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80 acres is quite a bit if you never have done it and dont have any equipment. But not here to make judgment. So. New holland has always served me well. From disc mowers to balers. Side delivery rakes are very dependable. You will eventually want a bigger v rake for speed. So YOU decide which you will spend the money on. If I could only have 1 for all around it would be side delivery new holland rollabar. Small square balers (atleast my NH 273) dont like to follow v rakes in thick crop. They like smaller windrows. Yes I've done both ways. The best quality job is following bar rake. What's your dealer support? This is huge. I have a NH dealer close. I ran a 654 NH round Baler for 13k bales. No trouble other than normal items. Selling any hay? Consider net wrap. Customers want net in my area. Bottom line. If your hay is twine and the same price they will take net all winter until yours is all that's left. Seen it. Good net balers will push 10k on up. 3 point disc mower or discbine? Personally I wouldn't own a hay bine any more (had several) but they are cheap and if in good shape they get it done. I'd take a 3 point disc mower long before a haybine. 

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We ran three 9' NH haybines, usually in the same field with three men, for a long time. When we got the first discbine, '99 ish?, we sold one haybine. Then another. And after the third mower sat in the barn for about 10 years without ever being needed, I sold that too.  I  know where 2 of our three haybines went, locally, and they are still in use on small operations and if the guys lusted them for sale for what I charged them, they would still bring that money today. Because they work, and are cheap. 

Id never suggest a new guy buy a discbine right off.  Mowing is the easy part. You would need to learn to hold yourself back when cutting, until you had the rest of your operation figured out. Seen it more than once. Guy gets a new mower...WhoooHooo.....he can cut 20 acres so fast, then finds out it takes a Lot longer to get it dry and bale it. 

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5 hours ago, stronger800 said:

We ran three 9' NH haybines, usually in the same field with three men, for a long time. When we got the first discbine, '99 ish?, we sold one haybine. Then another. And after the third mower sat in the barn for about 10 years without ever being needed, I sold that too.  I  know where 2 of our three haybines went, locally, and they are still in use on small operations and if the guys lusted them for sale for what I charged them, they would still bring that money today. Because they work, and are cheap. 

Id never suggest a new guy buy a discbine right off.  Mowing is the easy part. You would need to learn to hold yourself back when cutting, until you had the rest of your operation figured out. Seen it more than once. Guy gets a new mower...WhoooHooo.....he can cut 20 acres so fast, then finds out it takes a Lot longer to get it dry and bale it. 

To add too this,haybine breaks down,"oh well ,you just have less to bale."Baler breaks down when you have a lot down then your in trouble.Put your money in a better baler.I pull two bar rakes,have 15 ft haybine,rather rake 2 singles and get them dry then one big double with a V rake and to try to get it dry.1st cutting in my area would be impossible to dry 2 heavy windrows.Also if you are round baling you need way to load and haul into barn.My area hay stored outside is about impossible to sell,mine goes in same or next day before more is mowed down.

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22 minutes ago, Jacka said:

To add too this,haybine breaks down,"oh well ,you just have less to bale."Baler breaks down when you have a lot down then your in trouble.Put your money in a better baler.I pull two bar rakes,have 15 ft haybine,rather rake 2 singles and get them dry then one big double with a V rake and to try to get it dry.1st cutting in my area would be impossible to dry 2 heavy windrows.Also if you are round baling you need way to load and haul into barn.My area hay stored outside is about impossible to sell,mine goes in same or next day before more is mowed down.

V rakes don't have to be opened up all the way to work. You can make a windrow as heavy or light as you want just depending on how closed or open it is. There's also a ratchet in the back where you can adjust how tight or loose you want the windrow to be. If you ratchet it open enough you can lay 2 single windrows side by side with a foot gap between them. I'm not a V rake salesman, just saying.

