale your hay when they are good and ready, thus hurting your bottom line and end up with sub quality hay. Hope this helps!

#9 urednecku

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 08:19 PM

hunter85, I'm in the same boat as you. ~40 acres and trying to find buyers for the hay. I'm part way done buying equipment and looking for barn space to store rectangular bales!!!
Challenging, but something I've always wanted to do.
Succeed or fail, I'll be able to look back and say "I gave it a shot".


Me, too. I inherited 67 acres from my parents. Had a tractor & disc, and decided to plant a 10 acre field in hermothia. Got it planted, couple years having to hire it cut & baled. Couple years ago planted another app. 15 acres. Trying to work my way up, last Feb. I found a disc-bine, baler, & rake @ a what sounded like a good price. I've put couple thousand $$ & some time in them, but just finished pulling the first crop in from the hay field today. It's a real nice feeling to look at it and say "I did it all myself"!!
Best of luck with it.
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#10 AndyH359

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 09:47 PM

Like many of these guys said, I also grew up on a farm then moved away. 4-1/2 years ago had the opportunity to buy the farm next door to the own I grew up on, including his equipment.
Best advice I saw in the post was to not jump into a bunch of high priced equipment. Look around (craigslist, tractorhouse.com, e-bay) and find some decent used stuff. With just 30 or 40 acres you probably don't need a 15' SP discbine and a $100k tractor. Remember you have to learn to crawl before you can run.
If you got a strong market nearby, learn the market and what is being offered. Hay is a commodity. Lots of people sell it. Figure out what will set you apart/differentiate you from the other 12 guys around you selling hay? In my area, a lot of the hay is surplus hay that cattle farmers sell off. I make hay exclusively to sell. I set myself apart with storage/delivery options, quality product, and good customer service. You'd be amazed at the stories customers tell me how their previous hay supplier acted like the customer was bothering them!

#11 hunter85

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:53 PM

Thanks a bunch guys, a lot of needed advice. What size equipment would be good for that much land?

#12 jenkinsfarmsinc

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 11:17 PM

Ultimately, it depends on how much you want to spend in relation to size. It also depends on your overall plan I guess. I started with a 14' JD 2280 swather, a 4010 JD propane tractor and loader, and an 8545 Case IH inline baler. It was all pretty cheap but they did alot of work and made some good money. Plus, Im sure that farming there is different then here in the west, its flat and dry here. Might be best to check with other farmers in your area and see what they like the best.

#13 hay&litter

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 09:36 PM

I started about the same way and I too am a fulltime firefighter and the County Fire Coordinator. Look for good used equipment, it dont matter if it is 20 to 30 years old. Being a FF you must some mechanical ability, if not hire someone to bale it for you. If you cant work on your own stuff now you will learn. We, I now include my 17 year old son in the business, have a 1973 David Brown 990, 1978 IH 886, 1985 Case 585, 1980 Ford F700 Litter spreader truck, 1999 JD 240 skidsteer, 2 M&W hay balers of which we are trading for a newer belted baler this spring, couple of old hay rakes, couple old fluffers, 1 Kuhn GMD600 mower, JD 260 mower that I have completly rebuilt the bar 3 times and a year old Kubota 7040. We started out with about 40 acres of hay land and mostly borrowed equipment in 2006. Now we are up to about 430 acres of hay we cut usually 3 and sometimes 4 cuttings a year. We clean out about 12 layer houses a year too. We sell some of litter and spread all our hay ground with the rest. It took me long time to get to where we now, dont jump out buy the first thing that comes along. Take your time, search, haggle and dont be scared to buy older good equipment, most the old stuff will out last the new. Oh, and a barn is a must for hay storge for your very picky horse people.

#14 Canderson012

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 12:07 AM

Well what I would do is let someone cut and bale it and you just list the hay for sale and sell it. Kind of like a hay broker and you have no equipment investment. I did that one year and made good money, but I just went a bought some equipment to do it myself.

#15 urednecku

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 01:21 PM

Well what I would do is let someone cut and bale it and you just list the hay for sale and sell it. Kind of like a hay broker and you have no equipment investment. I did that one year and made good money, but I just went a bought some equipment to do it myself.


