Saturday, August 2, 2014

Final on 2014 hay

picking up the last straggler bales
2014 hay totals; baled 1472 bales at 80lbs each.    Roughly 59 tons of hay.  Cost to produce was:

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.


George said...

Thanks for those input numbers !!!

We stop cutting our AL/OR hay fields in August, and won't take last cut until the middle of October here (PA/MD). The period we give them off is enough to store reserves in the roots etc.

grasspunk said...

If my arithmetic isn't too rusty that makes retail hay $500 per ton in your area. Is that some mega-premium for the small bales? Seems way expensive, but I've never bought small bales.

My herd is grazing what could have been the third cutting of alfalfa, but we're in a hotter climate.

George said...

We're about 200-285/Ton here in PA/MD for good hay. You can get some real junk for 150.

Jeff said...

E. Washington alfalfa hay does go for $18-20 bale around here, but those are usually 125 lb bales or so. My old landlord bought them and I know how heavy they are! A guy near you is selling E. Washington alfalfa for $330/ton delivered in 125 lb bales. You can get cheaper if you want to buy round or big squares.