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MN Alfalfa 15-17 acres


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#1 Triple_e_Ranch

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 04:14 AM

I just added 11.5 acres on my 13.5 acres. However I have boer goats for market and couple cow horses with my house taking up shy of 10 acres. The rest I plan on running Alfalfa. I do not have any equipment yet. Have people around that are able to run the land for me. However I am looking forward to the experience and running the process myself. There quite a bit of horse properties around as well. I was thinking of getting a tractor, baler, and wagon. Renting the rest of the equipment as Tractor will have so many more uses than just baling. Small square. balers are not that common and these bales are going for $7 each. Now I should get around 7000 bales a year at 150 an acre X 15 acres X 3 cuts a year. 

 

Any advice.

 

I shouldn't have a problem selling it goes quick around here. 

I have read many of the posts of people starting. 

I can also run the baler for other people near by that want small squares.  

 

Transportation could be an issue and stacking little over 2000 bales per cut could bog things up. 

I also do not have current storage. If it doesn't sell fast I would bring to market.  Till I get the barn up.

 

I need to make land payments so this is not optional.



#2 swmnhay

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 04:58 AM

Your production goals are way to high,no way you will get 7000 bales off 15 acres.Well unless you are making very small bales.

 

Some real world numbers for MN.

 

5 Ton acre per yr + or - depending on soils,rain and fertility.

 

5 ton divided by 50 lb bale = 250 bales per year per acre.Could be 200 in a poor yr and 300 in a good year.

 

seeding yr wil be less.And could be weedy and not worth $7 a bale,might be worth $2 a bale or less.

 

Rain and weather will make some of the $7 a bale hay worth $2 a bale or less.


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#3 Hokelund Farm

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 05:49 AM

What part of MN?  I live close to horse country west of the twin cities where people commute downtown - we made real nice hay this year and were getting $5/bale no problem, but I don't think I would have been able to get $7 - maybe I need to work on my marketing.

But I say go for it anyway - limit your risk by paying cash.


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#4 Trillium Farm

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 07:43 AM

I just added 11.5 acres on my 13.5 acres. However I have boer goats for market and couple cow horses with my house taking up shy of 10 acres. The rest I plan on running Alfalfa. I do not have any equipment yet. Have people around that are able to run the land for me. However I am looking forward to the experience and running the process myself. There quite a bit of horse properties around as well. I was thinking of getting a tractor, baler, and wagon. Renting the rest of the equipment as Tractor will have so many more uses than just baling. Small square. balers are not that common and these bales are going for $7 each. Now I should get around 7000 bales a year at 150 an acre X 15 acres X 3 cuts a year. 

 

Any advice.

Your math is a bit optimistic as Swimminginhay said.
A good average yield on fertile land is about 100 bales per acre.

You'll need to assess the quality of your stand and if not up to snuff you'll have to add the cost of fertilizer, seed and land work, either by you or a custom operator, this before you look at equipment. Here again even if used it has to be fairly new and in good condition or else you'll spend more time fixing it than haying and the bales MUST look like bricks if selling.

From a point of view of personal satisfaction it's a go ahead, but from a business point of view it's a no-go.


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#5 r82230

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 07:48 AM

First welcome to HT.

 

Second, don't get the hay bug, it can be addicting and possibly cause you to loose hair (it did in my case anyhow).

 

SWMN and Hoke are spot on about your numbers, they are WAY to generous.  There are quite a few folks on this forum that make hay and I have never seen/heard of anyone getting 100% of their hay put up at the high quality point, at the volume your looking at.  Seems most of us have to deal with unexpected liquid sunshine, more often then we like.  ;)

 

Both SWMN and Hoke are closer to your neck of the woods than me, but I'm pretty sure they deal with some less top quality hay just about every year.  You might want to put that into your equation ($2 hay, doesn't pay the bills quite as well as $7).

 

Didn't mean to bust your bubble, but you mention that this endeavor isn't optional.  If you absolutely need a positive cash flow, perhaps renting to a local farmer would be in order.  At least then you would know your profit (rent payment). 

 

Now, it you can make do with lower tonnage (200 bales an acre) and cheaper ($2) hay in your equation, showing the cash flow that you need, have at it.  You might still lose some hair.  :cool:

 

Larry


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#6 stack em up

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 08:35 AM

Not sure what part of MN you’re in, I’m assuming suburb of the Cities, maybe Hastings or Litchfield area? Either way, 11 tons an acre is absolutely not gonna happen. On top of that to average $7 a bale on all of it isn’t gonna happen either. Lots of horse hay made up by Aitkin and that wasn’t bringing $7.


If you absolutely need to make the payment, maybe just rent it out like R82230 said. Bird in the hand bears 2 in the bush.
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#7 PaulN

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 08:54 AM

The previous posters are right on. One other thing to add. Hay is one commodity that is not traded on the board of trade, or manipulated by USDA. It is purely supply and demand and very local. On a good hay year, quality hay can be as low as $3.50. On the flipside, it can go up to $9.00?


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#8 Triple_e_Ranch

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 01:37 PM

I am basically lakeville area. Any good quality hay goes for $7 around here. That is what I pay and some of the people that own boarding stables pay. Quantity would be in a perfect situation that I posted. I have not seen any hay go. for $2 a bale that I would even feed to my meat goats. Bad hay I've seen go for $4 a small square bale, that is what the neighbors got for drenched hay too. Optimistic Yep. Do I need to make $40k a year off hay to make the land payment No but well dam well be nice.



#9 endrow

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 04:13 PM

The previous posters are right on. One other thing to add. Hay is one commodity that is not traded on the board of trade, or manipulated by USDA. It is purely supply and demand and very local. On a good hay year, quality hay can be as low as $3.50. On the flipside, it can go up to $9.00?

