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Is it cheaper to buy hay or make it?

The answer to the question of whether it is cheaper to buy hay or make hay depends on various factors such as location, time availability, resources, and machinery.

Firstly, the cost of buying hay can vary depending on the location and the type of hay required. The price of hay can fluctuate with supply and demand, and there may be additional costs such as transport and storage fees.

On the other hand, making hay involves a considerable initial capital investment in machinery and equipment like mowers, rakes, balers, and tractors. These costs can add up, especially for small-scale farmers who only require a small amount of hay. Also, there are newer techniques and technologies that can offer hay production at a lower cost, but not all farmers are up-to-date on these new techniques.

Apart from machinery and equipment costs, making hay also involves several other inputs such as labor, seed, and fertilizer. If a farmer has sufficient land and resources, then making hay can be cost-effective, but if they need to buy fertilizers, seed, and additional resources, then it can be expensive.

The making of hay also requires access to sufficient sunlight and moisture to ensure proper drying and baling, in addition to specialized knowledge of how to manage quality hay. The climatic conditions in the area also affect haymaking, and if there is rainfall during the curing process it will ruin the quality of hay.

Moreover, the actual act of making hay requires a significant amount of time and effort. It can take days or even weeks, depending on the amount of hay being produced. Therefore, it is essential to determine whether you have the time to make hay, as this will impact the decision to purchase or make it.

Whether it’s cheaper to buy hay or make it depends primarily on individual circumstances. Commercial farmers who require large amounts of hay and have the necessary resources and machinery will find that making hay is economical. However, small farmers who need a lesser amount of hay may find it cheaper to buy hay rather than to invest in machinery, labor, and other resources required to make hay.

Therefore, it’s critical to consider all factors and expenses before making a decision to buy or make hay.

Is it cost effective to bale your own hay?

Deciding whether baling your own hay is cost-effective depends on several factors, including the size of your operation, the availability of affordable hay in your area, and the cost of equipment and labor. It is important to consider both the direct costs and the indirect costs when determining the overall economics of baling your own hay.

Direct costs include the initial investment for equipment, including a mower, baler, and tractor, as well as the costs of fuel and twine. Depending on the type and quality of equipment, the initial investment can range from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. In addition, baling requires a significant amount of time and labor, which must be factored into the cost analysis.

Indirect costs include the cost of maintenance and repairs for the equipment, as well as the cost of storage for the hay once it is baled. Hay storage can be expensive, especially if you do not have a suitable storage facility on your property. In addition, the quality of the hay may be lower than that of commercially available hay, which can impact the overall value of your crop.

However, baling your own hay can also provide several benefits, including greater control over the quality of the feed, the ability to customize the hay to the needs of your specific operation, and the potential to generate additional income by selling surplus hay.

The decision to bale your own hay should be based on a careful analysis of the costs and benefits, taking into account the size and needs of your operation, the availability of affordable hay in your area, and the cost of equipment and labor. When done correctly and efficiently, baling your own hay can be a cost-effective way to ensure a reliable supply of high-quality feed for your animals.

How much hay can 1 acre produce a year?

The amount of hay that can be produced on one acre per year depends on several factors. The first factor is the type of hay being grown, as different types of hay have different yields. The second factor is the climate of the region where the hay is being grown, as weather conditions, such as precipitation and temperature, can impact the growth and yield of hay.

Lastly, the method of cultivation and the quality of the land on which the hay is being grown are also significant factors.

On average, it is estimated that one acre of good quality pasture land can produce around 2-4 tons of hay per year. However, this amount can vary depending on the factors mentioned above. For example, if the land is of poor quality or has not been properly fertilized, the yield of hay may be less than the estimated average.

Likewise, if the hay is being grown in an area that experiences drought and has limited rainfall, the yield may also be negatively impacted.

Another important factor to consider is the frequency of hay cutting. If the hay is cut more frequently, the yield may increase. However, frequent cutting can also stress the plants and reduce their overall quality. It is generally recommended that hay be cut two to three times per year, depending on weather conditions and the type of hay being grown.

While several factors can influence the amount of hay that can be produced on one acre per year, on average, one acre of good quality pasture land can produce around 2-4 tons of hay. However, this estimate may vary depending on the type of hay, the climate of the region, and the quality of the land, among other factors.

What is the cheapest way to buy hay?

The most cost-effective method to purchase hay depends on your specific needs and location. However, there are several ways to save money when buying hay.

Firstly, it’s essential to understand the hay market in your area. You can research prices by checking with local farmers or contacting hay suppliers. Knowing the typical prices will give you an idea of what to expect when searching for the best deal.

One way to reduce costs when buying hay is to purchase in bulk. Bulk buying often allows you to negotiate lower prices, and you can generally save money by purchasing a larger quantity upfront. If you don’t have the cash to pay for the entire bale of hay, finding a supplier that provides payment plans can be beneficial.

