What payment arrangements are normal to have your hay cut/baled?
We recently bought some property about 25 acres of which are hayfield. A local farmer has been cutting the hay and has agreed to do so for us. My question - what do you pay for this? We certainly won't need nearly as much hay for our ponies as will be produced. Do most people split the costs/profits? Take a percentage of the hay and sell what we don't need (Don't think we will have storage for this) Have the farmer take all the hay and pay us per bale/ton/set fee? On average, how much hay is normally harvested per acre?
Thanks for any guidance you can offer.
I pay $80 per hour for cutting as well as raking for my neighbor to come by when he is also doing hay. Bailing is $1 per bail and I load it all into my barn by trailer. I harvest aprox 12 acres and get 900 bails the first cut and 700 for the second. He cuts all of his own hay so paying with my extra will not do for him. I pay for the bailer twine, have my own hay trailers and give him a $100 gas card as a thank you. Equipment is very expensive unless you are a mechanic and can buy older machines. I find this deal works out well but if he was any further down the township, it may not even be possible for him to come to do hay.
Since I only need a couple of hundred square bales a year, and our 40 acres of hayfield is lovely, the guys that do mine cherry pick the nicest areas for the horses, give me 200 bales then round bale the rest for their cattle. This works fairly well for me, except that they sometimes let the hayfield grasses have seedheads, which works well for their cattle, but I would prefer if it was cut a bit sooner so as to be a bit nicer.
I am on a 1/3-2/3 crop share. They deliver what I will need then pay me market price for what is left. They also pick the better stuff for the horses, mine and theirs.
How much you get per acre, however, is dependant on weather, soil type, fertiliser, equipement, and other random things you can do nothing about. On the yard, IF it doesn't water out, i will get around 8 tons off four acres and the hayland is an entirely different animal - different soil, never broke so far different grasses, and that can range from 70 bales averaging 1600 pounds to as high as 130 and it all depends on the river and flooding. No certainties there.
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We had a neighbor cut and bale ours, we kept all the hay for ourselves. Unless it got rained on or something, then he round baled it and took it to his house and paid me 25 a bale. We paid him $2 per square to bale.
You could find out what local custom rates are for cutting, raking and baling hay by visiting with your county extension professional. That should give you some idea of what it might cost to hire the work done. No matter what it cost it would be cheaper than owning the equipment and trying to do it yourself on that sort of acreage.
We board a lot of horses and do some farming besides. As such we get approached fairly regularly about 'share' agreements on relatively small acreages. Frankly for small acreages it's not worth the hassle or the wear and tear on the equipment for me to drive any distance, do all the work and receive a portion of the hay back for my time and effort. If the acreage is higher (100 plus) or the property literally abuts mine (we do this for one neighbour with an open 40 acre field with whom we share a gate) then it may become worthwhile.
We have a neighbor who does ours for us. First cutting last year we paid $1.75 per small bale to have it baled for our horses. That was current custom rate for our area. Second and third cuttings, he round baled everything since we had already put away enough for ourselves, and he paid us the difference between what it cost to bale and what market price was for round bales at the time.
We all walked away happy and we had enough income from hay to pay the fuel bill for the house for the year. My husband and I also decided we did not want to sell hay off the farm- too much headache since we both work away and have many other commitments with the other farm animals. Our neighbor runs 350 head of cattle and goes through 1 round bale per day in his TMR so it worked out that we all got what we needed.
Thanks all. We have a local farmer who has cut the hay for years. We bought the property from one of his relatives a few years ago. We had him fertilize the past 2 years - it hadn't been done in all the years he had cut the hay. He said last year was the best hay and highest yield he has ever had. We were just happy to have someone taking care of the haying so we didn't take a share even though he kept offering. Now that we are moving to the property and will need hay for our ponies we need to know what kind of agreement is normal/fair. We certainly don't want to insult him by asking for something silly out of ignorance.
I think the advice to talk to County Extension is good.
In our case, the farmer bales all the hay and puts what I need up in my barn. He charges me $4.00/bale for it to be put up in my mow, and gives me a $1500 credit on the total hay bill for the use of the rest of our farm (almost 200 acres, though not all is usable). I can never remember how many bales I get, but I have 10 - 11 horses here and the mow is full. The farmer keeps the rest of the hay to sell. He also plants corn on some of our fields.