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Hay business ???

Discussion in 'Agricultural Operations' started by JD4020, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. JD4020

    JD4020 Well-Known Member

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    I know this is the right thread, but the wrong website. But what is the current hay industry like. I would love to own my own hay farm in a few (quite a few) years but am wondering if there is a market for it? I know there is, but how hard is it to earn a living this way right now?
     
  2. muddobber

    muddobber Member

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    Occupation:
    welder,machinist,mechanic, underground coal mines
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    My guess is '07 was a sellers year. '08 may not be. generally on a good year everyone has hay and a drought year nobody has hay. Father owns dairy farm and people called all winter wanting to buy hay but I don't know what kind of living you could make of it.
     
  3. pushcat

    pushcat Well-Known Member

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    There's always money to be had in hay. Most farmers these days are just interested in row crops, making hay is too much work. If you are willing to make it, someone will buy it, especially those crazy horse people. There are peaks and valleys like any farm crop, but over the years I have made more money selling hay than anything else, including livestock. Many times I should have just sold the cattle and the feed I put in them instead of feeding it to them.
     
  4. JD4020

    JD4020 Well-Known Member

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    Again I know, wrong website, but lets keep the conversation going. I am 16, and spent weeks on end on the farm for the past, well, almost 16 years. I want to own my own farm someday, not a big business farm, I want to make my money in the construction industry, but I would love a small farm a few animals maybe too. My cousins grandpa has a farm that he owns now that he is retired for the extra money, he has a very nice setup. I grew up spending my summers bailing hay. I am just wondering that if in say 25 years would I be able to pick up a little money this way? I know long ways off, but just throwing it out there. I dont want to have a large farm, because they are most all family owned. And I know that its hard to make a living on a small one man operation farm, and I dont want to make a living out of it.
     
  5. hvy 1ton

    hvy 1ton Senior Member

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    There is only one guy around here who is the straight hay business, and really he builds fences, sometimes i think that is all his crew should do. The option of selling off the cattle and reinvesting in haying equipment was been floating around. Go to a full time custom cutting operation. I don't know what you can grow in MN, but down here you want brome, alfalfa, and native grass(big and little bluestem). IF you can consistently put up what horsey people call "horse quality" alfalfa you are making bank. The problem with "horse quality" is dealing with the horsey people. Given I've made a lot of money working for horsey people, but sometimes the people you have to deal with just aren't worth it.

    Example-
    I was mowing one of the fields that didn't get cut for hay a few years back and one of my new neighbors stops up by the gate. I stop and idle down the tractor when i have made my way around. She asked me if i could cut the hay at her house, i responded "What hay?", guess the guy who sold the house said he was making $1200 a year selling the hay off of a 9 acre field full of fescue. I told her i could cut down the tall grass per acre. She says get back to me with a number. I look at the property maps and decided it was about 9 acres and quoted her $180. Well i cut their stuff and the people next to them and ripped up the blackberry bush in the middle of the field. The second house paid as soon as i was done and gave me $40 extra for dumping the blackberry bush on the burn pile. It took the lady who approched me 3 days to pay me and then tried to talk me down to $140 b/c her husband thought it he had been mowing 4 of the 13 acres. She said the amount time it took to mow with their mower worked out to for 4 acres. Well the time it to your $4 000 lawnmower to do 4 acres plus the time it took my $80 000 brushog to knock down 9 acres equals 13 acres. The next year i charged them by the hour hopping to avoid more drama. This time it was $190 and took 2 weeks to get paid, I had to sick my mother on her to finally get paid. They were complaining that the cost had gone up even though they had agreed to the $125/hr. I told them to find someone else to cut the field. Their neighbors gave me extra money again for some reason or another. Later that year they called me and asked me to do it because every one else had a 4 hour min since they had to hook up their stuff and drive 2+ miles. I said i have 4 hr/ min for dealing bs. That was two years ago i still mow the other field for 1.5 hours it takes me and always get paid for doing something extra that i don't expect anything for.

    If i had a client book full of people like the second family i wouldn't be going to college right now. In everything i do through the ranch i try over deliver, and only keep clients i like. A huge part of the hay business and any other i have been involved in has been communication. The client has to understand exactly what they are paying for and you have to make sure they get more. I can think of a couple deals that had rough endings b/c the deal lacked clarity.
     
  6. 637slayer

    637slayer Senior Member

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    seems to me that in 25 years the big question will be how to get water,i dont know where you live but here in the west water is becoming a bigger issue every year.
     
  7. YoungOne

    YoungOne Well-Known Member

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    I wouldnt be able to tell you if this was good or not but.

