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Old 06-15-2009, 06:40 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,158,208 times
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There was a pretty good discussion on another forum about small scale livestock feed and I thought I would bring it over here as this forum has more people situated across a broader spectrum of states.

As many of you know, I kind of cheat and use my family's dairy farm equipment (large) to get my feed in for my fledgling sheep farm. Its nice, but I would like to do more of it myself. I picked up a copy of Hobby Farms and noted some small hay equipment, but I was astonished at the prices. 8 grand for a round baler that makes a 2X2 foot bale. 18 grand for another model...it begs the question, how can something like that pencil out?

I would think that with prices like that, and with hoop barns being relatively inexpensive, a small farmer (such as myself) would be better off to revert back to putting up hay loose. It is better for the livestock, and it would seem investing in a barn big enough to hold enough loose hay to go through the winter would be cheaper then investing in expensive haying equipment?

I was thinking about getting a small scale flail chopper, but now am considering loose hay. It would seem even a mechanized loose hay operation would be more feasible fiscally speaking then a 8K or 18K baler!

Thoughts?
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Old 06-15-2009, 06:47 AM
 
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I grew up with making loose hay ( horses hitched to a hay rack pulling a hayloader)

A LOT of hard work just to put up what ( by today's standards) would be a small amount of hay.

Why not a small square baler?
Around here they can be bought for around $500.

No, with a small amount of cattle and small amount of hay to be put up--------there is no way one can justify spending big bucks for buying machinery.
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Sandhills
2,177 posts, read 3,209,099 times
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I agree, even with mechanized equipment putting up loose hay can be a lot of work. And in most cases it must be stored outside.

The older model small square balers in my area go for around $1000-$1500 at auctions, you may have to put some parts into them still to get the operating without problems again. But with the small squares, one guy can do a lot of the work alone.
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:07 AM
 
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Thanks guys...I have never put up loose hay so I was curious as if it might work. But if you guys are suggesting putting up square bales as an alternative then I KNOW it's not a good plan. (LOL) I have no interest in square bales though.

I guess its back to putting up corn or grass silage for the sheep.
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Old 06-18-2009, 05:18 PM
 
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wow, did that bring back the memories. we had a couple milk cows (early-mid l960's) and my dad grew hay along the ditch banks, maybe 2 acres or so all together. he would cut it and let it dry and then turn the windrows with a hay rake and when it was just right, out would come the hay wagon with the first set of rope and slat slings on the floor. my older brother would drive the tractor and by other brother and i would stomp down the hay a bit as my dad pitched it up one fork-full at a time. when the load was maybe 4 feet high, he would set down the second sling. couldn't load the second batch as high as we would fall off...ha-ha. i don't remember any of us falling off, but it was scary just the same.
back to the barn, back the wagon in, pull the ends of the rope sling together and hook it to a pulley and ropes going up to the pulley at the top of the barn, hook the tractor to another big rope and pull the ball of hay to the top of the barn. grab another rope and pull the whole lot on the track over to the hay mow on either side. then came the fun part...dad would push the hay and get it swinging back and forth, and pull the little rope to unlatch the sling and whoosh, another bunch of hay in the mow. then the second, bigger batch, and it was back to the field.
perhaps you could make haystacks on the ground and cover them with tarps if you wanted to give it a try. i have seen haystacks in Amish country, but not covered. if it's good enough to harvest, it's worth covering.
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Old 06-19-2009, 08:01 AM
 
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Last year I fed my sheep corn for half the winter by using more primal ways then the Amish even do!

Last year we had a hurricane and 2 gales back to back to back just before corn harvesting season. That left the fields really, really muddy and in the worst spots the chopper and trucks could not go...even being dragged with another tractor and chain. This left pockets of standing corn.

Well I hate waste and knew my sheep loved corn. So I went to these spots and felled the stalks with a chainsaw. I then threw them on a trailer pulled by my tractor and stored them under cover. Every night I would fire up my little home brush chipper (5 hp) and chop the stalks and cobs into ¼ inch chips. This I fed to the sheep and they loved it.

I had the sheep nutritionist figure out a good blend for me and ultimately it was 60% grass silage and 40% corn silage. Even the State of Maine livestock expert admitted my sheep looked excellent "Whatever you are doing, keep doing it."