Another option is to buy hay directly from the field. Often, farmers will allow buyers to come into the field and take as much hay as they need for a lower price than hay bought at a retail store. It’s essential to inspect the hay before purchasing to ensure it’s good quality.

You can also look for hay that’s been stored for an extended period. Often, farmers will offer a lower price for hay that’s been in storage for a few months or even up to a year. While the nutritional value of older hay may be less, it can still be a good option for those looking to save some money.

Finally, it’s crucial to compare prices from multiple hay suppliers. Don’t be afraid to negotiate or ask about discounts to lower the overall cost. Additionally, consider the quality of the hay before determining which supplier to purchase from. A lower price may not be worth sacrificing the nutritional value of the hay.

The cheapest way to buy hay depends on several factors, including your location, budget, and hay quality requirements. Still, researching your local hay market, purchasing in bulk, buying directly from the field, looking for older hay, and comparing prices and negotiating discounts can all help reduce the cost of purchasing hay.

Is 10 year old hay still good?

10 year old hay might still be ok, depending on how it has been stored. Hay that is kept dry and out of direct sunlight will usually last longer. If the hay is kept in a barn or shed, it is likely to be of better quality since it is not exposed to the elements.

The hay should be checked for any signs of mould, rot, or other areas of deterioration. If the hay looks and smells okay, then it may still be of usable quality. However, if there are signs of deterioration, the hay should be discarded as it might contain mould spores and other potentially hazardous material.

How many times a year can you harvest hay?

On average, farmers can harvest hay up to 2-4 times a year. For instance, in regions with a warmer climate and more fertile soils, farmers may be able to harvest hay up to four times a year. Conversely, regions with cooler climates and less fertile soils may limit the number of times farmers can harvest their hay.

It’s essential to note that hay can be harvested at different stages of growth. Early harvest usually yields higher quality hay, but less quantity. On the other hand, delayed or late harvest yields more hay but with reduced quality. Therefore, farmers must weigh their options and balance the quantity and quality of hay they want to harvest.

The number of times hay can be harvested in a year is not a fixed number, and it varies depending on various factors. However, farmers can harvest hay up to 2-4 times per annum, depending on their region’s climate, soil fertility, and weather patterns.

Does hay grow back every year?

Yes, hay does grow back every year as long as the grasses that are used to make the hay are not killed off during the winter or by some other means. In general, hay is made from annual or perennial grasses that are left to grow until they are ready to be harvested. Once the hay is harvested, the grasses are allowed to regrow, usually in the same field, so that another crop of hay can be harvested the following year.

Perennial grasses, which are those that grow back each year, are commonly used for hay production because they are more sustainable and require less input compared to annual grasses. Perennial grasses have deeper root systems, which allows them to withstand drought and extreme temperatures, making them a more reliable source of hay.

Some factors that can affect the regrowth of hay include soil fertility, irrigation, and the timing of the harvest. In order to ensure that the hay regrows properly, it is important to maintain the field’s soil fertility by applying the appropriate amount of fertilizer and other nutrients. Adequate irrigation is also crucial to ensure that the grasses have enough moisture to grow.

The timing of the harvest is one of the most important factors that can impact the regrowth of hay. If the hay is harvested too early or too late, it can reduce the yield of the next crop. This is because the grasses need time to recover after being harvested, and if they are not given enough time or if they are harvested when they are not fully mature, they may not be able to grow back properly.

Hay does grow back every year as long as the grasses are properly maintained and the proper conditions are met. With proper care and management, hay production can be a sustainable and reliable source of feed for livestock and other animals.

How profitable is hay farming?

Hay farming can be quite profitable if the right conditions are in place. One significant factor that determines the profitability of hay farming is the demand for hay. Hay is an essential feed for livestock, and the demand for it is usually higher during winter months. If you can identify a market for your hay, you can make good returns on your investment.

Another factor that affects the profitability of hay farming is the cost of production. This includes the cost of land, labor, fertilizers, seed, and equipment. The more efficient you are in controlling these costs, the more profitable your hay farming business will be.

Hay farming is also impacted by weather conditions. Weather plays a crucial role in the yield and quality of hay. Favorable weather conditions like sufficient rainfall, moderate temperatures, and enough sunlight can boost the yield and quality of hay. In contrast, adverse weather conditions like drought or heavy rains can affect hay production negatively.

It is essential to have the right equipment to manage the crop successfully. This includes tractors, harvesters, and various other pieces of equipment needed for planting and harvesting. Purchasing new equipment can be expensive, but in the long run, it is cost-effective because of the efficiency it brings.

Finally, the availability of land and location is also essential when it comes to hay farming. Land in areas with fertile soils and favorable weather conditions is suitable for hay farming. Additionally, the location of the farm close to potential markets reduces transport costs and attracts potential buyers.