Very True . Here the Amish will pay a premium for good quality horse hay but it has to be planted and  grown and mowed and tedded and  raked and   baled and stored in the proper manor to bring a premium.    


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#10 Trillium Farm

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 06:15 PM

Very True . Here the Amish will pay a premium for good quality horse hay but it has to be planted and  grown and mowed and tedded and  raked and   baled and stored in the proper manor to bring a premium.    

Exactly so! That's why I mentioned this as well in my reply as I had the impression that the OP thought any grass hay growing wild in the field would fetch premium prices. To grow and make premium hay involves considerable cost in soil prep, fertilizer, seed and equipment.



#11 Triple_e_Ranch

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 08:51 PM

Exactly so! That's why I mentioned this as well in my reply as I had the impression that the OP thought any grass hay growing wild in the field would fetch premium prices. To grow and make premium hay involves considerable cost in soil prep, fertilizer, seed and equipment.

 

In the original post I state I am going to be running ALFALFA not just grass hay.  Come on Man/Woman....



#12 Triple_e_Ranch

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 08:52 PM

This will be small square bales of ALFALFA. NOT GRASS HAY or Wild grass or whatever. This is soil that has been prepped for a spring drill seeding for alfalfa. 



#13 danwi

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 09:51 PM

You will find a few horse people that will buy your premium alfalfa till the horse founders. Most need a a mix of alfalfa and grass any where from 30/70 to 70/30. You will need a mower and rake also so you can get the work done when needed. I would either get a throw baler and 2 or 3 wagons or some bale baskets. Most people want their hay baled when yours is ready so the extra baling gets real hectic especially if you have limited help. If you don't have storage that put the ball in the buyers court and you will have to move it as you bale it. Good luck have fun.


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#14 swmnhay

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 02:05 AM

 Optimistic Yep. Do I need to make $40k a year off hay to make the land payment No but well dam well be nice.

Reality is that the first yr you will be lucky to break even.Seed,fertilizer,chems,equipment cost,fuel,twine etc need to be covered.

 

Reality first yr production would be closer to 3 ton acre and even if you use RR alfalfa you will still deal with resistant weeds and end up with some poor hay.

 

2 Nd yr will have better production but if all the planets line up and make perfect hay every cutting you will be lucky to gross $20,000.After all expenses reality is $10,000 Net.And that’s only if everything clicks.


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#15 endrow

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 07:29 AM

The previous posters are right on. One other thing to add. Hay is one commodity that is not traded on the board of trade, or manipulated by USDA. It is purely supply and demand and very local. On a good hay year, quality hay can be as low as $3.50. On the flipside, it can go up to $9.00?

As we all compare price per bale. Here alot gets sold buy the ton .. What is the bale weight of a $7.00 bale   



#16 stack em up

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 09:13 PM

I am basically lakeville area. Any good quality hay goes for $7 around here. That is what I pay and some of the people that own boarding stables pay. Quantity would be in a perfect situation that I posted. I have not seen any hay go. for $2 a bale that I would even feed to my meat goats. Bad hay I've seen go for $4 a small square bale, that is what the neighbors got for drenched hay too. Optimistic Yep. Do I need to make $40k a year off hay to make the land payment No but well dam well be nice.


If you’re feeding $7 hay to meat goats, I’ll sell you all the dairy quality hay you can feed for $6.75 a bale. You’ll be saving money and I’ll be making money hand over fist!

I’m sorry to say, there is not a snowballs chance of making 11 ton an acre in Minnesota. We simply don’t have the length of season. 5-6 tons will be your best bet figuring on the cash flow. Easier to figure low and be surprised than to be pissed when you aren’t making the payments cuz yield just isn’t there.

I wish you luck in your future endeavors.
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#17 somedevildawg

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Posted 19 October 2020 - 08:25 PM

I am basically lakeville area. Any good quality hay goes for $7 around here. That is what I pay and some of the people that own boarding stables pay. Quantity would be in a perfect situation that I posted. I have not seen any hay go. for $2 a bale that I would even feed to my meat goats. Bad hay I've seen go for $4 a small square bale, that is what the neighbors got for drenched hay too. Optimistic Yep. Do I need to make $40k a year off hay to make the land payment No but well dam well be nice.


This is purely a condition of paying the high price of hay and thinking “I can do that and maybe make a little money” Unless you’re willing to Anty Up some serious dollars, it ain’t gonna happen, no way....no how. If the land is financed and the equipment is financed and the NPK is on borrowed money, it’s a tough nut to crack....it reminds me of the old line, “farmins’ easy from the road”. It’s a fallacy.....farming is heavy on capital, heavy on payments, heavy on help. And to make matters worse, Mother Nature plays her hand and it can be brutal at times.....
My advice, unless you’re willing to be heavy on those above mentioned items, buy your hay and rent the ground....hth
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#18 stack em up

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Posted 19 October 2020 - 08:42 PM

This is purely a condition of paying the high price of hay and thinking “I can do that and maybe make a little money” Unless you’re willing to Anty Up some serious dollars, it ain’t gonna happen, no way....no how. If the land is financed and the equipment is financed and the NPK is on borrowed money, it’s a tough nut to crack....it reminds me of the old line, “farmins’ easy from the road”. It’s a fallacy.....farming is heavy on capital, heavy on payments, heavy on help. And to make matters worse, Mother Nature plays her hand and it can be brutal at times.....
My advice, unless you’re willing to be heavy on those above mentioned items, buy your hay and rent the ground....hth
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