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paying to stack hay?

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  • paying to stack hay?

    New horse property owner, and have located a great hay guy who delivers. Because of my situation (new homeowner, new to the state, SO living 1000 miles away until this summer), I convinced him to stack my hay for me as well for $0.50/bale more, two times thus far. I order in ~150 bale increments that last me several months with three horses. Hay guy has indicated that he doesn't want to stack for me any more (can't blame him).

    I teach 20-somethings at a university and have access to these farm kids or farm-kid-SO's/friends of the students. How much would you pay one or two of them to help me stack 150 bales? I can't imagine it wouldn't be more than an hour of work...

    On a related note, would it be something I can do myself in a day? I'm a little nervous about it; I routinely chuck around 10-20 bales in a weekend with no problem, but 150 seems a little much. I'm young and in shape, but not particularly strong in the arms.

    Also, how does that delivery usually work, then? Would the hay guy chuck it off his flatbed while we stack it? or would we be expected to chuck it off the flatbed AND stack it? (I realize I should ask him directly, but want to find out the norm first)

  • #2
    We pay hay help $10 an hour, and it usually works best in our barn, to have two of them. I can throw down, and they are on the stack getting bales and moving them to make a neat stack. They are a bit slower, having to cover more ground on bales that may shift under them, so it works out well. I do have elevator, so if I am at the bottom of the truck, I can use elevator to get hay UP to them for stacking in the rafters.

    If they don't know HOW to stack, you may have more time involved, while you correct directions they are laying bales, make them redo to tighten the stack, as they gain experience.

    Even at that price, $10 an hour, it would probably be cheaper with the kids, than paying the hay man $75 for the whole load. You could also raise the pay scale, if needed to tempt in help, and still come off cheaper than the $75. Good help is hard to find, just having them show up is GREAT! You doing on-the-job training is just going to slow you a little, but you still end up with a good stack.

    Have extra gloves on hand for your help, they NEVER remember to bring them. Also a quantity of water bottles or Gatorade for the dust. Advise them to wear long sleeves and long-legged pants. Real farm kids may be wearing any thing! I like the boys best, they can THROW bales better than the girls. Our barn often needs bales thrown. Girls can be good workers, just are a bit slower, each is different. Do ADMIRE the strenth they show in moving bales, so they feel complimented and not just used.

    Husband suggests having one hot teen-age girl who never sits down, so the guys will work harder to show they are tougher than she is! Daughter was a big help that way!! She did work pretty hard and has done hay since a toddler, but the guys worked much harder to stay ahead of her! Got the hay stacked in the barn, in record time!!


    • #3
      Everything goodhors said.
      My hayguy pays his helpers $10/hr whether they're cutting, baling or stacking for him.
      I just picked up 50 bales from him, and with a neighbor kid's help we had my truck loaded, unloaded and stacked in under an hour.
      I tossed bales up, he stacked them in the truck, then I tossed bales down and he stacked them in my barn.

      LOL on her husband's suggestion of the Hot Chick as incentive.
      I have had to exit the barn so newbie helper would stop trying to impress (OldLady) me and listen to the experienced kid who was trying to tell him how to stack.
      I ended up with 150 bales stacked so half-assed that I had to watch my step whenever I climbed to toss a bale down or chance stepping into a leg-snapping hole in the stack.
      Stacking may seem mindless, but unless it is done correctly it can be a PITA for anyone who has to deal with badly-stacked bales.
      *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
      Steppin' Out 1988-2004
      Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
      Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


      • #4
        I pay college kids to help us when we fill the barn. I pay them $20 per hour, feed them all they can eat when we are finished, and supply them with all the drinks and popsicles they need.

        That being said, we put away 1500 + bales in a 4-5 hour period once a year. We use an elevator and run multiple wagons to keep things moving and make it as easy on everyone as possible. My husband and I also set the example as we work just as hard as the kids. We don't just watch. We have found if we pay and treat them well they are willing to come back.
        "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White


        • #5
          I do a wagon load (200ish, thrown up into the mow, carried the length of the barn, and then stacked) by myself occasionally, and it takes a couple of hours. We can do it in an hour or so if DH is home to help. The lower rows aren't bad at all. What will kick your butt is having to repeatedly heave bales above shoulder-height. That's an area where a man's upper body strength is extremely helpful.

