To hay, or not to hay? What am I getting into here - The HayTalk Learning Center - HayTalk - Hay & Forage Community

Jump to content




Photo
- - - - -

To hay, or not to hay? What am I getting into here


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 Abe_froman

Abe_froman

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 4 posts
  • LocationTX

Posted 25 July 2020 - 08:07 AM

Hello all, I'm hoping for some advice from you experienced guys out here. Its one thing to have a game plan but the reality is I dont know a thing about running hay. Im In Texas, south of DFW and for the past 5 years have been running cattle. Im considering getting into haying to cut my own cost and maybe sell a few bales. I have access to other land where I can run as much or little as i want ( a 10 acre paddock close by and 200 acres about 10 miles away). I have a 75HP cab tractor, and my thought is to pick up some older equipment to start ( MF sickle bar, rake and vermeer baler) and bale native pasture for my first run. If this goes well, then start spraying and fertilizing in a year or so. Working full time I cant give all day, every day to running hay and I expect that will pose some issues. Are my expectations realistic for some degree of success given a limited budget and wanting to start with old equipment? I appreciate any feedback or advise.   



#2 Trillium Farm

Trillium Farm

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 916 posts
  • LocationDurham Region/Southern Ontario

Posted 25 July 2020 - 09:22 AM

My only advice is to start with 2nd hand equipment, but not old. When old you'll spend more time fixing than haying.

Also forget sickle bars and move right onto a discbine, time and weather are your enemy and the faster you cut the faster it dries and the faster you can bale. You 75hp tractor will handle a small discbine.


  • Vol, somedevildawg, JD3430 and 3 others like this

#3 r82230

r82230

    Hay Master

  • Members
  • 3380 posts
  • LocationThumb of Michigan

Posted 25 July 2020 - 05:14 PM

Is there anyone that can custom bale for you? 

 

If you get it cut and raked, while farming out the baling (I'm assuming that you are doing RB with cattle, but you know about accuracy of assumptions  ;) ), this  could reduce some of your start up costs for a year or so,  while shopping for a decent 2nd hand baler.

 

Of course I know nothing about your weather patterns, nor the dying conditions with your given grass species.   :o

 

I will agree with Trill, about a disc type cutter (discbine or disc mower).  IDK again, but perhaps you have fire ant mounds and/or wild swine in your area, is the rational for the  disc cutters.

 

Larry


  • NebTrac likes this

#4 endrow

endrow

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 4057 posts
  • Locationcentral pa

Posted 25 July 2020 - 06:02 PM

Pay someone to do the work for you 1st year . You can watch  and learn and gather information from them.


  • NebTrac and Wethay like this

#5 Chase72

Chase72

    Member

  • Members
  • 27 posts
  • LocationGeorgia

Posted 25 July 2020 - 07:02 PM

Hire it out, if at all possible buy a disc mower or discbine to cut your hay, and let someone else bale it, it's really hard to find a good used round baler *go round as it is much harder to find good help for squares* would not recommend a baler larger than a 4x4 *case ih 8430, Hesston 540, etc* but you could get by with one of the economy model 4x5, *Hesston 745, MF 1745, etc* you can get a good mower and rake cheap it's just the baler where you may struggle

#6 Tx Jim

Tx Jim

    Hay Master

  • Members
  • 3945 posts
  • LocationCoyote Flats,Texas

Posted 26 July 2020 - 06:36 AM

Where South of DFW are you located? You might be my neighbor!

 

Having custom baled hay in N Texas since '87 I can assure you you if you don't have any prior hay making experience your in for an eye opening experience.

 

Due to the fact of cutting hay with a disc cutter for many yrs I would not want to go back to a sickle mower because of the presence of fire ants.

 

PS: Don't overlook JD rd balers. I've baled in excess of 150,000 rd bales with a JD rd baler. My current JD 467 rd baler has over 26000 bales on the monitor & it baled hay yesterday. 



#7 KS John

KS John

    Member

  • Members
  • 101 posts
  • LocationKS

Posted 26 July 2020 - 08:07 AM

I cant give all day, every day to running hay and I expect that will pose some issues. 

 

 

Depending on how much hay you are going to bale, do what I do. Check the weather and take 1/2 day off work to cut, another 1/2 day to rake etc. Also if you have the time vacation works well for hay season! 

