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Making a Living Baling Hay


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#21 Stxpecans123

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 04:35 PM

Not sure about your location but some water types are not best to be sprinkled onto the grass. For 30k you 100% could install subsurface drip and never have to move pods around. I have had kpods before they are work. If you are on sandy soils with gophers then I would reccomend biting the drip.deep enough you can use a gopher machine twice a year. The machine is about 1,000 and the bait for 100 acres would be less than $400 a year.

#22 dvcochran

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 06:29 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.  

It would really help to show the math behind the spreadsheet cells. I cannot follow your output totals.

 

From my experience I see a lot of people spend too little on the mower (highest maintenance machine) and in your case the baler. A new or very good MoCo (which I suggest) is going to be north of 20k and the same for even a moderately used baler. You are close to the price of a new 10 wheel V-rake so I would budget for a new one at around $6,500. You will need a tedder. The cost is proportional to operational time based on size (2-4-6-8 basket). I assume 20k is for a tedder/rake tractor? Sad but that is not going to buy much cab tractor with a loader these days. A utility tractor without a loader is basically a really big lawn/field mower. Plus if you are buying two tractor you will be wise to have two that will handle any of the work. The mower/baler tractor will break down right when you need it at some point.   

What is your level of skill/knowledge and shop/tools/materials to keep up with inevitable maintenance and breakdowns?

I have done industrial control & automation all my life and primarily do cradle to grave LS and VLS projects. I know this is non-descript but, especially since you are starting from scratch with a lot of unknowns that you do not even know to consider, you have to factor on some fudge. Even in companies that have made the same product for decades very few projects or equipment builds can identify 100% of costs. Even the repetitive commodity equipment we build have variables sometimes. 

Everyone on this forum can chime in with a suggestion and something(s) will come up unexpected. 


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#23 mstuck21

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 07:59 AM

My 2 cents:

I’m not a big fan of the “spend 200k plus to start a business” model.

If you want to find out if you can bale hay as a full time gig, why not spend $10k +/- on used or borrowed equipment and try baling say 10-20 acres. You’ll answer a lot of questions for yourself and limit your $$ risk. What if you decide you don’t really like making hay? OR you could catch the hay bug and keep growing.

Just sayin a lot of hay has been made without half the equipment on your list. I’d start barebones and if you decide to continue on, reinvest into the business upgrading your equipment as you go.

You have the land. That’s a big hurdle. But just bc you don’t have a land payment doesn’t mean that you need an equipment payment.
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#24 swmnhay

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 08:17 AM

I think your fertilizer costs are low,you will have to do the math.

 

Cut and Pasted from a article

 

When haying, forage is harvested from one field and either sold or fed in another area. Either way, essential plant nutrients are being removed from the hayed field. There are 50 to 60 pounds of nitrogen, 14 to 17 pounds of phosphorus and 30 to 40 pounds of potassium in one ton of bermudagrass hay.


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#25 Stxpecans123

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 10:51 AM

I do not think for 100 acres a cutter will cost 20k. Heck this year I bought a brand new dc102 rubber roll conditioner machine for $18
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#26 Stxpecans123

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 10:56 AM

I do not know how much a square baler cost but I have seen what looks like clean looking ones for 20k. So I would think 50k should get you your cutter, rake and baler. I would atleast get some sort of accumalators setup for square bales.
So 2 tractors at 30k each hay equipment at 70k and a barn to store it at 50k and irrigation your looking at 200k startup cost.

#27 Stxpecans123

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 10:59 AM

I would add a round baler and do custom hay work too. That's where the money is made. Cut 3-100 acre fields for 3 different people. Average 2 cuttings a year at 3 bale an acre is 600 bales at $30 a bale 5x6, and you just made 18k a year to pay for your equipment

#28 RockmartGA

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 12:04 PM

If you want to find out if you can bale hay as a full time gig, why not spend $10k +/- on used or borrowed equipment and try baling say 10-20 acres. You’ll answer a lot of questions for yourself and limit your $$ risk. What if you decide you don’t really like making hay? OR you could catch the hay bug and keep growing.
 

 

That's the model that many of us started with. 


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#29 broadriverhay

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 01:42 PM

Herbicide costs are way off. Rezilon is $22 per acre and you have to spray it twice, so $44 per acre per year. If it doesn't work perfect you have to add costs to burndown in the Spring and also other post emerge herbicides to keep the field clean during the Summer. If  stem maggots arrive on site then you may be spraying every 10-14 days for the remainder of the season. That is about $2 per acre per application , I think. I'm sure I will get corrected if I'm wrong on the cost. 