          If you don't know how to stack hay properly, including building steps as you're stacking to access the upper rows and keeping it tight enough to provide stable footing, make sure you hire someone who does and have him or her teach you. You might also want to pay more hourly for experienced help--it'll come out the same since they're going to be faster and more efficient.

          In addition to the recommendation to have spare gloves, you might also want to keep some of those paper dust masks on hand.


          • #6
            Originally posted by morganpony86 View Post
            On a related note, would it be something I can do myself in a day? I'm a little nervous about it; I routinely chuck around 10-20 bales in a weekend with no problem, but 150 seems a little much. I'm young and in shape, but not particularly strong in the arms.
            If you have a day to do it, sure you could do it yourself. Work at it until you're tired, go cool off a bit and rest, come back. You'd have to ask him how how he'd expect it to get off his trailer if you're going to do it yourself.
            It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Mosey_2003 View Post
              If you have a day to do it, sure you could do it yourself. Work at it until you're tired, go cool off a bit and rest, come back. You'd have to ask him how how he'd expect it to get off his trailer if you're going to do it yourself.
              I agree as long it does not involve lots of high and tight stacking.
              I can do 150 bales myself (and I am not young and in shape) if I have enough floor space I am not going higher than four or five high. I start losing the battle when the stack gets way over my head and I am trying to get the top bales into small spots.


              • #8
                That's not a lot of hay to stack solo. Myself and another small girl stacked 320 65lb bales in about 2.5 hours a few weekends ago. We had it delivered to right beside where we wanted it and restacked it. If you had to move small loads of hay to where you were stacking that would take longer obviously. Making a long/low stack is key as the first two rows go super fast. We stacked 6 high with no elevator, just hay steps.

                I think I could stack 160 bales solo in about 2.5 hours.


                • #9
                  yes must be about 50/60 pound bales, fifty cents a bale stacked is really over paying the guy

                  Try it with these 110 to 130 pound things we are getting


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by clanter View Post
                    yes must be about 50/60 pound bales, fifty cents a bale stacked is really over paying the guy

                    Try it with these 110 to 130 pound things we are getting
                    I would be dead putting up those bales!

                    I thought I had been killed the year we bought acid-treated hay, which were little, but WEIGHED about 80 pounds each. Just could not even throw them. SO GLAD for the elevators that year!! Of course not a single one of the acid-treated bales spoiled, stayed a lovely, lush green from first to last bale we used. Horses didn't need as much fed, since all the nutrition was retained. Great stuff, just showed us what babies we are, being used to the 50-60 pound, untreated bales.


                    • #11
                      Oh those were the days

                      I used to be the hot chick.

                      Now I'm the old lady.

                      You could do 150 solo if you had a day to do it, as long as the hay isn't someplace it will get wet, or in your way, you'll be ok.

                      I'd just give the local teenagers some spending money if it was me.

                      Just had a surgery on each shoulder, I won't be flinging any bales this summer.


                      • #12
                        I could not stack 150 regular-sized bales by myself, even with breaks. I am not very strong and it would kill my back. And if they needed to go up more than one or two rows, there is no way I could do it alone.

                        My hay guy delivers and stacks for $.50 per bale more than if I picked it up. He'll bring about 200 bales and a helper. I will often throw them off the truck and the two guys can get them stacked in 20 minutes or so. Worth EVERY penny in my opinion -- I get the hay here, stacked and they are gone in less than an hour, and I'm not laid up on a couch for 3 days.

                        If you have access to help, I'd probably try to pay $10/hour; $20 is amazingly high...I'd want some serious skilled labor for that price; not throwing hay unless it involved elevators and specialty equipment (as was described). For basic hay stacking, $10/$12 would probably do it.