    Square bails here are going 6.50-7.50 a bail.

    Not sure about round.

    -Michael-
     
  8. joispoi

    joispoi Senior Member

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    The main question you need to answer is where can you sell the hay? Answer that question, and then you can start looking at how to produce, store and transport the hay. You don't have to wait 25 years to get into it. You can rent land. You can rent/borrow/barter haying equipment (not so easily when the owner needs to use it).
     
  9. bear

    bear Senior Member

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    Yep 2007 was a seller's year for hay. most people i know have their own ha fields and are pretty much self reliant. Horse and cattle operations that don't produce their own fodder and landscaping and other places that use hay/straw to keep runoff down would probably be your best bets. not sure what it's like in your area or others but in any operation diversification would be good. harvest and haul, or at other places such as construction sites see if you can work out a deal to apply the product to the areas that are finished.
    research your potential market get the lowdown develp a plan and it should work.
     
  10. Countryboy

    Countryboy Senior Member

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    Welcome to Heavy Equipment Forums bear! :drinkup
     
  11. CAT D9H

    CAT D9H Senior Member

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    A very good friend of mine owns his own feed store , its a good size store he hauls his own feed and hay he was telling me that here in New Mexico its is getting bad with hay prices and fuel prices , people cant afford to buy enough to keep their animals and family fed , he also told me that at livestock auctions good horses are selling for less then $100 , and that there is a ranch on the outskirts of town they have had to put down many horses because they were costing too much to feed , they cant really graze because its really dry here , I was also told the average price of a 120lb bale of alfalfa in NM was $16.05 and a 50lb bag of oats are 12.00 so its pretty bad in NM
     
  12. dirt digger

    dirt digger Senior Member

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    the hay market is great...thats all we do...about 30 acres of small bales. We sell it as horse feed, and those people buy it at a premium and will spend a lot more then wholesaling it to a Agway style store. We try and have all our hay sold before we cut it...makes it easy so we don't have to worry about storage...just take a wagon right to the farm who we are selling it to and off load it...last year we were selling them for $3.50 a bale this summer our first cutting might fetch $4.25 and second cutting could see as high as $5

    theres always a market for feed...around here anyway people own 5 acres with 3 horses and no land to hay themselves so thats where we come in

    -Bryan
     
  13. dirt digger

    dirt digger Senior Member

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    borrowing hay equipment is a big no-no in the farmers world...chances are everyone cuts hay at the same time so everyone needs their equipment then...not like borrowing a chisel plow or disc...you only have a small time frame to get good hay and you need all your resources available...you might get lucky and be able to borrow a wagon or two but you will be very hard pressed to find someone willing to lend you their haybine, tedder, rake, or baler

    we just bought another haybine, kicker baler, another rake, 2 wagons, another tedder and another tractor this winter...so lets hope the weather treats us right this year
     
  14. JD4020

    JD4020 Well-Known Member

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    I may be wrong, but it seems to me, that NH hay equipment, especially the little older stuff goes for a dime a dozen where my relitives in WI. live. Ill have to talk to my uncle, see what he thinks of the business.
     
  15. dirt digger

    dirt digger Senior Member

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    pushing dirt, baling hay, and hitting the books
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    thats all we run is NH equipment...we buy it all used...in good shape, slap a coat of paint on it and it looks good as new...but not around here it doesn't go cheap. You can find a deal at a sale if you are lucky but usually it gets pretty competitive

    we are trying to line up a shot of all of our equipment this summer...after the baler and my new tractor get fresh coats of paint, i'll have to post it on here
     
  16. JD4020

    JD4020 Well-Known Member

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    Makw sure to post it here! Id love to see some pics.
     
  17. stumpjumper83

    stumpjumper83 Senior Member

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    Well I've decided to rent out my NH 489 haybine. I'm going to start a custom heifer raising operation next year and will need it but this year its for rent. But I guess lancaster pa to wherever you are in minisota is a little far.
     
  18. dirt digger

    dirt digger Senior Member

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    stumpjumper do you have any other hay equipment...or other equipment for sale or rent? We are in Unionville...an hour east of Lancaster
     
  19. ohioduramax

    ohioduramax Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    ohio
    Are you looking to buy any farm equipment dirt digger? My uncle passed away and all of his equipment is going up for auction on may 24. I know he has some hay equipment too. I live in northeast ohio. PM me if you are interested ill try to get you a list of equipment.
     
  20. Cropduster

    Cropduster Active Member

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    Hay sells better and higher mid to end of winter. And if you have a way to transport it, follow where the big horse events are.