Hay farming can be profitable if you have the right market, manage costs correctly, have the right equipment, and access to good quality land in a suitable location. Like any business, it requires hard work and dedication to achieve success. However, with the right approach, it can be a successful and lucrative venture.

What is the cost of one bale of hay?

The cost of one bale of hay can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors. Firstly, the type of hay being purchased can have a significant impact on the cost. There are several types of hay available such as alfalfa, timothy, brome, and mixtures of these, each of which have varying nutrient content and quality.

The price of hay can also change depending on the time of year as hay is generally cheaper during times of abundance, such as right after the hay is harvested, and more expensive during times of shortage.

Additionally, the location and transportation costs can impact the overall cost of one bale of hay. Shipping costs and the distance the hay must travel to reach the purchaser can add extra expenses. The supply and demand of hay in a particular region can also impact the cost. If there is an oversupply of hay in one location, the cost may be lower than in a region where there is a high demand for hay and a shortage in supply.

To determine the cost of one bale of hay, a variety of factors must be taken into consideration such as the type of hay, location, time of year, supply and demand, and transportation expenses. Therefore, it is challenging to give a straightforward answer to this question as the cost can vary greatly depending on these factors.

Which is cheaper hay or straw bales?

The cost of hay and straw bales varies depending on different factors such as location, availability, quality, and season. In general, hay bales tend to be more expensive than straw bales since they require more work, time, and resources to produce.

Hay bales are commonly used as a livestock feed and often have a higher nutritional value compared to straw. This makes hay a more valuable commodity and thus, a higher price point. Additionally, hay requires more specialized equipment to produce – from mowers, balers, and other machinery, to the labor-intensive activity of managing the fields from which the hay originates.

The feeding process also requires more work, as bales need to be carefully stored and monitored for mold and other issues.

On the other hand, straw bales are essentially a byproduct of cereal crops such as wheat, oat, and barley. While straw bales can also be used as a form of animal bedding, they are less nutritionally valuable than hay and are typically less expensive. The production process of straw bales is also less labor-intensive since it does not require the same level of equipment and specialization.

However, it is important to keep in mind that hay and straw prices can be highly variable, and fluctuate with supply and demand. When one is looking to purchase hay or straw bales, it is important to research current market conditions in order to find the most cost-effective option. It is also advisable to contact multiple suppliers for quotes, and ensure that one is not compromising quality for a cheaper price.

Both hay and straw bales have their own advantages and uses. While hay tends to be more expensive due to its high nutritional value and production costs, straw bales are generally much cheaper and more versatile. the choice between hay and straw bales will depend on the specific needs and requirements of the purchaser.

Why is the price of hay so high?

The price of hay is impacted by a variety of factors, and there are numerous reasons why it can be high at any given time. One of the primary drivers of the cost of hay is supply and demand. Hay is a critical feed source for many animals, especially horses and livestock, and the demand for the crop can be affected by many factors, including weather conditions, animal population, and economic factors.

Some of the primary factors affecting the cost of hay include transportation costs, production costs, weather, and storage. Transportation costs can be a significant factor for hay, especially if the hay needs to be shipped over long distances, which can increase shipping fees and add to the cost of the hay.

Production costs can also be high, especially if farmers face challenges like drought or pests that impact their crop yields.

Weather is another critical factor that can drive up the cost of hay. If there is a significant drought or other weather event that impacts hay production in a particular region, it can create a shortage of hay that drives up the cost of the crop for farmers and animal owners. Additionally, storage costs can impact the price of hay, as it can be costly to store large amounts of hay over the long term.

Another factor impacting the cost of hay is the competition between various users of the crop. For example, hay can be used for animal feed, as a fuel source, and even for landscaping and other purposes. When demand is high, competition between users can drive up the cost of hay.

The high cost of hay is the result of many complex factors, including supply and demand, transportation costs, production costs, weather, and storage. While the price of hay can certainly be impacted by short-term events like droughts or other weather events, in the long term, it tends to be a reflection of broader economic and market trends affecting agriculture and animal feed.

How many round bales will 1 acre produce?

The number of round bales that 1 acre will produce depends on factors such as the type of forage that is growing in the acre, the density and size of the bales, and the field management practices that are employed. Generally, the yield of an acre of forage is an important factor that determines the number of bales that can be made from it.

On average, one acre of good quality, well-managed grass or alfalfa forage can produce between 16 and 30 round bales. The size of the bale is also a factor. Large round bales that measure 5 feet by 5 feet can weigh up to 1,500 pounds, while smaller bales that measure 4 feet by 5 feet can weigh around 1,000 pounds.

The number of bales produced per acre will, therefore, depend on the weight and size of the bales that are being made.

It is also important to consider the level of nutrient management practices the farm employs when estimating the yield for an acre. For instance, regular fertilization, irrigation, and soil testing can improve the grass and alfalfa yield, thus leading to more bales per acre.

