This may be a dumb idea, but I have 4 acres of pasture ground that I won't be using this year and I'm wondering about a crop share or custom hay contract? Due to the severe drought last summer, hay prices are through the roof and the people I'm talking to don't think they are coming all the way back down this year.
I estimate I will need approx. 270 square bales of grass hay put away. 1 acre of this property is coming out of alfalfa and is going to be reseeded this spring, so I have no idea if there will be anything to cut there or not...kind of depends on the weather I imagine?? I'm not sure how many small bales I can expect from the average acre either. The land is good farm land. There is one lower lying area that could be an issue with a lot of rain (last year it was the only green part of the farm).
I know that 2.5 acres of the property (one acre of which is all that will be available going forward for grass hay) has been cut by a farmer nearby for his own use in the past when it was in alfalfa (which was sprayed/killed last fall). I'm just wondering, what I could reasonably expect this amount of land to produce and if it would be worth it to anyone to crop-share such a small amount? What is normal on hay--50/50? Or maybe I should try to have it custom cut for myself or just rent it all out to someone else like the last owner? It just seems a waste to mow it. This is expensive crop land, albeit a teeny-tiny amount. Maybe I should fatten up some sheep. I have no idea what the going rates are on these things?? I'm in SD by MN, IA, SD borders.
I thought I would get some feedback before approaching anyone locally. What do you do with your extra pasture? Just mow?
Last edited by TrotTrotPumpkn; Mar. 15, 2013 at 10:36 AM.
Here's the current custom rate survey for Iowa, which probably will be pretty consistent with SD. The yield is really really dependent on your specific field conditions, so your best bet is to ask the county extension agent for advice. In terms of finding someone to do it, I'd start by finding out who is haying the fields around you. Unless they're already working in that immediate area, 4 acres is prob not worth the cost/time to bring the haying equipment over.
If your field is already fenced and watered for sheep or hogs, then that seems to me the more likely income-earning scenario.