 

Good luck with your endeavor!



#8 JD3430

JD3430

    "Trump deplorable"

  • Members
  • 10774 posts
  • LocationPA/DE border

Posted 26 July 2020 - 01:51 PM

If you get normal or more than normal rainfall and buy a sickle mower without a conditioner and no Tedder, you will increase drying time. That may be difficult for you to make good hay since you can’t devote to farming full time.

I would advise a hay mower, preferably disc mower with a conditioner and a Tedder to shorten your drying time so you can get baled el-quicko. 



#9 Abe_froman

Abe_froman

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 4 posts
  • LocationTX

Posted 28 July 2020 - 06:51 AM

Thank you for the input. Right now the focus on on getting started, and really just proving to myself I can successfully do this. I already have an MF41 sickle, but yes a mower conditioner is in the future if im successful (the 41 was $180 and came with 3 cutting bars, I need new blades and shims though). In my area, myself and a couple others have not had luck securing custom work. Guys are busy and either dont want to add more pastures or in the case of one friend their field was partially cut but lost when it want not baled when rain came two weeks later. 

 

Baler will be my next concern. You always hear the bad about balers needing constant maintenance and tuning. Vermeer 605 has stood out to me. Any recommendations on that front? I personally prefer twine bales but I might be the minority on that. 



#10 r82230

r82230

    Hay Master

  • Members
  • 3380 posts
  • LocationThumb of Michigan

Posted 28 July 2020 - 07:12 AM

Would you be storing RB inside?  If so net wrap has one less advantage.  Net wrap can be faster wrapping is one of MY advantages.  In MY area, twine balers are cheaper to buy however.

 

RB don't seem to need as much fine tuning as a ss baler, IMHO.  Maintenance is needed on both types however.  Inside storage goes a looonnng way (at least in my area) on both types of balers.

 

Color of baler might not be as important as your local dealer support is.  Making hay usually is time sensitive, without parts/service/knowledge, you could be up a creek without a paddle. 

 

10 acres might be hard to justify, but the ability to do 200 acres (plus some custom work), would definitely spread the cost/pay back equation a lot.

 

Maybe the biggest question "Are you sure you want to get the making hay disease?" It can be terrible disease, causing the best of folks to drink, cuss, do other things and wonder 'why?'.   :o

 

You didn't answer TxJim's question, he could be a tremendous help, too.  Being he is familiar with the type of hay grown/weather conditions in your area.

 

Larry

 

PS welcome to HT


Edited by r82230, 28 July 2020 - 07:13 AM.

  • JD3430 likes this

#11 Abe_froman

Abe_froman

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 4 posts
  • LocationTX

Posted 28 July 2020 - 08:17 AM

Where South of DFW are you located? You might be my neighbor!

 

Having custom baled hay in N Texas since '87 I can assure you you if you don't have any prior hay making experience your in for an eye opening experience.

 

Due to the fact of cutting hay with a disc cutter for many yrs I would not want to go back to a sickle mower because of the presence of fire ants.

 

PS: Don't overlook JD rd balers. I've baled in excess of 150,000 rd bales with a JD rd baler. My current JD 467 rd baler has over 26000 bales on the monitor & it baled hay yesterday. 

Im just outside of Ennis. Any particular JD that stand out? Fireants havent been a problem where I am. 



#12 Abe_froman

Abe_froman

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 4 posts
  • LocationTX

Posted 28 July 2020 - 08:26 AM

Would you be storing RB inside?  If so net wrap has one less advantage.  Net wrap can be faster wrapping is one of MY advantages.  In MY area, twine balers are cheaper to buy however.

 

RB don't seem to need as much fine tuning as a ss baler, IMHO.  Maintenance is needed on both types however.  Inside storage goes a looonnng way (at least in my area) on both types of balers.

 

Color of baler might not be as important as your local dealer support is.  Making hay usually is time sensitive, without parts/service/knowledge, you could be up a creek without a paddle. 

 

10 acres might be hard to justify, but the ability to do 200 acres (plus some custom work), would definitely spread the cost/pay back equation a lot.

