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Putting together my equipment package - need some advice


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#1 LsHay

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 08:42 PM

HI all,

 

Next year I will be taking over haying on 35 acres of grass hay and I need to outfit myself with equipment.  I have two tractors: a JD 6320 and a JD 950 which should be more than adequate to pull the equipment, and I have a barn for storage.

 

I'm trying to spend as little as possible to start and still get the job done right so  I'm thinking a disc mower/conditioner, tedder, rake, small square baler with a thrower, and a couple hay wagons.  I'm in horse country so I see no need for a round baler.

 

What models and sizes do you recommend and how much should I expect to pay for used, reliable equipment in the mid-Atlantic?  How old is too old?

 

What's the concensus on type of conditioner - roller/inverter/flail?

 

Anyone have any experience with a bale basket?  I think they're a neat concept but they seem to be kind of scarce.

 

 

 

Thanks!

 

 



#2 Beav

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 09:28 PM

we had bale baskets years ago did not well for us. Bales looked bad miss shaped and heavy because of the chute and the drop into the basket. Hay did not sell very well used a few times and sold them.



#3 r82230

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 09:35 PM

Welcome to HT, first.

 

Second you mention you are 'taking over' the hay production, so what was the current producer using might be a question to answer.

 

Grass hay, impellers seem to be the cat's meow. 

 

As as baskets, they have there time and place for certain. 35 acres at say 100 bales an acre and a hundred bales per basket (guessing here), that's 35 baskets to empty.   The larger throw wagons, 180-200 bales (17+ loads to unload).  So next question might be what's your labor (help) situation?

 

Lastly, has the previous (or someone else) able to mentor you or do you already have the knowledge/experience in making hay?  Naturally assuming market exists for the hay you are going to produce.

 

Larry



#4 somedevildawg

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 10:30 PM

Finally we get to spend someone’s money......

JD 630 impeller MOCO....12k
You don’t THINK you need a round baler but you do.....12k
Wheel rake....3k
Tedder....3k
Square baler....6-10k
Kuhns accumulator package.....15k
Trailer......5k
Truck?
I’ll think of some more.....
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#5 LsHay

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 10:44 PM

Well now I"m glad I didn't buy a basket.

 

A large scale contract farmer had been making the hay.  My husband never wanted to bother with  making hay and preferred to let someone else do it.  He died two years ago, and now the farm is my responsibility.  When I saw the contract farmer's new $100k bundler, I did some research and decided making my own hay is a much better deal for me.

 

As for the knowledge, I've been watching hay being made outside my doorstep since 1986 and I also have mentors, a number of knowledgable and experienced farmers who have been very generous with their time and expertise, and people to help operate and maintain the equipment.

 

There's plenty of local muscle I can hire part-time to move the bales around.

 

The market is strong for quality horse hay at $7.50-$8 per 40lb bale.

 

I'm going to an equipment auction in PA tomorrow, at the preview today I saw lots of older NH and JD discbines and square balers/throwers to choose from, and dozens of tedders and rakes.  This is gonna work.

 

Thanks for the welcome!



#6 somedevildawg

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 11:01 PM

Well now I"m glad I didn't buy a basket.
 
A large scale contract farmer had been making the hay.  My husband never wanted to bother with  making hay and preferred to let someone else do it.  He died two years ago, and now the farm is my responsibility.  When I saw the contract farmer's new $100k bundler, I did some research and decided making my own hay is a much better deal for me.
 
As for the knowledge, I've been watching hay being made outside my doorstep since 1986 and I also have mentors, a number of knowledgable and experienced farmers who have been very generous with their time and expertise, and people to help operate and maintain the equipment.
 
There's plenty of local muscle I can hire part-time to move the bales around.
 
The market is strong for quality horse hay at $7.50-$8 per 40lb bale.
 
I'm going to an equipment auction in PA tomorrow, at the preview today I saw lots of older NH and JD discbines and square balers/throwers to choose from, and dozens of tedders and rakes.  This is gonna work.
 
Thanks for the welcome!


All I can say to you at this point, and probably the most prudent thing you can do, is slow down and make sure you have your t’s crossed and your i’s dotted....the market can fluctuate wildly, do your homework......I’ll add, equipment auctions aren’t the best place to buy used EQ. But if you stay with things like wheel rakes, trailers and tedders you’ll probably be ok.....balers, mowers, tractors and the like are probably best purchased from an owner/operator.
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#7 Beav

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 11:06 PM

I would go with an accumulator and that would take the place of a round baler as far as labor savings. same amount of money for a new accumulator as a used round baler.