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#30 chevytaHOE5674

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 02:34 PM

...3 bale an acre is 600 bales at $30 a bale 5x6, and you just made 18k a year to pay for your equipment


In your "making" of this 18k did you burn any fuel? Grease anything?? Use any twine/net? Break anything? Run over something and wreck a tire? Put some away for wear and tear on the equipment? Account for depreciation on all the equipment? Suddenly your 18k just shrunk considerably... haha
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#31 Soggy Bottom

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 02:51 PM

Not sure what Rezilon is but I know it cost me $7 an acre here for P+D.  I have priced a few pre-emergents and they seem to be around the $7-$10 mark.  I updated my sheet showing $20 an acre for herbicide and added a $1.50 labor per bale for myself and other part time help for hay season.  Seems the numbers now look like what I have read here from the responses.  Thanks 

Attached Files


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#32 r82230

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 03:58 PM

I don't grow B grass hay, so I leave that part of the equation to the folks who do (fert, weed control & un-wanted critters,  along with possible production amount).   Just with a few changes your profit per acre has taken quite a hit, welcome to the hay making world.  Hope you can match your numbers, and Mother Nature is kind to you (at least the first few years, with those payments needed). 

 

I'd also suggest keeping your day job, until you can see more daylight of being underwater in debt.  At least you will have a way to groceries on the table that way.  ;)

 

Good luck. 

 

Larry


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#33 Stxpecans123

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 05:33 PM

In your "making" of this 18k did you burn any fuel? Grease anything?? Use any twine/net? Break anything? Run over something and wreck a tire? Put some away for wear and tear on the equipment? Account for depreciation on all the equipment? Suddenly your 18k just shrunk considerably... haha


Fuel burned would be less than 300 gallons. Netwrap on 600 bales is only $600. I think the expenses could just as well roll out of your initial budget. So that 18k might turn into 15k but just as easily could turn into more if they yeilded higher.
I am not sure where original poster is from but only insect I have seen been an issue with Bermuda is army worms in the fall and that is easily controlled with lambda which is very cheap.
No doubt there is probably 1000 reasons to not try it but if you don't take the jump you won't ever know.
Around here 5x5/5x5.5 bale of good Tifton hay will bring $85 at that rate is it worth dealing with small square bales?
Also around here a person can find decent land for $20/acre a year lease and probably free for a year or 2 of rent if you were planting it as such. Coastal doesn't really need irrigation if it's on rented land in most places coastal is grown.

#34 Stxpecans123

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 05:43 PM

All I know if you do try to go with this, I would 100% look into subsurface drip. Pivots are a pain in the ass and constant maintmence

#35 chevytaHOE5674

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 06:23 PM

So that 18k might turn into 15k but just as easily could turn into more if they yeilded higher.

Run over a broken off T-Post and have to buy a back tire and tube and your 18k just went down an easy 2k. Hit a rock with the discbine and tear up a cutter bar, there goes 4k bucks. Get unlucky and have a few of those issues in 1 year and your suddenly barely breaking even.

By no means am I saying not to do it (I do a lot of custom work) but money doesn't just roll in hand over fist.

The house I'm living in and farm that goes with was bought for pennies on the dollar from the bank. Previous farmer came here with great dreams of how to make tons of money custom baling and growing hay. He went big and lost it all.
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#36 broadriverhay

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 06:51 PM

Rezilon is the newest pre emerge herbicide for Bermuda. Advertisements are all over Haytalk. Stem maggots are a silent killer. Many people have them and think it is something wrong with the plant. When you see the damage it’s too late. They can easily cost you 1/3 of your yield per cutting. Research Bermuda Stem Maggots. UGA has the best info on them. I’m in no way trying to discourage anyone from Hay Farming. It can be very rewarding. I have had many great years until this year. Just too much rain made it very difficult to make good quality hay. I was told I couldn’t do it too but I have been very successful I feel.

#37 JD3430

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 08:06 PM

If you want to make a million farming hay, start with 2 million. 
 

The big profit killer is repairs. Don’t forget the cost of fuel and what a Biden win will do to that price. You’ll eat that. Also remember there’s plenty of guys out there selling hay for $3/bale running old haybines and Farmall As. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.....but they will have a lot lower inputs than you. 


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#38 clowers

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 11:09 PM

Im with Broadriverhay, I have had maggots 3 years in a row, when you figure out you have them it's too late.   Always seem to be on potentially my best cutting when i get fertilizer timed right. Haying is a sickness and all of us have it.  I think you may just have a high fever right now.  Good luck with your fever and your future endeavors.  :D



#39 Soggy Bottom

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 05:38 AM

Thanks for all the help. It seems there is a lot less money made in hay than numbers show to be. Guess I will re-analyze my future plans on this land. Thanks again
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#40 somedevildawg

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 06:19 AM

Thanks for all the help. It seems there is a lot less money made in hay than numbers show to be. Guess I will re-analyze my future plans on this land. Thanks again


You are smart to look very closely at this business venture.....it can be done, but it is fraught with potential problems. When all goes right with the weather it can be good, if all goes right with insects it can be good, if all equipment works great it can be good, but the chances of them all going right is very slim and won’t happen more than twice during the year......then you have to store, market and sell, that too can be challenging when dealing with the horsey crowd. Good luck, it’s one that you have to really crunch the numbers and get lucky from time to time....
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