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· Gourmet Horse Hay Producer
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Wait, you are in west Va and haying in fauquier? I know both and that’s a nonstarter
 

· Gourmet Horse Hay Producer
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3,318 Posts
Yes sir, I live in WV. I couldn’t find anything in the immediate area. It’s only about a hour drive away. What do you mean it’s a nonstarter?
sorry, i meant to edit and further explain. I am in precisely the same weather patterns you will be experiencing. I have been doing this madness because I was born to do it and because I love the lifestyle and few other activities give me the degree of satisfaction that providing stewardship over a field from start to production of prime hay does. That said, it is enough of a challenge around here (I am north of front royal by less than 10 miles) to get things done when they need to be done, the hour they need to be done in to either bale or get ready to bale. 2 hours late just does not cut it and there is no reason to be like the legions of others making crappy mulch hay. They cut too late, leave too long on the ground, rarely ted their hay and flip right before baling leaving damp stuff in the windrow that they figure will be absorbed by the burned up stuff on top. I limited any area I took on to less than a mile up the road, I can run up and ted, then come back and do something at my place including tedding if needed. Being an hour away is a condition I medaled in since my paying job before retirement was in Leesburg which is an hour from here on many days. Basically the only way I could make that work was to take off either half days or whole days. Coming home to do hay work at 5-6 even in high summer just does not work here. If you need to fix something, you are home, you can run out and spend a half hour before dinner and maybe fix it. if you have to drive an hour, then figure out how and where you will get the part then get back (seems like we are getting to a lot of hours here) well hopefully you get my point. I love farming and love haymaking the most. I would not consider trying to do that from afar.

I do find it hard to believe that you can not find any small patches of hayland near to your home/farm. They might not be the grandest spots but it is a place to start. It sounds like you have more big operator pressure near your farm than in Fauquier. However, those guys don't really like to do small places because there is no efficiency with larger equipment. My inclination is for you to look harder around your farm and maybe wait a bit. Around here there are plenty of folks who want land taken care of and (hay produced in particular) to qualify for land use tax breaks. I suspect the same in Fauquier. Perhaps that phenomena does not exist around your farm. Hope that shines some light on what I said.
 

· Gourmet Horse Hay Producer
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3,318 Posts
An hour away just can't be done in your situation. I could list out a million reasons for why, but it's easier for me to just tell you no way, no chance.

I think $10k for your budget is low. Realistically you can expect to spend

  1. $3-4k for an old NH square baler (unless you're only doing rounds, then I can't speak to that)
  2. $3-4k for a 9' rotary rake (recommend going with something that has tandem axles).
  3. $1600-2k for a two basket tedder
  4. $3-4k for an old haybine, like a NH479 or 488
  5. $1000-1500/hay wagon or
  6. $3k for flatbed trailer to transport round bales
  7. $6-15k on tractor
This doesn't include the litany of other things you need like tools, straps, annual maintenance (fluids, oils, and fuel), repairs ($$$), a truck, barn/storage shed, twine, moisture probe.

This might be helpful for you as well so you know what you're getting in to:

Hayjosh is dead on.
 

· Gourmet Horse Hay Producer
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3,318 Posts
However, conditioning definitely helps in this area
 
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