Hay & Forage Forum banner

Beginner Hay Farmer in VA&WV

2440 Views 25 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Mbruni35
Hello everyone,

I’m brand new, and excited to join this community and learn about hay farming. I’m here to ask questions that’s probably been asked 1000s of time on this site. My wife and I recently decided to get into hay farming to support our little horse farm in WV. To help reduce startup cost of this small hay operation, I decided to seek out free land lease opportunities. I found one in Fauquier county, VA. It’s approximately 8 acres of fields that have previously been hay with round bales for cattle. The grass is a fescue mix and the land topography is comprised of rolling hills. I currently only have a JD 1025r so I will need to purchase bigger equipment unless there’s a positive consensus on making hay with equipment that supports sub compact tractors (mini round baler etc.) i’d like to keep costs as low as possible with equipment until I’m sure this is a business I want to continue. My budget is approximately $10k for everything. My goal is to make quality horse hay.

1. Currently keeping my eye on a 1969 MF 180 tractor and a MF 135. How reliable are these? Any recommendations for older tractors that have readily available parts and are easy to work on?​
2. Is a Haybine the best choice starting out? If so any recommendations?​
3. What’s the best Ted&rake combo?
4. any recommendations on square baler?​

Soil/Grass prep:​
1. The owner of the lease said he would still have southern states out to fertilize and spray for weeds. Is there anything else I need to do prior to the growing season to make sure the soil is where it needs to be? There is fox tail sporadically throughout​
2. Should I consider over seeding my first year? Or just work with what I have?​

Any help is greatly appreciated! I look forward to learning and talking with y’all. See below for pictures​
Cloud Sky Plant Tree Natural landscape
Plant Rectangle Twig Wood Terrestrial plant
Plant Terrestrial plant Groundcover Grass Soil
Plant Tree Natural landscape Grass Wood
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
1 - 2 of 26 Posts
Welcome to this forum
I think the MF180 & 135 should be easier to keep operating than some of the newer common-rail fuel & electronically controlled trans tractor models.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
I have no experience baling hay on rolling hills so I'll refrain from answering your question about MF135 being large enough. I've small sq baled dropping bales on the ground with a 14 HP tractor on flat Texas soil.
1 - 2 of 26 Posts