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I was doing some custom baling this past weekend for second cut and was going to be a light day (ending up at 368 bales). I'm still old fashioned and employ child labor stacking on a wagon behind the baler, so they actually will experience heat, difficulty, and work. On this day none of my regulars could show so I went with a contact the client had who helps him stack hay in his barn.

Kid shows up, probably 17, farm kid that lives near by. Says he doesn't need gloves so I'm thinking he's tough, dumb, or both. Was looking forward to the prospect of having somebody else on the call list to summon for hay help. He says he knows how to stack but I tell him how I want the wagon stacked regardless to make sure. We start going and first thing, bales aren't getting stacked properly in the back row. I stop and restack them. Get going again and bales are only 4 high. I stop again, say to stack them 5 high.

Says he can't stack them 5 high, can't lift them above his head. I didn't even try to hide the disbelief on my face because I've had 13 year olds on that wagon barely 5' tall chucking bales to the 5th row before. So I stack them to 5 and jump on tractor and keep going.

Start baling again and then he just starts PILING the bales in a big pile in the middle of the wagon. I stop again and now I'm pissed and ask what's going on. He says they're coming too fast and they're too heavy. THEY'RE 40 POUND BALES. I restack the hay.

THEN he quits on the spot, 40 bales in, says he can't do it, he's getting a rash on his forearms and he's allergic to hay. Not sure what you're expecting when you agree to do hay. So there I am on my own, with a 9 acre field ahead of me and my own 7 acre field raked up ready to be baled afterwards, with rain coming the following day. I start baling on my own, stopping every 3 bales to stack. First time in 10 years anybody has walked off the job.

To make matters worse, my baler had broke the day before on this field, so I was using a borrowed baler from local farmer on this field and it broke about 50 bales in.

I had to borrow a baler from a third guy, one of my buyers came and stacked, and got everything finished up at 9 pm.

So I guess I'm sticking with my city kid helpers. They're wrestlers or football players, never stacked hay a day in their life before they came to me but their stacks look like bricks, they're strong as mules, they work hard, and I have to force them to stop for water and rest, and they think the work is fun.

Get a thrower, accumulator, or bale basket you'll all say. Well I did better. I went home and told my wife I'm so over this so the next day I made calls and dumped several fields. I'm going into semi-retirement from hay now and just going to be doing 26 acres next year. I just haven't had the passion for it this year. I already sold a wagon, and the thought of my next summer schedule not being held hostage by haying is already liberating. I've got a 2 year old at home and I'd rather be spending these years with her than working work that I don't even need to be working. Maybe in the distant future when my daughter is older and can help me farm, if she wants to, we'll pick it back up. But until then I'm going to spend more time on the finer things in life.

end rant.
 

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Gourmet Horse Hay Producer
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I feel your pain. I live next to a rural subdivision which had 20 some lots and multiple kids over the years since I got here in 2001. Never found any to work one day in the hay field and I would have paid well. Too hot, prickly, too heavy etc etc. FTR, I remember when I was a young teenager in the hayfield that there was a lot of variation amongst the available workers and many were close to worthless. Went to kicker wagons from the get go and never looked back. About 5 years ago, I hired a young person (perhaps 19) to stack hay in the barn and on a trailer for transport. Told him exactly how to do it several times. Hay fell off the trailer by itself. Hay fell out into the aisle in the barn. Then he repeated the skill stacking wood in the woodshed. That was it for him, non-redeemable.

For the last 5 years, I have either hauled wagons to customers or they picked them up. the only bales I unload now are those for my wife's boarding business. Works for me. In the getting over myself category, my 10 foot bushhog is my friend. I have a nutsedge issue this year and set up spraying on July 15th which I am still waiting for. Supposedly tomorrow am. Breakdowns and parts availability. So, I just trimmed off seed heads as they appeared. Simple, no hassle reduction of haying costs. :p I did not do any post first cutting topdressing so have no second cutting investment angst. Actually feels pretty good. Made 17 bales to the ac yesterday on second cut with no inputs other than fuel and time to cut and bale.
 
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I stacked hay as a kid, but have not touched a bail in years. I mostly see round bails where I'm at.

I make hay the wrong way. I can cut hay and have it in the barn 8 to 36 hours latter depending on the weather. Yep loose barn cured hay all the way for me. I feel it's less time on the tractors, less losses, better feed tests, better palatability, and less labor, but I do have to run a 1hp fan for 8 to 36 hours to cure the hay. I know this dose not work for hay sales and does not work with the way a lot of operations are set up.
 

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I stacked hay as a kid, but have not touched a bail in years. I mostly see round bails where I'm at.

I make hay the wrong way. I can cut hay and have it in the barn 8 to 36 hours latter depending on the weather. Yep loose barn cured hay all the way for me. I feel it's less time on the tractors, less losses, better feed tests, better palatability, and less labor, but I do have to run a 1hp fan for 8 to 36 hours to cure the hay. I know this dose not work for hay sales and does not work with the way a lot of operations are set up.
You should do a write up with plenty of pics about your operation. Sounds interesting.
 

