Making a Living Baling Hay - Alfalfa/Hay - HayTalk - Hay & Forage Community

Jump to content




Photo
* * * * - 2 votes

Making a Living Baling Hay


  • Please log in to reply
85 replies to this topic

#1 Soggy Bottom

Soggy Bottom

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 15 posts
  • LocationVictoria, TX

Posted 28 October 2020 - 06:17 AM

I'm sure this has been asked several times before, but I am wondering how much acreage does it take for a guy to make a living selling hay.  Here is the scenario.  100 acres owned free and clear of good coastal fields.  I think you can get good reliable equipment and setup an irrigation system for 150k-200k.  Small coastal square bales sell for $7-$8 in this area on a normal year sometimes as high as $10 a bale.  By my numbers with expenses it looks like you can profit roughly $4 per bale of hay sold.  At 4 cuttings a year and 2 tons a cutting that's somewhere around 30,000 bales a year cut.  Profit around 120k a year.  Do these numbers sound close to being accurate?  I am looking to maybe making the switch some day and investing in good equipment and setup the whole operation.  Thanks for the input.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


  • BisonMan likes this

#2 Tx Jim

Tx Jim

    Hay Master

  • Members
  • 4381 posts
  • LocationCoyote Flats,Texas

Posted 28 October 2020 - 06:38 AM

Good luck on your venture. I agree with you that's there's more potential for profit making/selling small sq bales than other methods but as I'm sure you're aware there's more risk's. I think being able to irrigate will lessen the risk but definitely increase your cost. 


  • JD3430 likes this

#3 slowzuki

slowzuki

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 5570 posts
  • LocationNear Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

Posted 28 October 2020 - 06:42 AM

I think if you cut your profit estimate to 40-50k you might be closer to accurate but I don't know your costs.  You will need storage, don't forget to account for your depreciation either.


  • somedevildawg, JD3430, dvcochran and 1 other like this

#4 somedevildawg

somedevildawg

    Member

  • Members
  • 10015 posts
  • LocationTifton georgia

Posted 28 October 2020 - 07:04 AM

I'm sure this has been asked several times before, but I am wondering how much acreage does it take for a guy to make a living selling hay.  Here is the scenario.  100 acres owned free and clear of good coastal fields.  I think you can get good reliable equipment and setup an irrigation system for 150k-200k.  Small coastal square bales sell for $7-$8 in this area on a normal year sometimes as high as $10 a bale.  By my numbers with expenses it looks like you can profit roughly $4 per bale of hay sold.  At 4 cuttings a year and 2 tons a cutting that's somewhere around 30,000 bales a year cut.  Profit around 120k a year.  Do these numbers sound close to being accurate?  I am looking to maybe making the switch some day and investing in good equipment and setup the whole operation.  Thanks for the input.


You’re right it has....(1) you ain’t gonna put a pivot on 100 acres and buy the EQ needed and storage for 150-200k. (2) where is the labor? Not one penny of labor was included.....(3) not all cuttings are square bale quality.....(4) competition?
You’re close on your est. for profit per bale after inputs, but there’s more work to do in order to finish the numbers.
I would probably come in under slow’ in terms of actual profit.....hth
  • r82230 and dvcochran like this

#5 Soggy Bottom

Soggy Bottom

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 15 posts
  • LocationVictoria, TX

Posted 28 October 2020 - 07:33 AM

I have attached quick spreadsheets I came up with for cost and equipment.  I Know the numbers are not perfect but its a starting place.  On the hay sheet I did figure in labor for baling and stacking hay.  I do currently own a tractor and some other equipment that can used for haying.  I did not figure in storage as I think I should have plenty of storage with existing buildings on the property.  For irrigation I think I can get a K line pod system for +/- 30k in the beginning.  Thanks for the input.  I know its not a rich fast venture just looking at if a living can be made with this setup.

Attached Files


  • BisonMan likes this

#6 IH 1586

IH 1586

    Hay Master

  • Members
  • 1976 posts
  • LocationNorthwest PA. Warren County.

Posted 28 October 2020 - 07:41 AM

I know its not a rich fast venture just looking at if a living can be made with this setup.

 

Hay making is not even a rich slow venture.