#8 somedevildawg

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 11:09 PM

I would go with an accumulator and that would take the place of a round baler as far as labor savings. same amount of money for a new accumulator as a used round baler.


Yes it will, but it won’t get that hay out of the field in a timely manner when inclement Wx is imminent.....that why I wouldn’t be without a roller. But I also wouldn’t dare be without an accumulator.....
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#9 r82230

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 11:55 PM

Finally we get to spend someone’s money......

JD 630 impeller MOCO....12k
You don’t THINK you need a round baler but you do.....12k
Wheel rake....3k
Tedder....3k
Square baler....6-10k
Kuhns accumulator package.....15k
Trailer......5k
Truck?
I’ll think of some more.....

 

 

Op, didn't mention it either tractor has a loader (if going the accumulator route), so you add a few more dollars there if needed.  

 

Larry


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#10 Beav

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Posted 04 November 2020 - 01:03 AM

Yes it will, but it won’t get that hay out of the field in a timely manner when inclement Wx is imminent.....that why I wouldn’t be without a roller. But I also wouldn’t dare be without an accumulator.....

depends if you are alone or have help  we can load wagons as fast as we can bale, with one baling, one on the grapple and one pulling wagons. Run the round and sm square balers at the same speed 5 to 7 mph. Sm squares pay a lot better then rounds for us, but we make both for our customers. That is why I would have an accumulator over a round baler if I was on a budget and return on investment. We average 20K sm squares and 300 4x5 round bales a year.


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#11 IH 1586

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Posted 04 November 2020 - 05:44 AM

Plenty of beginners have posted on this site, one just of recent. Might be worth reading down through multiple threads then ask questions.

 

https://www.haytalk....ing-baling-hay/


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#12 somedevildawg

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Posted 04 November 2020 - 07:15 AM

depends if you are alone or have help  we can load wagons as fast as we can bale, with one baling, one on the grapple and one pulling wagons. Run the round and sm square balers at the same speed 5 to 7 mph. Sm squares pay a lot better then rounds for us, but we make both for our customers. That is why I would have an accumulator over a round baler if I was on a budget and return on investment. We average 20K sm squares and 300 4x5 round bales a year.

I hear what you’re saying Beav.....my thought is this, and perhaps it’s better to have another thread altogether for this. I don’t think folks put enuf serious thought into this at times....

Here’s my thinking, I have been known to be wrong :o and bear in mind, this is down in Dixie.
Let’s take the OP’s 35 ac.

The field is cut, tedded and raked....very small window rain is coming, gotta hurry. With a round baler, we can cover 35 ac in about 2-3 hours. Our bales are wrapped and in the field and the rain comes....
We now have horse quality hay in rounds that have a value of say $150pt.....
If we only got 1/3 of the field baled, removed and under cover, we have 2/3 of the field (or about 22ac) now sitting and getting wet. Now we have to a) wait at least another day....run the Tedder over it $$, and rake it again $$, then hopefully bale it and depending on how wet it got, it’s now worth $120pt.
If it rains on it again, we repeat the process costing $$ again, and the price stays about the same but we’ve spent a LOT of additional time and $$. If you should be unlucky to get wet again, you have to repeat and is now cost you a LOT more additional $$ and it’s now worth $80pt.....so, you can see where this is going. When we get caught with our pants down, it can really add up....it behoves us to get the field packaged in whatever package we can muster in the window we have available to us, otherwise we will be selling squares to the cow market and that doesn’t work very well. Rained on hay is an absolute killer in the hay business from a profitability standpoint. I don’t think a lot of folks really think about it in that context....it’s costing you more, a substantial amount more, to harvest a crop that is going to be considerably less valuable, it’s the truest meaning of a “double whammy” that I know of in business......that’s why I wouldn’t be without a roller, they are as valuable to my operation as a tractor.
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#13 Vol

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Posted 04 November 2020 - 07:31 AM

I use both types of balers. But heck, I have two types of rakes, 3 different types of cutters. I like to be prepared for all conditions of weather and hay.  :)

 

Regards, Mike


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#14 Uphayman

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Posted 04 November 2020 - 07:53 AM

