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Author Topic: should i change hay making arrangements?  (Read 2181 times)


  • Joined Jan 2013
should i change hay making arrangements?
« on: March 10, 2013, 11:30:45 pm »
Last year, for reasons of convenience, having bought 20 acres of a 50 acre farm, we decided to continue to use the farmer that had been taking the hay off the whole 50 acres. He gave us 500.
He managed 70 large round bales in June and 62 bales in early October. He spread fertilizer twice.
My question is how much would it cost to pay a contractor to cut, bale and wrap that kind of  quantity and would we be better off selling the wrapped haylage by the bail ourselves?


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: should i change hay making arrangements?
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2013, 12:17:06 am »
Our contractors' combined charges for mowing, turning, rowing up, baling, wrapping come in at about 8.50 a big round bale, plus they fill up their tractors from our diesel tank as they leave.  (And they use a lot of big, thirsty machines.)

We also then have to pay them by the hour, plus fuel, to lead the bales in for storage, as we don't have the squeezy arms.

Fertiliser is around 400/T?  And you'd have to pay someone to spread it too?

Silage bales sell for 18-26 each around here, if they sell at all - there isn't always a market for them.

If you can be sure of hay weather, you spend a little more on turning (you'd turn one or two more times, at least) but save 3-3.50 per bale on wrapping, plus if you have a tractor and back spike, or loader and gripe, you can move the hay bales around yourself.

Large round hay bales fetch 15-25 each, sometimes up to 30 when forage is scarce, especially if it's good hay.  You can always sell good hay.  But you do need somewhere under cover to store it until you do sell it.

You need contractors who are willing to fit you in when you need to be fitted in, whether you make hay or silage.  But there is more leeway in when they do all the various operations for silage than there is for hay - it's no good baling hay in the late afternoon/early evening as the dew is getting onto it, for instance. 

If your weather is iffy, and/or there are only a few short windows of opportunity to make hay or silage (and everyone else will be wanting the contractors at the same time as you), then personally I'd take the 500 and the total lack of any kind of stress or uncertainty, and thank your lucky stars!

But on the face of it, yes you could potentially spend what, 1500-1900 making 130 bales and sell them for an average of 20 apiece, thereby almost doubling your net income.  (Except for the years when you got no crop at all - but hopefully that would be fairly rare.)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: should i change hay making arrangements?
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2013, 07:35:29 am »
Unless you want a lot of hassle I would carry on taking the money. We used to when we didnt have our own stock - similar amount of land and same amount of money. Since your chap is adding the fertility back in with the fertiliser then altho 500 isnt near what the bales are worth, you have no work and the fields should retain their fertility.
Last year we hardly managed to get our hay in due to the weather  but the farmer got his off cos he could round bale at 200 miles an hour, wrap stuff when the weather got dodgy etc. But the equipment to do that and lower the risk of getting nothing is a huge amount.


  • Joined Jan 2010
    • Allt Y Coed Farm and Campsite
Re: should i change hay making arrangements?
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2013, 09:36:00 pm »
If you have not got any plans for the 20 acres then accepting 500 a year for the yeilds is ok considering its basically its straight in the hand, especially considering the buyer has an interest in keeping the land well maintained.  You would certainly not have that money in the bag if you were doing it yourself and envolving contractors to come and bale,  cut, turn collect etc etc - you might but then it becomes running a business and not just having the cash in the hand.

I might get a solicitor to draw up a contract though if you do let him stay and have at least 1 month of the year where the field is not 'rented' or has any ambigious verbal contracts attached.  The months rest as soon as possible.


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