 

Maybe the biggest question "Are you sure you want to get the making hay disease?" It can be terrible disease, causing the best of folks to drink, cuss, do other things and wonder 'why?'.   :o

 

You didn't answer TxJim's question, he could be a tremendous help, too.  Being he is familiar with the type of hay grown/weather conditions in your area.

 

Larry

 

PS welcome to HT

You hit the nail on the head for my main concern about all of this. Do I really want to start? I dont know just how frustrating or how much time you guys put into hay and considering that I cant do this full time am I setting myself up for failure and wasted time. So far I think im good going forward. I dont want to break the bank getting started but I dont want to lower the chance for success by getting bad equipment trying to save a couple bucks.  



#13 Chase72

Chase72

    Member

  • Members
  • 27 posts
  • LocationGeorgia

Posted 29 July 2020 - 08:40 AM

You hit the nail on the head for my main concern about all of this. Do I really want to start? I dont know just how frustrating or how much time you guys put into hay and considering that I cant do this full time am I setting myself up for failure and wasted time. So far I think im good going forward. I dont want to break the bank getting started but I dont want to lower the chance for success by getting bad equipment trying to save a couple bucks.

My grandfather used to work a full time job and do custom hay along with hay for over 150 head of cattle, it's possible to do, always ask for the owner of the piece of machinery that you are buying to run it for you and let you see if there are any problems or weird sounds, if you aren't very mechanically inclined then try to find a friend who is and they can probably help a lot

#14 JD3430

JD3430

    "Trump deplorable"

  • Members
  • 10774 posts
  • LocationPA/DE border

Posted 29 July 2020 - 04:05 PM

Theres also a huge learning curve. First time you cut, ted, rake bale, bring bales to barn will seem slow. It usually gets a little faster each time as you learn your fields and machinery. 



#15 MtnHerd

MtnHerd

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 131 posts
  • LocationWestern North Carolina

Posted 04 August 2020 - 05:57 AM

For that much acreage and working a job I would certainly try to find a disc mower, not necessarily a discbine (but would be nice) with quick change blades. You will get frustrated with the sickle mower quick. I work a 50+ hour per week job plus hay, cows, goats (mostly the wife's pets) and several acres of produce, and the only thing I would use the sickle mower for is cleaning up field edges, road banks and creek banks. A lot of my mowing I end up doing at night when I get off work by tractor light, and sickles do not like that. Or sometimes I get up early in the morning and do some mowing before daylight and go into work later, depending whatbis going on. The disc mower allows you much more flexibility when working a job.

A rolabar rake works good, and we used one for years, but after switching to a v-rake would not willing go back. I think you would be fine with a rolabar, and it will help you appreciate the v-rake when you upgrade. The v-rake is so much faster and you set it up for the width of your baler, so no zig-zagging when baling. I can actually bale a gear higher a lot of the time behind the v-rake.

If you are feeding for yourself, a 5x6 baler would be great. Mine will ably do a 4x5, but that is about all I am limited to hauling around here, anyway. 5 foot wide doesn't fit on these narrow mountain roads. I do a lot of silaeage bales and they are mostly 4x4 due to the weight, but it seems like it takes forever to bale when I drop down to 4x4 vs 4x5. I am sure 5x6 would seem like I was flying through a field. I don't know what the market is where you are, 5x6 to sale could be tough. Here people won't hardly pay more for a 4x5 than they do a 4x4, and no one would buy a 5x6 due to transport issues. But could be much different in your area.

I dont know how wet it is in your area, but we cannot do without a tedder here due to high moisture. If you can get by without one, great. If not I would recommend a 4 basket, but you can get by with a 2 basket and can find them pretty cheap. We still have a 2 basket and every cutting I say I am buying a 4 but haven't yet, mostly due to not be able to find a good 3pt one used, as I need to be able to trailer it easy from field to field. Or I need to upgrade trailr to longer one with mega-ramps...

Anyway, good luck with your endeavor. I am sure you are like most of us and once you start you will find that it is the most enjoyable and therapeutic aggrivation that you have ever taken on, and don't know how you will ever stop doing it. It is certainly nice to leave work and just get in the tractor for hours with no one bothering you and your only thoughts on the work at hand. Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy it!
  • Vol, JD3430 and r82230 like this




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

× Sponsors