I was hoping to get in a few acres of my own corn in this year, but I got hemmed up on other stuff. But I have 60 acres of corn here planted for the dairy farm, so this fall I will grab an acre of that to help reduce my feeding costs. By pushing winter grazing as far as I can, and by using corn I can probably reduce my feed costs by 50% and still be ideally feeding my sheep.

Hopefully over the next few years though I can figure out a good way to small scale harvest haylage to get my feed bill down to the absule minimum. ???
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Old 06-19-2009, 08:28 AM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,683,788 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post
There was a pretty good discussion on another forum about small scale livestock feed and I thought I would bring it over here as this forum has more people situated across a broader spectrum of states.

As many of you know, I kind of cheat and use my family's dairy farm equipment (large) to get my feed in for my fledgling sheep farm. Its nice, but I would like to do more of it myself. I picked up a copy of Hobby Farms and noted some small hay equipment, but I was astonished at the prices. 8 grand for a round baler that makes a 2X2 foot bale. 18 grand for another model...it begs the question, how can something like that pencil out?

I would think that with prices like that, and with hoop barns being relatively inexpensive, a small farmer (such as myself) would be better off to revert back to putting up hay loose. It is better for the livestock, and it would seem investing in a barn big enough to hold enough loose hay to go through the winter would be cheaper then investing in expensive haying equipment?

I was thinking about getting a small scale flail chopper, but now am considering loose hay. It would seem even a mechanized loose hay operation would be more feasible fiscally speaking then a 8K or 18K baler!

Thoughts?

---" I kind of cheat and use our family's dairy farm equipment"--

You once posted that your family rents your land w/o paying
You once posted that you pull a milking shift at the dairy w/o wages.

Using their equipment sure doesn't sound like--"cheating"-- to me.
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Old 06-19-2009, 04:28 PM
 
Location: Oklahoma(formerly SoCalif) Originally Mich,
13,387 posts, read 16,962,646 times
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From what I can remember, we let the field corn dry and then run it through a shredder/seperator and blew it into the silo. I remember that fresh corn chopped up into silage will not last the winter because it creates mildo and a sour smell. Will also had corn bins with(full) dried corn cobs we fed to the milking cows during the winter along with a small amount of grain topped with mollassos.
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Old 06-19-2009, 04:33 PM
 
Location: Oklahoma(formerly SoCalif) Originally Mich,
13,387 posts, read 16,962,646 times
Reputation: 4611
Quote:
Originally Posted by thebreadlady View Post
wow, did that bring back the memories. we had a couple milk cows (early-mid l960's) and my dad grew hay along the ditch banks, maybe 2 acres or so all together. he would cut it and let it dry and then turn the windrows with a hay rake and when it was just right, out would come the hay wagon with the first set of rope and slat slings on the floor. my older brother would drive the tractor and by other brother and i would stomp down the hay a bit as my dad pitched it up one fork-full at a time. when the load was maybe 4 feet high, he would set down the second sling. couldn't load the second batch as high as we would fall off...ha-ha. i don't remember any of us falling off, but it was scary just the same.
back to the barn, back the wagon in, pull the ends of the rope sling together and hook it to a pulley and ropes going up to the pulley at the top of the barn, hook the tractor to another big rope and pull the ball of hay to the top of the barn. grab another rope and pull the whole lot on the track over to the hay mow on either side. then came the fun part...dad would push the hay and get it swinging back and forth, and pull the little rope to unlatch the sling and whoosh, another bunch of hay in the mow. then the second, bigger batch, and it was back to the field.
perhaps you could make haystacks on the ground and cover them with tarps if you wanted to give it a try. i have seen haystacks in Amish country, but not covered. if it's good enough to harvest, it's worth covering.
We did just about the same thing............for along time as a kid I wondered what the Pulley, ropes and hook(block and tackle) was for that I seen in alot of other haybarns.
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Old 06-19-2009, 06:50 PM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,683,788 times
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mkfarnam------I remember cutting corn with the corn binder, shocking the corn, then a month later a shredding crew of the neighboring farms would haul the corn bundles up to the shredder.

The cob corn came out a conveyor into a box and the chopped .dry, husks, stalks and leaves would come out the blower blowing it onto a pile on the ground ( too dry for the silo)

We didn't have a silo, but even our neighbors who shredded the dry bundles to get the fodder and cob corn would still fill their silos with green corn bundles.


The corn shredder was a machine that many a --man--lost a hand cuz you had to feed the dundles into it by hand.

No farmer left kids around that machine.
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