  • swmnhay, clowers, somedevildawg and 5 others like this

#7 Tx Jim

Tx Jim

    Hay Master

  • Members
  • 4381 posts
  • LocationCoyote Flats,Texas

Posted 28 October 2020 - 08:19 AM

it appears from viewing your spread sheets I see no allocation for labor, fuel, parts or insurance. What type fuel/elect is going to get water on the grass?


  • swmnhay likes this

#8 swmnhay

swmnhay

    Hay Master and Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 8662 posts
  • LocationReading,Mn

Posted 28 October 2020 - 08:28 AM

Marketing is another cost.You just don't bale it and they will come.

 

Alot of people required it delivered or they wont buy it.Yes they should pay more for delivery but it takes eq. and time.

 

What I've seen over and over someone decides to produce hay and then they find out its not as easy to sell as they think so they chop the price to get it to move


  • siscofarms, Tx Jim and gosh like this

#9 Soggy Bottom

Soggy Bottom

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 15 posts
  • LocationVictoria, TX

Posted 28 October 2020 - 10:18 AM

Thanks for the input.  I need to add cost of moving the K line system daily and the power to run the well 24 hours a day.



#10 Soggy Bottom

Soggy Bottom

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 15 posts
  • LocationVictoria, TX

Posted 28 October 2020 - 10:40 AM

Another couple of questions.  Is there a rule of thumb for figuring fuel usage (i.e. so many bales per gallon)?

 

Also, I do have labor at 1.40 a bale for cutting and baling and $1 for stacking.  Wouldn't my personal labor be payed for by the profits?



#11 Jimmy Bartlett

Jimmy Bartlett

    Member

  • Members
  • 86 posts
  • LocationIowa Falls, Iowa

Posted 28 October 2020 - 10:41 AM

on the revenue side: one of those cuttings might get wet and become worth $2.50/bale instead of $10.  if you don't get one wet, then you might have one cutting that's overgrown (and be worth $4/bale).    The $7-8/bale business is elusive, and might become a real pain in the rear (as swmnhay mentioned above)


  • swmnhay, dvcochran and BisonMan like this

#12 r82230

r82230

    Hay Master

  • Members
  • 3981 posts
  • LocationThumb of Michigan

Posted 28 October 2020 - 11:50 AM

Here's my wet blanket:

  • Can you every year produce 8 ton of hay per acre?  Is 8 ton an acre presently being done in your area?
  • Can you put up 100% of your hay at premium condition, every year?
  • Is 300# of fertilizer per acre enough?  IDK what type of hay you are producing, but in my neck of the woods, I put off around 50# of K and 8-10# of Phos. per ton of hay removed (which would mean about 650# of potash & 125# of MAP in my case @ 8 ton, also would be alfalfa - alfalfa/grass, naturally your type of hay could be different). 
  • I see weed spray (does that include application cost?), so I'm going out on limb here, how about insecticide?  Some folks in the southern states often mention something about an army and maggots.  :o Maybe you don't have these critters to deal with. 
  • Can you sell every bale, every year for your price (as other's have mentioned)?
  • Where did you bury the cost to cut,/ted/rake? Is that all in the the $1.40 a bale?  If so, I'm guessing some folks might just hire you to do some custom work.  ;)

 

If it was possible to do hay at your numbers (over $1,250 per acre), I imagine we would have lot more hay producers.  Heck, even at $1,000 an acre profit there would be a lot more hay folks, IMHO.

 

Enough water for now,

 

Larry


  • swmnhay, somedevildawg, 8350HiTech and 2 others like this

#13 Soggy Bottom

Soggy Bottom

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 15 posts
  • LocationVictoria, TX

Posted 28 October 2020 - 12:51 PM

I made some adjustments to my numbers and added a yearly note on buying equipment.  My profit numbers still seem high by what I am reading.  What else needs adjusting or added?

Attached Files


  • somedevildawg likes this

#14 ttazzman

ttazzman

    Member

  • Members
  • 66 posts
  • LocationSW MO

Posted 28 October 2020 - 01:22 PM

Retired now but i still do some startup business consulting .......here are a few general things you need to consider based on comments ...i briefely glanced at your P&L projections so nothing is specific

 

#1 every business has risk ....risk needs to be weighted for example vs just getting a job elsewhere and sleeping easy every night

 

#2 you need to include your living costs IE your salary/payroll taxes/insurance/workmans comp/ etc since if you got "get a job" those would be included with little or no risk....your time in life is worth something

 

#3 nothing is "profit" until you include all your costs

 

#4 costs need to also include items such as...property taxes...insurance....Interest...accounting...legal...regulations...cash flow...maintenance....repairs...depreciation...