I use both types of balers. But heck, I have two types of rakes, 3 different types of cutters. I like to be prepared for all conditions of weather and hay.  :)
 
Regards, Mike


Size and scale certainly do offer the ability to have multiple options. Just about the time you find the sweet spot, a change occurs, which then gives you the opportunity to " adapt and adjust " .......again. While you might not need to "own" every option regarding machines, you better be able to make a phone call, and exercise plan B. Good idea to keep a supply of anti-acid on hand..........
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#15 r82230

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Posted 04 November 2020 - 07:55 AM

I use both types of balers. But heck, I have two types of rakes, 3 different types of cutters. I like to be prepared for all conditions of weather and hay.  :)

 

Regards, Mike

 

Mike,

 

You got me working more on my 'wish list' and my curiosity, what are the three types of cutters, that you are utilizing?

 

I have two of the three type rakes (v-rake on my wish list) and both types of balers in my tool box (as you have appropriately named). 

 

Larry



#16 mike10

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Posted 04 November 2020 - 08:08 AM

HI all,

 

Next year I will be taking over haying on 35 acres of grass hay and I need to outfit myself with equipment.  I have two tractors: a JD 6320 and a JD 950 which should be more than adequate to pull the equipment, and I have a barn for storage.

 

I'm trying to spend as little as possible to start and still get the job done right so  I'm thinking a disc mower/conditioner, tedder, rake, small square baler with a thrower, and a couple hay wagons.  I'm in horse country so I see no need for a round baler.

 

What models and sizes do you recommend and how much should I expect to pay for used, reliable equipment in the mid-Atlantic?  How old is too old?

 

What's the concensus on type of conditioner - roller/inverter/flail?

 

Anyone have any experience with a bale basket?  I think they're a neat concept but they seem to be kind of scarce.

 

 

 

Thanks!

 

Being in the equipment business for 50 years, I cringe when I see good people with good intentions buy equipment with out any knowledge about what to look for.  I tell people who come to me for advice about a piece of equipment on a sale, The cost of the equipment is just the first  expense and you should be prepared to put additional money in for repairs, because there will be repairs needed.  

 

If someone tells you it is field ready, you can bet your last dollar that it is not.

 

If someone tell you it has been through the shop, it probably was, In one door and out the other.

 

If someone has a 100,000 rig you need to consider that was not bought with one crop on one field.  How many years of work on his part was required to achieve that rig.

 

Now, If it is a passion of yours to do this, then by all means go for it, but leave the rose colored glasses behind.


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#17 slowzuki

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Posted 04 November 2020 - 08:13 AM

They aren't for everyone but we get along great with them, have 6 now, on our way to owning 8.  Bales aren't too heavy if you set the baler for a basket.  Only misshaped if you leave hay stored in them, has never lost a sale from it.

 

1 basket works well if you can swing by your storage area face, or the conveyor from the fields you are working in.  With our conveyor, I can dump 300 bales and have 100 in the basket before switching baskets.  If I switch baskets, its easier for the conveyor person, can pop the gate and bales fall out near the conveyor, very little walking as they keep sliding down.

 

If you are delivering up to say 10 miles max, they work well too as you can pull the lever and leave in seconds.  The dolly wheel is raised for road travel so you can do 25-30 mph there, and 40-50 mph empty on return.  Over 10 miles, more bales per trip on trailers or wagon(s) starts to make way more sense.

 

I have lots of experience on kicker wagons and don't like them but they work ok for some.  We did a few years of ride racks and stack by hand off chute.  Before that picked off the ground for many many years.  I'd like to try a Kuhn's accumulator sometime as a good friend has one.  Need long wagons and drive in storage.

 

 

Anyone have any experience with a bale basket?  I think they're a neat concept but they seem to be kind of scarce.

 

 

 

Thanks!



#18 JD3430

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Posted 04 November 2020 - 08:19 AM

If I had my pile of money for hay equipment, I’d make my best piece my baler. Next would be one good solid tractor. 
Rakes, Tedder, wagons, etc are cheaper & easier to diagnose and fix than baler or tractor. 


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#19 Trillium Farm

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Posted 04 November 2020 - 08:40 AM

As others have already given you plenty of good advice I shall advise on the marketing side.

You have to determine if you have Horse-persons or Persons with horses, these are two different things.

