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Old 08-23-2013, 11:27 PM
 
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We are city slickers who moved to the country to start a small vegetable farm on just a few acres of land. We went for this property because it was selling for the value of the house and 15 acres of land, so we got the remaining 100 acres for "free" at an inherent value of $1000 per acre (still trying to figure out the catch here). We've got someone to cut and bale the hay for a few dollars a bale but that's just peanuts. Is there any way we could rent the land to a more profitable use?
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Old 08-23-2013, 11:50 PM
 
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Is there a hay operation close by? Go talk to them about leasing the land for hay production. I used to do secretarial work for a ranch that leased land in multiple spots for hay production. They also leased grazing land in dozens of areas.
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Old 08-24-2013, 11:38 AM
 
Location: Hot Springs
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A more profitable use would be to fence all or part of it in and rent it out to people who need space to graze their horses. The fact that it is hay land makes me suspect that it would not be very good crop land.

uh
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Old 08-24-2013, 11:40 AM
 
Location: Lethbridge, AB
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I'd investigate why it's hay land and not cultivated, at the moment. Could be that you're sitting on saline or alkaline soils. As a further bit of investigating, how much hay is on that field?

If salinity or alkalinity are not issues, rent on cultivatable land in your part of the world can run anywhere from about $30-$80/acre, depending on topsoil quality and rainfall.

If it is saline or alkaline, there's not much you can do with it. Even hay coming off that isn't going to be great, as a lot of desirable feed spp. aren't tolerant of those conditions. In this scenario, it's pretty much take what you can get.
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Old 08-24-2013, 12:41 PM
 
Location: CasaMo
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Check around a get some bids from different people. I have someone cut, rake and bale my place I and this year got $20 per bale.
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Old 08-24-2013, 12:46 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,853 posts, read 30,794,271 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctic_gardener View Post
We are city slickers who moved to the country to start a small vegetable farm on just a few acres of land. We went for this property because it was selling for the value of the house and 15 acres of land, so we got the remaining 100 acres for "free" at an inherent value of $1000 per acre (still trying to figure out the catch here). We've got someone to cut and bale the hay for a few dollars a bale but that's just peanuts. Is there any way we could rent the land to a more profitable use?
Let some farmer graze his cattle on it. Check around at the feed store to see what the going rate is for leasing grazing land, but you can bet it is a handsome sum.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 08-24-2013, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
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is it really hay or just long grass? ( some people don't know the difference).

There's also a difference between a pasture and a fenced in field.

Since it was so cheap, I'd 1st check to see if the hay is contaminated with something. You don't want to kill someone's horse, or contaminate a dairy farmer's milk.

If everything checks out, sell it.
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Old 08-24-2013, 08:03 PM
 
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What type of hay is it? Grass, a native blend, or alfalfa, timothy, or?

If you don't know, then bring in a horticulturist, agronomist, or a neighbor who does haying and find out.

If it's higher quality the a simple grass hay, you may want to get the hay "tested" for the feed value (RFV) and protein %. Depending upon what you have, the stuff may be worth some serious dollars. In my area of the USA, equine quality small bales are bringing $10/bale in 1-ton quantities. More in single bales sold at the feed stores. Dairy quality hay is worth close to that per ton, too. If it's not good stuff, then you're still looking at selling it to the cattle market.

For the future, you may want to get your soil tested so you'll know what can be effectively grown on the 120 acres. If it's a productive parcel, then you might consider leasing it to somebody who will farm it for hay or do the hay production on a "shares" basis. As well, you could consider raising the hay yourself and contracting for the harvesting, baling, and retrieval/stacking, then selling the hay into your local marketplace. Consider this: if you got a minimal crop of 2 tons/acre, you're looking at 240 tons of hay to sell ... what's it worth in your local market? Even if it's only $5-6-7 ton, that adds up quickly. Another way to get to a saleable product would be to sell the hay in the field; we have neighbors who do that and get $150/ton for average hay. All they do is own the land, raise the crop, and when it's ready for harvest, collect the check when the hay crop is taken off the field and weighed.

Of course, if the field isn't raising quality hay at this point, then you need to bring in an expert who can advise you what can be done to improve your production. Try your local county extension office for advice, or a local feed/seed dealer, or a local hay farmer for advice.

Last edited by sunsprit; 08-24-2013 at 08:13 PM..
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Old 08-24-2013, 09:52 PM
 
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Call the local extension service and have them come visit. While all the above posts are great, nothing like having an expert give opinions based on actual inspection of the property.
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Old 08-24-2013, 11:42 PM
 
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Thank you for all the answers. Much appreciated. I haven't done a soil test yet, but I am surrounded by canola, pea and lentil fields, so I think salinity or pH shouldn't be too big of an issue (unless I ended up getting the short end of the stick!).

The hay is a mix of brome and alfalfa, plus a fair bit of weeds like Canada thistle.
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