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21 minutes ago, 856 Custom said:

V rakes don't have to be opened up all the way to work. You can make a windrow as heavy or light as you want just depending on how closed or open it is. There's also a ratchet in the back where you can adjust how tight or loose you want the windrow to be. If you ratchet it open enough you can lay 2 single windrows side by side with a foot gap between them. I'm not a V rake salesman, just saying.

Yea I know I ran them with one leg up before too but there is always the temptation to rake doubles which prob happens more then it should.Thanks for pointing that out.

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I almost never rake a double. Unless it's the super odd day where it's dry, before I even rake  it. Here in NY, we cut once, ted 3-6x, and rake twice.  Singles, and the doubled an hour before or just ahead of the balers.  Dew doesn't lift before 10am, and the temp drops and the moisture climbs by 5pm.  Makes for a short window. 

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6 hours ago, stronger800 said:

I almost never rake a double. Unless it's the super odd day where it's dry, before I even rake  it. Here in NY, we cut once, ted 3-6x, and rake twice.  Singles, and the doubled an hour before or just ahead of the balers.  Dew doesn't lift before 10am, and the temp drops and the moisture climbs by 5pm.  Makes for a short window. 

 Pretty much the same thing here, although I’ve never had to Ted 6X, 2-3X I have!  Then we rake just before it gets baled, we have a 12 foot cut, normally it gets raked single for the small square baler and four into one for the big square baler, four into one make a pretty huge win drow you can barely drive over it with the tractor.

 Sometimes we get an evening where there is absolutely no dew, we could bale here till midnight if we want, but usually it’s a sign that it’s going to rain first thing in the morning!

 Couple years ago one of my neighbours called me at 5 o’clock his small square Baler was broke and he asked me if I could bale the hay for him, I told him I was far from home bailing big squares but as soon as I got home I would jump on the small baler and headed to his place it was 7 pm when I got there and I started baling, by 10 pm I had over 600 bales made. 

 Every year seems to be different, there’s so many variables, how thick is the hay, what kind of Hay, how mature it is, how wet is the ground, how windy, how sunny, how humid, is the field surrounded by trees and I’m sure I’m forgetting some other factors! 

 Some years I can make all my hay in 2 to 3 weeks, some years I’m still trying to bale first cut in the middle of September, by then second and third cut is in it too! 

 Sometimes making hay can be a joy and lots of fun… And some years it can be very stressful and almost drive a person insane!! 

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9 minutes ago, Qc.Can.IH man said:

 Sometimes making hay can be a joy and lots of fun… And some years it can be very stressful and almost drive a person insane!! 

Ain't that the truth! Lol!

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Would like to have a hydro if I were go into hay production . Infinite speeds would just be a pleasure to manage heavy and light hay conditions. 
What the terra conditions, hills ? 
what is the labor force for square baling. You got help ? 
if money doesn’t matter , but itS efficiency if you have weather , so many thing to think about , good post 

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So much good advice from people who have been there , done that. I too jumped head first into haying, but it was just for myself. Not alot of acres, and all used bargain equipment. All of which needed work to get satisfactory results. Or even work. First purchase was a jd 224 wire tie and sickle bar. I fought that sickle bar forever. Hated it, plugged all the time. I was going backwards more than forward. Baler was worse, wires broke all the time, every tie cycle. 10 bales day was my avg, untill I got all the bugs worked out if it, now it bales anything with no problem. Finally moved up to a IH 4000 swather. Great machine, not the best if you are moving 20 miles from field to field though. My advice, which might not be much, would be get cutter, haybine or ? That is pull behind if you need to go distances between fields. Baler, put the money there for a good one. Ask if possible to see it "bale". That was a big mistake on my part. Oh, and a tractor if possible with a/c. That would be a big bonus?

Good luck

Mark

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13 hours ago, stronger800 said:

I almost never rake a double. Unless it's the super odd day where it's dry, before I even rake  it. Here in NY, we cut once, ted 3-6x, and rake twice.  Singles, and the doubled an hour before or just ahead of the balers.  Dew doesn't lift before 10am, and the temp drops and the moisture climbs by 5pm.  Makes for a short window. 

