Hay & Forage Forum banner
21 - 31 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,189 Posts
OP--Lots of horses eat OG hay; it's the primary type of grass grown for hay in the midwest. It has a very high yield but the two things I do not like about it are it matures very quickly, so for us in the midwest, it's already gone to head, seed, and stem by the time we even get an opportunity to make first cut, so the quality of your largest cutting is reduced. The other thing I do not like about it is it grows in clumps, which makes a really clumpy sod, making for a rough field.

Like others had mentioned, it really likes fertilizer so you will have cost there. In my part of the country it's typical to yield 80-100 bales/acre on orchard grass for first cut, and then about 40% of that for second, and even less for third. If you give it nitrogen it will go bonkers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·
If you have experience with making a decent pasture, think of hay making as a step up and above. Instead of the animals keeping it short and fertilized by grazing, you are doing that work instead. I am switching 3 acres of grazed pasture into hay. I already mow it at least twice a month where it wasn't grazed. Already fertilize it with Pasture Pro. So now instead of mowing it with a rough cut and leaving the clippings, I will be mowing it 2-3 times a year, raking and baling. Instead of relying on the basic Pasture Pro, will be doing custom fertilizing using soil testing.

For some, the 3 acres may seem like a waste of time and money, but for me, I am already wasting fuel cutting it every other week, already wasting money on fertilizer. So I spent $5K on equipment, am a pretty good mechanic so repairs are nothing to me, and my only added cost will be for better seed and fertilizer. Instead of spending a few hours every week, I will be spending a few hours for a few days 2-3 times a year, and for that, one, it wont go to waste, someone will buy it, two, I actually get more time for other projects on weekends instead of spending it cutting every other one, three, in my case, it lessens the tax burden on my property taxes. If it's a wash, so be it, but if I make good quality hay for horses, there are plenty of buyers who will pay $5 a bale for it around me. If I make a little bit on it, then it's worth it even more. IOW for MY situation, its a no lose prospect, more positives than negatives.

For the OP though, weigh the benefits to the negatives. How much are you spending in money and time now on it and how much more would you need to put into it for it to be viable. Does the ground need tilling, harrowing, conditioning in order to plant, or can you just drill in new seed on already partially established grass? Will it cut down on property taxes and what is the time to ROI after purchasing equipment? Do you have a decent market in your area? Will you be delivering, or pick up only? Will you need road equipment to deliver?

In my case I already have the majority of it, a new tractor was already in the works before I made the decision, which came out of what can I use the tractor for in addition to what I already do with it. Already have a sprayer, tiller and a few other tools used to maintain the pastures, so in my case, I just needed the MoCo, rake and baler, next year a tedder and drill, the drill I have other plans for but will come in handy for overseeding some new varieties in. After doing a tax review earlier in the year, then refinancing for a better rate, I discovered that all my neighbors have turned half to 3/4 of their land into crop and their taxes are more than half of mine. I could see a reduction of $2,000-$3,000 per year starting year 3. My ROI starting at that point is 2-3 years for the equipment I have now, and in 10 years, a reduction of up to 11 years on the mortgage itself. Instead of just paying what the mortgage with escrow is after the reduction, I would continue paying what I do now, which would go towards principal. $300 more per month really drops the principal down quickly, and also reduces the interest. When I refinanced, instead of paying the new lower rate, I pay the same I did before, so already knocking down the principal. I went from less than 11 years back to 30 by refinancing, but the outlook by doing what I am doing has just increased the actual time out a few years so I can still retire on time with a paid off house.

Of course after a couple years doing this I might just say FI, too much work, and let it go to seed and find a local who would work it, but I really don't want corn and beans in my backyard, I have enough of that on 3 sides already.

If this helps great, if TL;DR, well, sorry, I do tend to ramble a bit.
This is another reason I'm doing it, for the farm credit with IRS. Your position seems very close to my idea. Also I'm doing it for the fun and experience. I really enjoy being a wannabe farmer and working my tractor. I have put in 3 different gardens for neighbors, put in a race horse practice track for another neighbor.....the ol case loves the attention. And I love feeling it pull!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Finally got dry enough to prep. I got to plow and disc half of it today. Tomorrow I will do the next section. Gonna have to hustle as the rain is supposed to be back by 1 tomorrow afternoon. Sure am having fun!
Sky Plant Tire Cloud Tree
Tire Wheel Vehicle Tractor Automotive tire
 

·
Gourmet Horse Hay Producer
Joined
·
3,009 Posts
That will be a fun one to dry. That hay is going to spend most of its time in the shade, unless that is running east/west.
Exactly what I was going to write yesterday but got distracted. Even at east/west orientation, I think it will be a challenge
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Looks good! The sun will get in plenty this is Washington! I wouldn’t disk I would only plow and let the winter brake down the sod. That way in the spring you’ll just run a harrow or cultivator to smooth and level it out.
 
21 - 31 of 31 Posts
Top