                        • #13
                          If my hay guy delivered, unloaded, stacked the hay, heck yeah I would go an extra fifty cents a bale. Heck I'd go an extra dollar, bake him a plate of cookies and kiss his bare bottom as well. But thats just me. Young bucks, teenagers, college students, and males under 30 years of age have been useless as hay workers for us. Thats why we just pick it up from the hay guys field, and put it up ourselves.
                          Just like our eyes, our hearts have a way of adjusting to the dark.--Adam Stanley


                          • #14
                            I would offer to pay the guy more than .50. The kids on the other hand, if you decide to use them, I would give .50.
                            I LOVE my Chickens!


                            • #15
                              while $20/hour seems like a high rate, think about it this way-- would you really get in your car and schedule your day around a 1.5 hour job, for a total payday of $15? For most kids, that's just not worth it. Maybe say you'll pay $25 total, or 10/hour, whichever is greater.

                              Depends on the time of year, but usually my hay guy will want his hay rack back right away, so he throws down to us and my husband and I stack. He doesbn't charge anything,, I think he appreciates that we are waiting in the shed with gloves on as he pulls in, and we haul ass to get it unloaded. 150 bales would take about 30 min. At the end of the season my farmer wasn't in dire need of his rack, and my husband was out of town, so he dropped the rack in our shed for me to work on more slowly. I'm a fairly little person and was able to throw down and then re-stack 100 bales in about 90 minutes, stacked 4 high. They were not very heavy-- about 45 pounds. Stacking much higher does increase the fatigue factor by a LOT because you're having to climb up/down the hay "stairs". So it's really do-able. Just be smart about your lifting form, take breaks when you start feeling clumsy, etc. i.e. don't do what I did, which was to ignore the signs of heat exhaustion-- getting cranky, clumsy, a little dizzy-- while throwing bales down from the hay rack. I was at the very top of the loaded hayrack, picked up a bale to throw, except my brain forgot to tell my hands to let go of the bale as I threw it. I literally threw myself off the top of the hay rack, onto concrete. Luckily I landed on the bale, no harm done. My husband said it was the strangest thing he'd ever seen


                              • #16
                                It would take me about two hours with a break in the middle to stack 150 bales. Its doable and great exercise. I call it the farm weight lifting workout. In the summer time that day seems to come when its 95 degrees.
                                A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.


                                • #17
                                  Call it Crossfit and the students will pay you.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Wow, very helpful information! Thank you all!

                                    I would not think to go as low as $10/hr! But perhaps I can find some neighbor kids who can just walk down the road to help... I'll ask my neighbors. There is a teenage girl across the street... not sure if she's the "hay stacking" type though.

                                    So, if I were to do it myself, would it be reasonable to ask the hay guy to just come and drop the hay by my barn and I would stack it? Is that how it would work?

                                    The bales would be stacked on ground level, and the way I would stack them they wouldn't go more than 4 bales high, so judging by everyone's responses (and my own thoughts) I think I'd be super sore, but I could do it. I'm actually not a big fan of how the hay guy stacked it the last time, but $0.50/bale was worth it at the time. Now that I'm settled and have a little bit more time, I'd like to do it myself.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by clanter View Post
                                      yes must be about 50/60 pound bales, fifty cents a bale stacked is really over paying the guy
                                      If it was over paying I would be guessing the guy would still be doing it, or paying one of his workers to do it.

                                      So, if I were to do it myself, would it be reasonable to ask the hay guy to just come and drop the hay by my barn and I would stack it? Is that how it would work?
                                      Why not call your hay guy and ask him. Does he bring the hay on his truck or on a hay wagon?


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by morganpony86 View Post
                                        Wow, very helpful information! Thank you all!
                                        So, if I were to do it myself, would it be reasonable to ask the hay guy to just come and drop the hay by my barn and I would stack it? Is that how it would work?
                                        Just depends on how quickly he needs the rack back, and also how close he is to you / if he's willing to make 2 trips. The normal routine for them is to pull in, get unloaded, and pull away. But, just ask, you never know. He's not going to be offended that you're exploring options.
                                        Do you have a pickup, or a car that can pull a small utility trailer? If managing hay deliveries looks like it will be difficult on an ongoing basis, might be worth it to get the equip you need to just go pickup 20 bales at a time.