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Hay or row crops

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2012-10-01          185069


Looking for some thoughts here on moving to hay or remaining with row crops. Last week learn have good friend who is only about three miles from me that is now rasing hay and has the equipment needed. I have NO hay equipment.

Have about 40 acres to use and might could pick up another 25 near him if wanted. About 15 acres of our land was suppose to be in hay for another farmer for a few years and he walked away from it not taking care of weeds. He said cost to treat the weed grasses was the problem. He is a big hay farmer in our area with a field that joins this field which is a clean as it can be.

I have done my best to compare the risk and cost between hay (which would be coastal bermuda here)and soybeans. Seems hay is more stable price wise but not a ready market as grain. Also seems input for fertlizer (nitrogen) is high for hay, maybe more than corn.

Grain harvest also depends on hiring it combined and so far no issue there. thanks

Oh per the best numbers I find from our state 8,000 pounds of hay per acre per year and about 25 bushels of soybeans with it ranging in our county from 20 to 30 bushels. We don't have lots of top soil like Hardwood does.

Looking for thoughts and experience.

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Hay or row crops

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Art White
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 6877 Waterville New York
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2012-10-03          185097



Hard to justify switching for the costs! I know it dries easier then here in Ny so you might not need all the equipment we need to make good hay here. Depending on baler the latest thing we are selling here is big square and is also normally hired out. Price per bale is less per ton but the amount of handling as well as time is far less. ....

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Hay or row crops

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2012-10-03          185101


Thanks Art. Only equipment I know we use is of course mower, tedder, rake and baler. Some wrap the bales and most don't. Not the big square baler but the machine that takes I think 21 small square bales and packages them in a poly wrapped package are certainly neat.

Horse hay here is still popular and the most money. That is where the unit above comes in and some others use other machines to handle their horse square bales.

Oh forgot and loader. ....

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Hay or row crops

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2012-10-04          185107


Ken;

In a normal spring here the first cutting usually gets wet, not this year tho. That takes the value out of the first cutting, The second and third,sometimes a fourth cuttings are easier to get baled before they get wet.
We have a couple of regular scheduled hay auctions here in NE Iowa, I haven't been to one this summer but I was told that good dairy hay got pretty high. The only connection I can make between good hay and copper is that when it get's high priced the thieves move in. There have been reports of hay theft, I don't know any details other than reports that it is happening, some locally I guess.

RFrank. ....

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Hay or row crops

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2012-10-05          185113


I have come to the decision if I move to hay it will be slowly. Taking a few acres a year to switch and not do a whole hog change.

Your feed back help a good bit.

as to theives, was told recently guess the EPA but who ever regulates chemicals on farms is now NOT wanting signs up telling chemicals are stored here. They realized those who are teriost may find it easy to find chemicals if so marked. WOW. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2012-10-05          185114



Ken;

I don't kinow what your mix of hay variteys is going to be, like here we usually went with maybe 50 -60 % alfalfa and the rest would be orchard grass, brome and maybe a dash of timothy.
Alfalfa does really good for a couple years then begins to die off from disease so it was a good plan to rotate to any non legume crop for a year then go back to the hay mix to let the diseases die off. Soybeans aren't a good choice, they are a legume too, corn is the best here, then back to alfalfa.

Frank. ....

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Hay or row crops

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2012-10-09          185139


Thanks Frank,

My understanding alfalfa does not do well here for an insect I think that will can be in our tempature here that will kill a horse. No idea on other animals but have been told that by nephew who has horses and I think one hay farmer. Am certain my nephew has told me that and he has hauled alfalfa two states away from cooler weather for that reason. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2012-10-10          185145


Ken;

I won't attempt to name the exact things they are targeting, whether it be insects or disease, or perhaps both but we see lots of alfalfa being sprayed during the growing season here.
Almost all hay crops here are planted with a cover crop, oats are the main one, very little direct seeding, I've saw that done but a lot of managment is called for. Weeds are the big culprit of dierect seeding, oats tend to choke them out till the legumes get started. I haven't kept up enough to know if they have developed a roundup ready alfala, that would help a lot for direct seeding.

Frank. ....

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