+1, we never tedded much here, laid the windrow as wide as the haybine which was 9ft at that time...............Let it lay to dry the top, raked singles and would roll them to get them dry.  Used a roll bar for the most part to do that, when everything was dry we would roll into the field right ahead of the baler with the wheel rake and scoot rolling 2 together.  Worked really good. During the summer if the wind kept moving across our ridge tops, it dried things pretty fast.

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I never tedded either, until my friend from upper NY talked me into trying it.   First time we did it, my dad was all like..."don't need that, its gonna all bleach out because, the leaves are gonna all fall off... "  Well, after putting up the most beautiful, uniform, green, leafy hay a day earlier than usual--the next time we mowed the only comment was: "When shall we start tedding it?"    The next couple years the only way we got any hay was tedding it to dry between rains.   

BTW--I found that an old non-live PTO tractor worked great on the tedder.  When you stopped the tractor, the tedder stopped.  The spread swath stayed pretty uniform, rather than throwing a bunch in a pile when you stopped.  Only time I thought the non-live worked better than live!

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Sorry everyone for the late reply I was out of town and didn't have access to my computer. I don't know for sure that I will do 80 acres for sure, but would like to start out doing about 40-60 and work up to 80. My market will be horse hay in our area which is a pretty big deal for us. Most of the time we have trouble finding good hay for our horses and I know several other people who have struggled as well. I also know that people have trouble finding small bales because many of the cattle people in our area only make round bales. I don't have a problem using round bales but many don't have the equipment to move them. I feel that this is a market that needs good quality hay in a size that most people can use. I would like to get into making some round bales later and maybe explore making some dairy quality hay. I have really gained a lot of knowledge from the posts so far and am looking forward to more. My budget goal would be to stay around the 25,000 range to start out with. If I could do it with less that would be better but I want to get good equipment. 

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Are you mechanical?  I ask, as some guys aren't. If your not capable of working on equipment, your 25k budget is very low. If you have tools though, I'd say it's very doable.  Mind you, even newer (and New) equipment -will- still break down.  So as soon as your under motion, consider getting a second baler as a spare.  What area of the world are you in? I am in NY and we sell horse hay that gets transported north toward Maine and all the way south to Florida.  I'm not sure what that must cost...but I'm glad I don't have horses. 

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11 minutes ago, TP from Central PA said:

Making horse hay isn't a problem, problem is getting the people who feed the hay to the horses to pay for it in my experiences, beware........

I concur with this statement.  If you have buyers that show up with cash in the proper amount...try to keep them.  Offer them a discount on a yearly basis if they order in advance and put a down payment.

Good customers are rare.  Lots of non-payers and sob stories.

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5 hours ago, TP from Central PA said:

Making horse hay isn't a problem, problem is getting the people who feed the hay to the horses to pay for it in my experiences, beware........

x3 which is why I don't make hay anymore.   Esp. frustrating are the guys that pay for the first 2-3 loads real well, then ask if they can take several loads at once and "pay monthly"....you will never see them again.

Hay coop of close neighbors who would help in return for some hay, people you know well, or cash at delivery are the only ways to go.

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lots of the guys i sold bales to would pay for the last one when they got the next one. I was always carrying them and usually they never paid for the very last bale. I always charged about $10 more for a 4 X 4 X 8 than the going price. Didn't get beat so bad on the last bale. One guy i called who had not paid for 2 bales and said they were full of poison weeds and tested high. I said well bring them back this other guy purchased 50 of them from me with no problems. He said well we just let the cattle pick thru it and it is gone as they tromped most of it in the ground. This guy worked with my cousin and one day my cousin brought me 3 $100 bills. Not every one is this way but a lot of them try you 

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Our hay is cash only - receipt provided.  No holding, no pay me later.  First come, first served.  We also have a net 45 on payment.  You got 45 seconds after the hay is loaded to pay or it gets unloaded.  Had a guy offer to pay via an e-check.  I asked him how I would hold an e-check until payday?  He paid cash.

