The tricky part about acquiring hay these days is cost. The equipment is light years out of our budget, and the going rate of $7 per bale is pretty steep for us, too. So what is a wanna-be farmer to do?
One idea is to trade labor for hay by getting to know people in the area who cut hay. For us, this was easy because Byron grew up around here and Melvin and Mr. Woodward are farmers who have been cutting hay on his family's property for years. Every day after work this week, Byron would brave the ungodly temperatures and help Melvin by catching bales, stacking hay, hauling hay...in the process getting mauled by ticks. We got 85 bales for his work.
Another thought is to let some of your grass grow for hay if you have the acreage, and pay someone to cut it for you. We have 5 1/2 acres and let a little more than half of that grow. Melvin has cut and baled most of it for us, and we have 75 bales so far! I was astounded we got that many, and we agreed to pay Melvin about $2/bale. Since hay will last a couple years, we'll have some extra just in case.
|The first hay harvest was in exchange for labor.|
|You know it's hot when you have to rush your camera inside because the lens is fogging up!|
|Did you know hay can spontaneously combust?? Byron "stickered" the bales in an attempt to avoid this undesirable phenomenon. So far, so good.|
|Melvin cut hay on our property (above), and a day or so later he raked it.|
|Not sure of the official name, but this machine makes hay bales.|
|And this "machine" carries them...|
|...and stacks them. With the help of farm muscles, of course.|
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