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Canuck_2
Senior Contributor

The new cash crop

In an earlier thread I mentioned that the dairy farmer next door had approached me about renting some of my cash crop ground so he could grow alfalfa on it.

My thoughts were they were having trouble sourcing enough hay since they were always buying hay in the past.

This article talks of some of the problems hay buyers are having.

http://www.simcoereformer.ca/2013/02/19/hay-shortages-ongoing-headache-for-livestock-producers

 

Is it just temporary or are more of the endusers of hay going to have to grow it themselves?

Will it pull much land out of corn, beans and wheat?

 

Have not agreed exactly with neighbour but he is probably going to plant alfalfa in my wheat stubble this summer. At least 50% of my wheat stuble.

He is also probably coming to the point of needing more land to spread manure which may be a factor as he wants to spread manure on my field(s) too.

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7 Replies
Hobbyfarmer
Honored Advisor

Re: The new cash crop

You make it sound like I wish he were my neighbor.

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farmer46
Senior Contributor

Re: The new cash crop

I have rasied hay over 40 years.  Things to ponder.  How much P and K will be removed with a 5 ton crop?  Will he replace with manure? Alfalfa is a multiple year crop.  You will receive a nice N credit from the legume, plus you will break certain weed cycles.  If you raise the crop, remember, Hay is the worse crop to have too much of.  Because a good growing year means everyone else has too much. Also, maybe the worse thing that could:  collecting the money owed for hay.

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noreaster
Frequent Contributor

Agree with farmer46

The only way Hay would ever get sold off my farm is if there was a scheduled fertility program which included manure.  I had a buddy rent hay ground out 10 years ago for 5 year lease without a fertility maitanance progam in place.....  He attests to being the single biggest mistake he ever made farming...

 

 

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244888
Contributor

Re: The new cash crop

Out here in the desert of NW KS I am big on letting my feed lot buddy run stocker steers on my grass for $.65/# of gain. I shoot for 200-250# of gain in 3-4mo. Grass stocking rate is approx  2A/600#steer. This year I am going to experiment around planting a field to Sudan and stocking it at 1A/steer. When I pull the cattle, I will let it re-grow and sell the hay. All depends on if this drought breaks. We're getting a pretty good blizzard right now.

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semndairyguy
Veteran Contributor

Re: The new cash crop

We rent some alfalfa ground from a neighbor. We pay "x" of rent, plus pay for the seed and seeding, PLUS fertilizer after 1st or 2nd crop, and he pays for fertilizer in the fall. We typically have the hay ground for three years then it is rotated to a different field on the farm. The year it is plowed out we apply manure in the fall or spring before it is plowed.

 

With current prices of alfalfa you can raise it considerably cheaper than you can buy it. especially with good dairy quality hay going for $300+/T.

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Nebrfarmr
Veteran Advisor

Re: The new cash crop

Manure is high in P & K, if applied properly, it will replenish what the hay takes off.  You will also have N added to the soil, by the Alfalfa, and as was stated before, your weed pressure will change.

 

The biggest problem we have had with hay, is selling any excess.   If this neighbor promises to take it all, you solved half your hay problems right there.

Also, collecting for hay, is hard to do.   I have heard horror stories, of people not getting paid, having the hay already fed, and with not a lot of recourse.   I won't sell hay to anyone, without a check, that day.   Weigh the truck, on the way over, we'll load it, then I'll follow you to the same scale (Co-Op charges $5), then you write me a check before you leave.

Had a neighbor, that did that, and he took the check right to the bank, and it bounced.   He called the sheriff, and reported the hay stolen, had the truck description, plate # and everything.   Turns out the guy had done it to numerous people before.   At least since they caught him before he got home, they got the hay back.

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semndairyguy
Veteran Contributor

Re: The new cash crop

I would be sure to draw up some sort of rental argeement and have both parties sign it. At least then, you have some recourse if they do not pay or put on fertilizer or manure or whatever. It will be writing what is expected of both parties, this works well for renting or selling standing hay.

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