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Guy started buying hay from me around a year ago. Always paid, sometimes payed ahead even. He lives 70 miles away and always kinda thought that was strange. Past November he asked me about the straw. Said he'd give me 200.00 a ton. Got what he wanted and gave me a 3000.00 check. Took the check to the bank and cashed it. Was looking at the bank account online one morning and saw 3000.00 taken out of the farm account balance, and a 8.00 fee because of NSF from his rubber check. I sent him a text saying hey you gave me a rubber check. He never replied. Iwent to my bank and they said I'll be getting a copy of his rubber check and it's as good as the original and I can take it to his bank (Huntington) and ask a teller if he's got the funds in his account for the check. She said they won't tell you how much he's got in his account, just if there's enough in it to cover it. Well his check came in our mail so I go to Lima to Huntington and the teller said if I were you I wouldn't try cashing it. I said is his account even open anymore? She said sir I can't tell you that. So I get to the truck in the parking lot and send him a text saying I'm turning this over to the auglaize co courthouse because I'm not going to eat this 3000! Thought it might wake him up. He never responded back. Few days later he sends me a picture of his bank account and said see the money is in there. So back to Lima I go, teller at his bank gets on the computer and looked at his account and I showed her the picture he sent me of his account and balance. Girl said the money isn't there anymore sir he made another payment with the money.  Sent him another text you screwed up. You'll be hearing from the Ohio attorney general. He never responded back. 2 weeks later he sends me a apologetic text saying that the money is in the account. All I sent back was the law is handling it now. That was a Thursday. Friday he comes hands the wife a certified check for the amount he owes plus 200.00. and leaves. Wife told me so I took the thing to Huntington in Lima, teller made a couple phone calls to the Huntington branch who made his certified check out, it was legit, checked his balance and the money was there and I walked out of Huntington with my cash. I agree fully, get your hay, straw, paid for in cash before it goes out the driveway.

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Brings back bad memories selling hay..................I buy most all my hay now.  Got one guy who I trade repair work for hay, I hold his equipment hostage until he brings me hay.............is never late.  Other guys I have known forever and they treat me well.  With that said, I was buying from a neighbor.  Small squares out of the field, they had no work in it, I even hauled the wagons and put them away cleaned up, and since my animals prefer lower quality stuff, I took parts of the fields that they couldn't move elsewhere.  Should have been a win for everyone..................Not, started out they wanted to sell by the ton, great...............either weigh the loads, or pick a few bales to weigh, average them and multiply it by the total............Then in the field it changed to sold by the bale............ok, fine with me, let me know the number on the counter.  Got them all in the barn, barn didn't look full as it should have.  I started a tally sheet taking them out, "Just in case"................Glad I did, asked what was on the counter............All I got was the chain on the counter broke????  Ok, well acouple paper clips would have solved that, and if your selling by the bale, that is pretty important.  Then I got a bill for the number I asked for, hmmm I thought, math isn't adding up to what is stacked.  Settled up with that number but still questioned it but kept the tally sheet going................Came to find out a large number was shorter in length, and the total still didn't match what I asked for.  Don't know what happened but mentioned something about it, everyone blamed everyone else and nobody did anything.  So they lost what would have been a good customer, oh well.   Of-course this news traveled around, I get it now from the other guys and they always kid me when I pull up, we are selling by the ton today............And later after the truck is loaded they go, "Ok, we thought about it, you are buying by the bale now".  

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the local vet went to the bank in a small town about 8 miles away with a fairly large check for medicine and went to cash it and the lady said it will not go thru it is just a tiny bit short. He said how much and she told him  approximately which is probably a no no but he got some dollar bills out of his wallet and after he put a few up there she said that will work. He walked out with a couple thousand dollars of money that was HIS

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9 hours ago, stronger800 said:

Not sure I understood that last one. He essentially put small money out of his wallet into the customers account, so that the large amount would clear. 

Yes sir that is what he did

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