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Sounds like you were done doing hay and now you have a reason/excuse.....sometimes that is what it takes to makes a change .....it took some issues for me to retire a while back now that is behind me I am glad but it was hard to change at the time....someone else will do the hay life will go on ...enjoy the grandkids...I do.....I do hay as a hobby and for tax purposes
 

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You should do a write up with plenty of pics about your operation. Sounds interesting.
There are plenty of stuff on YouTube if you search "putting up loose trolley". We did build our farm infrastructure so it's all modernize, but 99% of the of the same ideas the farmers used to do and we put a different spin on.

If there are 2 people getting up hay we pre rake. One person drives the truck with 2 hay wagons and one drives a front end loader with a large rake on it. Use the rake to push the hay into piles and dump into the wagons. With 3 people no need to pre rake, but it is nice to have that person help move the hay around in the wagons to get a larger loads.

We set up our barn in the shape of a T so you can drive though, have animals on 2 of the sides, have indoor parking, and have 3 lofts. We set up 2 of our lofts for hay. Drive the truck in lining up the trailer. 1 person drives a car to operate the hay trolley and the other 1 stands in the trailer to put in the hay forks. The car drives forward, hay goes up, then goes down the rail, dump the hay, and pull the trolley back for the next round.

To cure the wet hay, you flatten it all out, and then turn the fan on. The air blows between the floor and a grate blowing up through the hay. Every few years pull up the false floor and sweep and the sweepings make good feed.

We have a few trap doors to toss hay down into the hay feeders.
 

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I do not post on YouTube or post many pics on the internet. I do know we do a lot of odd things on our farm that a lot of people would like to see.
 

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There are plenty of stuff on YouTube if you search "putting up loose trolley". We did build our farm infrastructure so it's all modernize, but 99% of the of the same ideas the farmers used to do and we put a different spin on.
I think there were some vintage photos on HayTalk about similar style hay barns. As I recall, the barn had a false floor with space for airflow. Interesting stuff....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sounds like you were done doing hay and now you have a reason/excuse.....sometimes that is what it takes to makes a change .....it took some issues for me to retire a while back now that is behind me I am glad but it was hard to change at the time....someone else will do the hay life will go on ...enjoy the grandkids...I do.....I do hay as a hobby and for tax purposes
This was really the first year I haven't been motivated and passionate about doing hay. But my daughter is also nearing two so she's at a fun age and I'd rather spend the time being with her. This past weekend I hardly saw her. I am just going to cut back a lot so I can still get my fix but have more time back. I've dumped some fields, customers, and equipment. But I work full time, just one guy, so this was still more of a hobby and side business for me.
 
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I went over to round bales just for that reason. Occasionally I’ll make 100squares to test my small baler and that’s about it. I work a full time job and it does get rough farming 100acres and feeding cattle at the same time.
 

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I bought a hay accumulator/grapple just for this situation when I couldn't find help as I have a day job. However, you had many things working against you. Not 1 but 2 balers broke, rain coming and no help. I had a day like that earlier this year and had my 2 small square balers not working and borrowed a third. Round baler PTO shaft broke too. So, I was thinking to myself, why do I do this? Normally, I also use the round baler as my last resort but it was down. Small squares maximize the money though so that's why we do them as first choice.

My dream to avoid your situation is to get a dry van semi trailer, load in the field with a grapple, drive home without worrying about the unloading process. I have about 2 years to acquire the equipment to make that happen and then my son will most likely be gone or I will have to cut back too. Enjoy your early hay retirement and your daughter! You seem passionate about hay so it may not stick forever.
 
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Lost a hay customer this year as the big dairy boys had extra hay and are dumping squares for 2$ and rounds for 20$. Decided to put 50 acres or so into beans next year.
 

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I don't think those prices are sustainable and are below what it costs to bale so that customer may enjoy it this year, but it won't be that price next year. Is that Canadian dollars too? Yikes!
 

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Yup Canadian dollars. Something like 23$ Cdn of fertilizer this year in 500 lb bale, tried talking to some of these cheap guys but they fertilize with manure mostly and don’t seem to care about the diesel or equipment cost etc. All the cash small guys had extra to sell too for cheap. Frustrating but it’s the market. I’m sure beans will crash before next season too now lol

Edit - we won’t drop any customers- we had extra land btw

I don't think those prices are sustainable and are below what it costs to bale so that customer may enjoy it this year, but it won't be that price next year. Is that Canadian dollars too? Yikes!
 

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I bale and feed rounds myself and buy 150 squares a year. Just too hard to get help nowadays. But one secret that worked---hire two young, attractive girls as part of the crew and tell the boys the girls can out work them. Those bales will be flying 30 feet, two at a time.

Ralph
LOL. I had two daughters and during their teen years, an occasional boyfriend would want to prove themselves to Dad (me). Of course, I always took advantage of any free labor.
 
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