Sunday, January 30, 2011

Haying equipment

I use 10 to 15 tons of hay every year for my operation; we bed pigs with it, feed sheep and cows, and use it for temporary shelters if we need to deal with a pig that farrowed in a bad place.  It's useful to have a stack of it, and it's cheapest in June/July when it's made.   We pick up up out of the field for the best price, but that means we have to be ready to get it under cover as quick as we can.

 Mark, one of the readers of my blog, spotted this and sent me an email.  This particular gadget attaches to the side of the hay wagon, and has a ground-driven chain that lifts the bale up.  That that means is that you'll have two guys on the hay wagon stacking, with the driver of the truck guiding the bales up to them.  Hoping that means less labor costs -- I've been doing it with a driver, 2 on the ground and 2 on the wagon to stack the hay.  

A note on hay costs:  the least expensive way to buy hay around here is huge bales.  Either 800lb round bales, or huge square bales - 4x4x5, for instance.  Purchased in huge bale form, you pay $120-150 a ton.  If you buy the same sort of hay in small square bales, it's $250-300 a ton.    I have a tractor capable of handling the big bales, but I prefer to use the smaller ones for bedding purposes.  For feeding cattle, the big bales are the way to go.   Picking the hay out of the field gets me a price of  $150/ton, inclusive hired help, stacked in my barn.  Hoping that this gadget will allow me to reduce my cost-per-bale for field purchases. 
The second gadget that they had for sale that I picked up was a hay elevator.  This is a 20' long one, with an electric motor.  Both of these items will take some tlc to get them field-ready, but I'm looking forward to not lifting 14 tons of hay over my head. 


Robin said...

Hmm well I knew about hay elevators but I had never heard about one that attaches to the side of the wagon. That is very cool and sure would have been handy when I was a kid doing hay in the field. We want to pick some hay up this summer also as buying it from the farm store is ridiculously spendy.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

You'll like that loader - ours is great, we do it with 2 people, one driving and one stacking. Paid for itself in one year.

Mike said...

I have a question for you. When you buy the small bales, 100 pounds or so? how much do they cost if you were to buy them by the ton. We bought some bales lately and the lady told me that they were something like 12.50 bale when she bought them and she sold them to us for 3 bucks. Seemed weird to me, but it was cheap!

David said...

Having the right equipment like this will pay for itself pretty quickly. But being as old and worn-out as it looks from the photos, it may take some additional investment to get it running well. Good luck with it!