Well as everyone is aware, there is not a lot of hay this year! Fortunately I will get a second cut, but still not many round bales, as we have to run so far to pick up enough material it beats up the stalks.
With the second cut, I will be able to drop my prices a bit. I will still be trying to break even though!
I would like to explain the facts of haying to all of those, people that are saying we are gouging them, or what about helping your neighbour! For me haying starts in early spring, first trying to get rid of gophers, so we don’t have badgers, digging holes that you can drop a wheel into, this if February. Next we are out harrowing the fields as soon as the frost , is out of the ground. Probably 25 hours of man fuel and machine. Then we roll the fields to get rid of rocks, have to rent the roller, another 25 hours man and machine, lets not forget fuel! This is done way before a blade is grown. Then we wait, some of us also spread fertilizer in early June, before the rains, we hope.
About a month before we think we will need our machinery, we are servicing, hopefully there is nothing big wrong and we have to get in a mechanic at 178/ hour
Then comes the cutting, fuel, man hours, wear and tear on machinery and lets not forget the machine itself, the cost of which can range up to 200,000 dollars. Now we cut, for me about a 80 hours, sitting in a machine, on edge, watching for obstacles, hoping you didn’t miss any rocks or anything, or the field you rent, somebody hasn’t dropped a fence post in the middle of the field, that you don’t know about and the hay as grown up around, yes that happens, there goes cutting for a while, more time and expense to fix. Once you get it down, you start to worry about the forecast, and will your hay get rained on! A lot of sleepless nights!
Now it is dry, everything else stops and everybody is into machinery to get the hay raked, then baled and picked up and under cover. Again fuel, time, machinery wear and tear, the machinery is worth about another 300,000. I look at over 100 man hours in 2 to 4 days, we start as soon as we can and stop when we have to, eating when we can.
Now add in the cost of the land, if you rent like most of us do. Now you tell me I am gouging you?
Yes I choose to do this, I take pride in the hay I produce, offer to exchange bales, because not every bale comes out perfect no matter how hard I try!
On top of that, I am still trying to collect from people that I have sold hay to last year.
So shame on anyone that thinks, I am gouging them! This is a business, we have to make a profit as well or we can’t do this, more and more hay land is being taken out of production for crops, I personally know a few farmers that will not sell hay to horse people, because they show up any time they feel like it, because they did not plan ahead and there horses have noting to eat, 2 days ago! I have even had to lock my gates to stop people from showing any time they feel like it with no call, driving up to my hay barn and helping themselves!
So yes, hay prices are high!