 

#5 lost opportunity costs need to be considered.....such as if your going to put 200K into equipment etc ....how much opportunity is lost for example by not just buying bonds etc with that money and sleep well every night

 

#6 others have outlined production and marketing risks/costs already

 

#7 what is your plan in case you are hurt or get sick and cant work?

 

#8 are others in your area making a go of it doing the same thing? rarely are anyones ideas unique if others are not doing it then why not? and how can you do it better than them?

 

good luck sir .......no hill cant be climbed just have to know if what is at the top is worth it ....


  • somedevildawg and 8350HiTech like this

#15 endrow

endrow

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 4301 posts
  • Locationcentral pa

Posted 28 October 2020 - 02:03 PM

You  never know on prices . I am on another web site ag talk and with such low corn and soybean prices last couple years , so many on ag talk said they planted alfalfa will the hay business be surplus city next year  


  • dvcochran likes this

#16 Stxpecans123

Stxpecans123

    Member

  • Members
  • 125 posts
  • LocationTexas

Posted 28 October 2020 - 04:03 PM

I think you need to look into subsurface drip. I would think on 10 foot centers you would get more than. Adaquate coverage and setup on 4 zones where you can water 3 at a time would be ideal. Allowing you to conteniously be cutting 1/4 of you property at a time which if you do a quarter a week would be about the perfect schedule for Bermuda. You could also utitilize a smaller well to water the same average.
Here is a picture of subsurface drip in one of my pecan orchards. Can you tell where the drip line is?

Attached Files



#17 Soggy Bottom

Soggy Bottom

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 15 posts
  • LocationVictoria, TX

Posted 28 October 2020 - 04:05 PM

Maybe I need to ask my question another way.  I guess I am really wondering are my numbers way off base not necessarily if you can make a living.  I understand every year is different and there are always unexpected problems.  Just wondering what other numbers need to be figured in and if the numbers I am using are way off.  Thanks again for the input.  



#18 Stxpecans123

Stxpecans123

    Member

  • Members
  • 125 posts
  • LocationTexas

Posted 28 October 2020 - 04:12 PM

I think on small square I could do it. Figure on Tifton 85 or if you have a market for haygrazer summer and clover/ryegrass or triticale winter you could make the tonnage on subsurface drip.
Or just go half alfalfa half somthing else.
But say on haygrazer I could probably do 4 cuttings at about 10 bales an acre at 1400lbs. So 14,000 of hay an acre. And on that same eland in the fall/winter I could do 6 or so ryegrass bales at 1500lbs or 9000lbs an acre.
And being subsurface drip you spend less on fertilizer since you putting it in the rootzone. Not sure 100% in grasses but in pecans you use 1/3 less nitrogen if fertigating subsurface drip. And if you fertigated after each cutting man you would be growing some grass. Not having to travel through the field to fertilize.
So say 15,000lbs an acre Andi know nothing about a square bale but I figure they are 75lbs? That's 200 bales an acre at $4 wholesale that's $800 an acre or 80,000 a year. I would think you would need a barn, a bale accumlation setup. But 100 acres your labor would be just you.

#19 Tx Jim

Tx Jim

    Hay Master

  • Members
  • 4381 posts
  • LocationCoyote Flats,Texas

Posted 28 October 2020 - 04:12 PM

I think fuel usage for a 65-100 pto hp tractor will be in the 2.5-3.5 GPH range. I know my M7040(64 pto) uses 2.5 & my JD 4255(128 pto) uses 3.2 GPH polling my rd baler



#20 Stxpecans123

Stxpecans123

    Member

  • Members
  • 125 posts
  • LocationTexas

Posted 28 October 2020 - 04:22 PM

I doubt you would use more than 2000 gallons a year of diesel. Doubt fertilizer would be over $6,000 a year if injecting 32-0-0.




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

× Sponsors