My previous post was about a disappointing hay harvest. Well, the second cutting exceeded my expectations. I got 39 bales of hay off of ~15 acres. This same area only produced 13 bales the first cutting. What made the difference? Well, I think the fertilizer had finally kicked in. We had a good 2″ of rain that, when combined with the fertilizer had a major impact. However, I think the bigger affect came from the change in equipment. For the first cutting, Kevin Sells (hay man) used a ground drive rake. Basically the wheels turn as they contact the ground. The second cutting he switched to a PTO driven rake. Kevin thinks that because my pasture has so many bumps and humps (pocket gophers) that the ground drive rake was not doing as good of a job.
The bottom line is that I paid to have him rake my pasture with the wrong equipment. He wouldn’t acknowledge that he owed me a credit, so let this be a lesson.
All in all, I put down $2,065 in fertilizer over the entire property (so figure half for the hay) and paid $700 to cut 15 bales, purchased another 9 for $405 and paid $1,092 to cut 39 bales. All in I’m at $51/bale (assuming half of the fertilizer for the cut acres). Next year I figure that should drop to about $45/bale because of the lessons learned (ground drive rake and better timing on fertilizer application & cutting schedule). Either way, this is cheaper than the $60-$90 people are asking.
Stay tuned to find out.