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Beginner Hay Farmer in VA&WV

2441 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
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The first thing about farming, there are something that need doing at the correct time. That time is the only chance you have to make good hay some times. The kids ball game, the wife showing her horse, the family birthday party, you have hay to make all else be dammed. After 40 years of marriage I can still get in trouble over farming has to be first.

My world is different on the central Calif coast (land where Spanish Vaqueros {cowboys} invented do it tomorrow). Think of how long to move hay from this rented field to a barn. One night of rain your hay has gone from primero to junk.

Now back to the fun stuff of helping you spent your money. Massey's don't have a bad reputation, but worn out is worn out. If you have not played mechanic much..................................I hope you know some who has. Doing the farming thing needs to be fun oriented, if just for the dollars and cents don't even start. Because farming is dealing with OH SH.. moments. And still thinking that was not so bad.

All it takes is luck and you can make the money real easy farming. Without nothing helps some seasons.
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