The number of round bales produced per acre depends on several factors, including the yield of the forage, the size and weight of the bales, and the level of nutrient management practices. Therefore, the estimate of the number of bales cannot be accurately determined without considering these varying factors.

What is a good yield of hay per acre?

The good yield of hay per acre can vary depending on a multitude of factors such as climate, soil quality, and the type of hay being grown. However, based on general averages, a good yield of hay per acre can range anywhere from 2 to 5 tons during the first cutting and 1.5 to 3 tons in the subsequent cuttings.

Having rich and fertile soil is one of the most significant determining factors for producing high-yield hay crops. The ideal pH of the soil should be maintained between 6.2 and 7.0. Appropriate fertilization should be practiced, and proper irrigation should be ensured to maintain the right moisture level, which is vital for hay growth.

The type of hay seed being used is also essential as it plays a significant role in determining the yield per acre. Some hay seeds, such as alfalfa, have higher yields per acre than others like Bermuda grass.

Apart from the climate and the soil quality, other factors that can impact the yield of hay per acre include the amount of sunlight, the use of herbicides and pesticides, and the quality and age of the implements used in the harvesting of hay crop.

In essence, a good yield for hay per acre will depend on various factors, and farmers must ensure that they are taking the required measures to maximize the yield of their hay crops. With proper management and care, farmers can consistently achieve above-average yields of hay per acre.

What farming is most profitable?

Determining the most profitable farming involves several factors like location, climate, soil type, market demand, regulations, and the cost of the inputs required to produce crops. There are several types of farming, including livestock farming, crop cultivation, aquaculture, and greenhouses, each with its profitability potential.

Livestock farming, including poultry, beef, and dairy, generally has a cost advantage since the animals are fed on pastures, which in most cases are free. Dairy farming is one of the most profitable livestock farming activities, given the high demand for milk and milk products. Beef farming can also be profitable, but the profitability varies with the breed of cows, the cost of the land and feed, and the market demand.

Crop cultivation is another profitable farming practice, depending on the crop grown and the market demand. For instance, cash crops like coffee, tea, tobacco, and cotton can be highly profitable, but they also require intensive management, high capital costs, and specific growing conditions. For example, coffee requires specific soil conditions, temperature, and rainfall for optimal productivity, while tobacco is a more difficult crop which requires careful supervision when growing because it is prone to pests and diseases.

Greenhouses farming is another useful farming practice, especially in states with extreme weather conditions. Constructing greenhouses may appear costly since the startup capital cost is high. However, growing crops in greenhouses ensures a predictable environment that allows the grower to control factors such as temperature, humidity, irrigation, and light, resulting in higher yields and profitability.

Finally, Aquaculture, an emerging farming practice, can also be highly profitable. Aquaculture involves growing fish or shrimp to meet the growing demand for seafood. Aquaculture has lower greenhouse emissions, consumes less water, and can produce high quality and consistent yields. It may require a significant initial capital investment to develop infrastructure, appropriate to the species to be raised and local regulations on water quality.

Various farming practices have different profitability potentials, depending on several factors. Therefore, a thorough evaluation is necessary to determine the most profitable farming practice for your location and goals.

How much hay do you need for 100 cows?

The amount of hay that is required for 100 cows varies based on factors such as the size and breed of the cows, the time of year, and the quality of the hay. In general, cows consume approximately 2-3% of their body weight in hay on a daily basis. For instance, a mature cow typically weighs around 1000-1500 pounds, and requires about 25-35 pounds of hay per day.

Therefore, for 100 cows, the total amount of hay needed would depend on the average weight of the cows and the duration of feeding.

Assuming an average weight of 1200 pounds per cow, 100 cows would consume approximately 3,000-5,250 pounds of hay per day. Multiply that by the number of days that the cows will be fed hay for one year (for instance, 180-210 days in a year, depending on climate and herd management), and that gives a total hay requirement of 540,000-1,102,500 pounds per year for 100 cows.

Alternatively, this can be converted to tonnage, which would be around 270-551 tons of hay for one year.

It is essential to keep in mind that hay quality affects the hay consumption of cows. High-quality hay with high nutrient content is more efficient than low-quality hay, resulting in less overall hay consumption. Therefore, factors such as the type and quality of hay being fed, the size and breed of the cows, and environmental influences must all be taken into consideration when calculating the amount of hay needed to ensure proper feeding of 100 cows.


  1. Hay You! Should I Make My Hay or Buy It? – Cornell Small Farms
  2. Buying your Hay vs. Growing your Own – Hustler Equipment
  3. Is it cheaper to raise or buy hay?
  4. Is Making Your Own Hay Worth It? – Family Farm Livestock
  5. It’s the time of the year to buy hay! – OSU Extension Service