“It is darn near impossible to find a contract baler to bale my hay!” Yep! It’s a story that’s being relayed to us all too often by those calling into the customer service department here at Tractor Tools Direct. Our Chief Operating Officer, Jason, recently came across a news story sharing this same sentiment. We thought we should address and further discuss it here in our blog.
The news story, out of Star, Idaho, (see link here) tells of a small-farm couple who have had to resort to mowing down and abandoning their hay pastures and, instead, are buying feed for their horses. They are finding that the local farmers upon whom they have relied to bale their fields in the past, are no longer interested. Some reasons the article gave for this loss of interest are:
- the advancing age of the contract balers in their area
- the risk of damage to these contractors’ equipment
- the cost of travel to and from these smaller farms
- the lack of younger people with the ability or know-how to do the work
This is exactly where we at Tractor Tools Direct come in. Our specialty is bringing haying independence to small-farm operations–making them more self-sufficient and less reliant on others for the hay needed to feed their animals. Our lines of commercial-duty, high-quality implements for compact tractors make hay production possible on small-acreage farms. The following are just a few reasons why so many of our customers have jumped to making their own hay:
Livestock owners who purchase hay from others can’t control the quality of the hay available. When you make your own hay, you always know its quality and can monitor and adjust it as necessary. You can also control the type of bale you produce be that square bales or round bales.
Hay prices vary by season depending upon the supply and demand of the market. Weather is probably the most notable driving force of this market. Baling your own hay takes some of the unknown out of the hay budget.
Many small-farm operators are dependent upon contract balers for hay baling, and there can be times when the contractor does not make it the priority it needs to be. Your small fields may be last in line resulting in hay that is baled past its nutritional peak.
Small-farm operators know the importance of bringing every available acre into production. Using implements specifically designed for compact tractors allows you to bale small, irregularly shaped paddocks around buildings, fences, and ponds that can’t be reached with standard equipment.
Many small-farm operators pride themselves on their self-sufficiency. Baling your own hay protects you from the mercy of hay suppliers and contract hay balers.
Selling hay on the side can contribute a net gain to a small-acreage farmer’s hay budget. If you are baling for your own livestock anyway, or able to contract bale for others, there is always a market for good-quality hay. Selling a little on the side or baling hay for others can help offset your own costs of hay production.
Specialized Hay Mixture
Depending upon the livestock being raised, a farmer may need a specialized mix of legumes and/or grasses to keep his or her animals in top condition. If you bale your own hay, you can control the content and thus the nutritional value of the bales produced.
Yes, baling hay is work, but it also provides a lot of self-satisfaction. There is something to be said about hard work and being able to provide for your livestock yourself. Haying independence brings this satisfaction.
Maybe it’s time for you to make the jump to baling your own hay too! For help in doing so, please visit our website here or give us a call at 260-BALE-HAY today. And if you want to start climbing the hay making learning curve now before the start of the 2024 hay season, be sure to check out the Tractor Tools Direct exclusive ”Haying Independence: The Ultimate Guide to Small-Farm Hay Production with Your Compact Tractor” at this link. Written by TTD content writer and co-owner, Marti Livengood Goodwin, this guide will provide you with the information you need to select the right equipment, follow the baling process, and provide hay for your small farm yourself!