|picking up the last straggler bales|
Orchard grass seed: 1700lbs @ $2/lb, $3400
Alfalfa seed, 900lbs @$4/lb, $3600
7 days of tractor tillage, figure $350/day, $2400
1 pass plow
4 passes disk
1 pass planter
Baling twine $200
+ 4 man days labor to get it into the barn @150/day = $600
Figure baler has a life of 10 years. Baler cost $25k, so $2,500 baler cost
Figure mower has a life of 6 years, mower cost $12k, so $2,000 mower cost
6 tractor-days for harvest @350/day, $2100
Roughly $11.50/bale for something that retails in this area for $20. That works out to be $287/ton
This year the costs are high because I have only gotten one cutting from this march-planted field. The costs next year will go down, I won't have the seed costs, or the tillage costs. Figuring roughly the same harvest costs, and the same quantity harvested, my cost-per-bale should decrease to something under $4 a bale if I get a single cutting, and much less if I get two or three.
I may get another cutting this year. I want the alfalfa to go into winter with good energy reserves, so need to give it at least 6 weeks between the time of last cutting and the first frost. So I'll watch the calendar and growth and take another cutting if I can.