That's what I did the first few years. Problem I had, the man that did the best job, also cost the most, and then I could never get in touch with him. Or he would not call me back. Next man couldn't get here when I needed him. (Yea, I understand the bigger customers come first, it's a $$$$ thing.) The last man I had to bale for me, the bales are not tight, some real 'lop-sided', and most the end wraps of string is so close to end of the bale it slides right off, leaving the end of the bale un-tied and a bunch of string hanging off. BUT, this man was here when I needed him. He came in last Sept when my baler wouldn't make a good bale and rain was getting close, and I felt only charged real reasonable.
Last year I found some worn-out equipment for a low price, put about $1700 in repairs, (yep, that's just parts, no telling how many hours of me 'playing' with it & changing parts) and baled when I felt conditions were right. If/when I get this years crop sold, the equipment will owe me very little, esp if I count the experience I have gained.
Search tempest can be your friend. Take time to look & shop, learn the value of different equipment, be ready to buy when a great deal comes along, but don't pay more than it's worth just because it's here right now.

#16 whitewing

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 06:51 PM

A tractor will be your biggest investment and even if you do not get into haying, you will still need a way to maintain the land. A tractor and bushhog probably should be your first purchase.

As far as getting into hay, I would suggest finding someone willing to cut/bale on shares. Usually, this means you pay for fertilizing/spraying and the other person cuts/bales with each of you taking half.

Disadvantages are that you are not going to make much (if any) money on the proposition and you are at the mercy of the other person's schedule.

Advantages are that you get to learn the hay business from someone with experience and you also get to learn the hay market without a large expenditure in equipment. Later on, if the numbers work, you can start investing in equipment.

Good luck to you...


Very sound advice and exactly how I got started in the hay baling biz. Thumbs up!

#17 jturbo10

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 07:15 PM

Similar story when starting my hay business. Had two farms in two states plus full time job where I was gone 50% of the time. Sold both farms and moved to another state. Was doing grain farming so I had to sell the grain farming equipment and two tractors but kept my older equipent in good shape, IH3588, JD 4450, JD 3020, JD 630, and JD 850. I bought all new haying equipment, NH baler, Kuhn mower, and Kuhn wheel rake as I didn't want to break down when time was critical, especially with my job schedule. Recently purchased a very good NH bale wagon to cut down on labor, and just finished building a large hay barn with attached equipment storage area to supplement my horse barn hay storage. Had a poor hay season last year due to drought but still made money as the price of quality hay is outstanding. I also custom hayed some for my neighbors on a share basis and have a couple more calling me this year to do their haying. Not too many custom small square balers in the area although I also plan on buying a good used round baler at the end of this season so I can appeal to the horse and cattle hay buyers. Have a source for large square bales in the midwest but don't have the semi or hay trailer. Could use my diesel truck and large Big Tex trailer but not sure about legal DOT interstate rules. Have to look at profit margins with the price of fuel and extra employees. I agree with most of the threads that say start small and don't go overboard until you have figured out how much you need to charge to make a reasonable profit. I have turned down several ranchers who wanted me to cut on a 50/50 basis after looking at their fields. Many fields are in bad shape with thin hay, weed and rock issues that can ruin good equipment. I won't agree to share in spraying or fertilizer costs unless I can get a long term contract of 3-5 years so I can recoup my money invested in field enhancements. I'm not greedy so I try to be specific and reasonable but my customers come first....if the product is not what they want and need in quality and quantity you won't get repeats. JMHO

#18 Crookhorn Farms

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 07:05 PM

Think real hard about this!!! Graduated in 2009 with nothing to start off haying with. Now its 2012 and im haying roughly 120 acres and running 25 head of cattle. Plus working 1300 acres row crops with my old man. Had no life since graduation but this is what ive always wanted to do. I LOVE IT!!! But its def. not for everybody.
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#19 ForemanTX

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 07:36 PM

Well I guess I done it the other way than most.I borrowed 35,000 and went and bought all new equipment.I do have 55head of cows that could sell some if needed but paying someone to cut 3times a yr(cost$28 a roll),I have already paid my yearly payment on it,plus it was a write off. Having the equipment to bale what you wont when you wont and not having to rely on someone else is well worth the investment.I already had my tractors and just traded an older one on new Kubota7040 and can shred for local farms,that the tractor more than pull its weight. I guess just depends on if you wont to take on the extra work for a short bit to get the new equipment paid down. I bought my own 300gallon sprayer and it paid for itself 2yrs,take really good care of it and should last you a long time.
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#20 Canderson012

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 09:10 PM

Think real hard about this!!! Graduated in 2009 with nothing to start off haying with. Now its 2012 and im haying roughly 120 acres and running 25 head of cattle. Plus working 1300 acres row crops with my old man. Had no life since graduation but this is what ive always wanted to do. I LOVE IT!!! But its def. not for everybody.

I just graduated, started college but I'd rather be baling, growing watermelons and harvesting pecans than sitting in school! hahah




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