The former will look for quality, will pay for it and will forgive if the bales aren't perfect (within reason) but can still be stored properly.

To satisfy this customer you'll need knowledge in haymaking.

The latter will only be driven by price, looks (eye candy bales) and is very finicky, this buyer type is what gives hay producers nightmares :D

You'll have to decide which market to produce for. With only 35 acres it is hard to justify big capital expenses, but here my advice is do not focus on price, but only on the "Right Equipment"


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#20 Hayman1

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Posted 04 November 2020 - 09:09 AM

Ls Hay-welcome to HT.  Not sure where you are in MD and it is a really variable state.  However, if you are montgomery co west, your conditions are really similar to mine.  That said, here goes-

 

I started out small 25 years ago with equipment that someone else had worn out twice and would not do that again.  Hard to make horse quality hay when everything is breaking down on hay day and you are running to get parts, repairing or waiting for an emergency tech to come fix something.  I am not saying to forgo used equipment at all but think ahead.  I worked up from 15 or so ac to over a hundred while doing a very full time job but now in major retirement I am down to 25 ac so very similar to you.  My suggestions to you-

 

don't get greedy, never cut more than you know you can handle at one time.  Repeat after me...  This rule also saves you from loosing the whole enchilada to rain that was not forecast.  I would go with kicker wagons.  I am not saying the other things won't work but if you are relying on you, yourself and you, it is the best bet.  Never let a bale touch the ground other than flyers over the wagon and minimize those.  Get larger kicker wagons that will fit under the rooves you have-measure to top of rack and add 24-30 inches for bales that stick up (otherwise, you have to get up and toss off some bales on top before you back in.  

 

Stolzfus in Honeybrook PA makes good steel wagons-get the truck tires, not flotation tires.  they are reasonably priced.  I would get 8.5 x 22' wagons.  You will find that the 950 (I had one for a long time) even with larger rears just does not have the butt to back those wagons and you might want to consider an upgrade to 50-60 hp like a JD2440 or 2550.  both good tractors and could be used in a pinch to run the baler to finish or whatever.  you should be able to get 175 bales or so on the 22' wagons with a little skill with your thrower.

 

I would suggest you look at a Krone 2801CV disc mower conditioner.  Just moved up from a NH1409 roller machine and like the impellers-I do all grass-orchard with some timothy mixed in.

The Krone 4 basket tedder and the small rotary rake from Krone-38t are well matched to your size of operation.  Messicks in PA handles Krone, probably others as well and I think they have a shop in Gettysburg or Carlisle pa if you are in the west central part of MD.

 

For balers, a NH 570 with a 72 thrower and hydraulic tension is a nice set up-nice controls/hydraulics at your console for thrower speed/distance and direction of throw.  The number of wagons is really dependent on how many bales you want to make at one time.  I would suggest you start with 6 ac per batch of hay cut and see how that works for you.  that is 700+ bales in wagon capacity and don't plan to empty them the day you bale.  Your objective on baling day is to get them in wagons and under shed roof.  Anything more is a bonus.  I get 100-140 per acre depending on year moisture and temperature and i fertilize well per soil test data.  ISF makes a slick 5 gal tote preservative applicator that uses Hayguard that would work well for your operation.   

 

Lastly, as far as marketing-moving hay-line your customers up during the winter, like as in now.  Try to get customers that will take your wagon (or you tow it to them) and they unload in their barn.  That way you don't have the extra expense of handling and stacking.  you might have issues marketing that much hay in advance of any product to show with no track record so be prepared-even if you plan to make less the first year to get your feet wet.  It's a journey and an adventure.  Hang on and enjoy the ride.  HTH

 

Some other things you will need-10' pull type bushhog for trimming fields, 3pt hitch 600# fertilizer spreader, access to a NT drill for over seeding fields.  Contract your herbicide application, bulk fertilizer, and liming to the local coop.

 

Oh, and for what it's worth, you don't need a round baler.  You do need someone local that you can get to roll stuff if you loose it to rain etc.  You just don't make enough on round bales around here to make numbers work unless you are way bigger than you are.  I had a good JD457 RB as a back up and sold it after 5 years and about 250 bales through it.  Just could not justify something that expensive sitting in the shed taking up space and rusting for the privilege  of saving a few ac of hay every several years.  mostly I used it when I ran out of kicker wagon capacity.  much cheaper to buy another wagon


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