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Using Your Tractor & Crop Talk

Discussion Board - What is a good crop to sell?

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Jason S.

12-08-2012 06:35:39




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I should have added legal crops...lol. I've got 45 acres that I have been mowing and selling the hay off of but to be truthful it is getting to be more hassle than it is worth. I've thought about raising other crops on but I'm not with the times and do not know what sells good anymore and how to go about it. I had thought about corn but it costs so much to even plant it that I'd say the profit can't be that good. Somebody at work suggested soybeans. Does anybody else have any suggestions? Thanks for your help.

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rankrank1

12-23-2012 09:14:53




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to rrlund, 12-08-2012 06:35:39  

Jason S. said: (quoted from post at 02:02:51 12/11/12) .... I also think because I don"t have new equipment like everybody around me people don"t think my hay is as good. I have older equipment but it"s good equipment. People frown because I mow with a haybine and not a disc mower and etc.........


If anything one could make an argument that a haybine makes for much cleaner hay than a disc mower or discbine. In fact many people do make that exact claim. Watch Youtube videos of the dust clouds coming out of a discmower or discbine. Well guess what all that dust has to go somewhere and lots of it ends up the hay you are cutting.

The advantages to a disc mower or discbine have absolutely nothing to do with the quality of product produced. The merits of a discmower cutter are simply in speed of cut, easier cutter maintenance, and better ability to avoid clogs and cut downed crops and slightly wet crops. In short they cut much faster, but if anything do produce a slightly inferior product to a haybine. In the best of conditions the end product is only equal to the product of a haybine - it is certainly not any better. And we have not even touched the subject of remaining crop regrowth with that edge typically going to a haybine as well for faster regrowth.

The pickiest of horsey customers will actually prefer hay from a haybine as it is usually cleaner. I know if I had to eat the hay myself then I would choose the hay cut with a haybine over that cut with a disc mower, drum mower, or discbine every time.
This post was edited by rankrank1 at 09:22:18 12/23/12 2 times.

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Hogleg

12-21-2012 05:10:56




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-08-2012 06:35:39  
I run old equipment also and am a small operation. My 5x5's are twine rolled and packed tight. I cut mixed grass hay on small 2-5 acre fields locally and haul to my yard. I sell off the yard and load on their trucks. All of my customers come with small trailers and take 2 or 3 at a time.
I had one guy buy 11 from one field and he took all day hauling them a few at a time. As to marketing , my 16yo daughter (and hay partner) posted on craigslist that we were rolling hay and he called and hauled as we were rolling.
I can sell all I make most years.
My costs are right at $5 a bale for fuel only and I sell them for $35 a bale. You need to have more margin in your pricing to cover your maint and replacement costs on your equipment. I keep good records on maint costs so I know what I need to price at to make a profit.
John
This post was edited by Hogleg at 05:18:18 12/21/12 2 times.

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cd1

12-11-2012 11:15:00




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-08-2012 06:35:39  
Here is the big difference to me between hay and row crops, MARKETING. If you want to make any money at all in the hay business you must learn to market your product for the highest dollar. In row crops there is money to be made in marketing but where I am from there are plenty of elevators to buy your grain and getting the best price is just a few phone calls away, knowing when to sell is another matter. A 5x5 hay bale is not that marketable, they don't fit on an 8' wide trailer. You need square bales or a modern likely net wrap 4x5 baler.

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kyhayman

12-10-2012 10:26:11




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-08-2012 06:35:39  
Just from reading your post the thing that jumps out at me is marketing. I gave up on trying to be the cheap hay guy. It costs me 12.75 per 4x5 round plus fertilizer. Somebody is always willing to work for less. I went the other direction, best hay I could make, advertise widely, have the ability to deliver any size load for a price. Packaged into a 4x5 so it hauls well in the back of a pickup, or two wide on a semi. I grow very little of what I sell anymore. People are willing to pay and pay well for inside storage and just in time delivery. But, its that way with any crop.

I'd focus on taking the hay up a notch. Spend your money on a baler that makes a package you can transport, a spraying with Plateau every fall, see for good timothy and orchardgrass, and nitrogen fertilizer. There is no reason my trucks need to be going through east Tennessee to Florida and Georgia with hay at 55.00 for rounds and 6.00 grass squares plus freight at 3.00 a loaded mile and you selling rolls for 10 bucks.

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Jason S.

12-10-2012 17:02:51




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to kyhayman, 12-10-2012 10:26:11  
It may be I don"t advertise right. I also think because I don"t have new equipment like everybody around me people don"t think my hay is as good. I have older equipment but it"s good equipment. People frown because I mow with a haybine and not a disc mower and etc...but my stuff is paid for. I didn"t get to fertilize this year because spring came early here, actually it caught several people here by suprise. I figured it up and it cost me about $4.50 per bale to bale this year. That"s why I sold my hay for $10.00. I still doubled my money.

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kyhayman

12-12-2012 21:17:30




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-10-2012 17:02:51  
Nothing wrong with older equipment. My newest round baler is nearly 20 years old. My square baler older than that. Mower-wise, I did add a new discbine a couple of years ago but what comes out the back is the same as comes out of your mower conditioner.

Thats fabulous cost control, I'm jealous. Off the top I've got a gallon of fuel in each roll, roughly. Just dividing up 565 gallons per week on an output of 500-600 rolls. Payroll runs about 75 cents a roll for the hired help and about 2.00 a roll for me. Rest is repairs, twine, and depreciation/replacement. Next year it wont look so good, big repair bills both in the production and trucking ends. Then I shoot for 10.00 a roll profit, actually insist on it. Fertilizer, seeding, and spraying puts a solid 10.00 more on it. I cant say that the fertilizer pays for me, in grass hay, in yield. Actually its almost break even. But it does pay in holding green color.

Color sells and to a lesser extent smell sells. I work craigslist and all the online sales boards like a hawk. Plus I always keep a decent roll with a professional printed sign and my phone number by the road. Every truck I have has a sign on it, and the family cars have bumper stickers. I never say can't when someone asks for something, I simply price it at what I can make that happen for. Typically the service is worth more than the product.

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Shetland Sheepdog

12-11-2012 16:01:10




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-10-2012 17:02:51  
Another thing that I learned was that customers will always try to get your product a little cheaper thinking your product is worth just a little less than the price you are asking. So, if you are asking $10.00, the customer prolly thinks it's worth $8.00. On the other hand, if you ask $50.00, and let the customer have it for $40.00, he/she prolly will not balk! I sell idiot cubes that are not premium, but are dry when baled and I make a fair sized bale. I try to give good service and maintain a good rapport with my customers. I try to keep abreast of the going rate for premium product in my area, and typically sell for $0.50 less per bale. I haven't threatened any of the premium producers by stealing their customers, and most if not all of my customers have been with me for years. And, yes, they are "horse people"!

JMHO, HTH, Dave

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MFPoor

12-10-2012 07:44:09




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-08-2012 06:35:39  
Corn is profitable, but on a large scale. Same with soy beans. You need more than 45 acres to make it a free standing business. Hay can be profitable in some years, not so much in others. I contract grow 60 acres of pop corn and see a fairly health return on that, but much of my equipment cost is shared with acreage of feed corn and soys.

I have a couple neighbors who courted and developed a market for various veggie crops. (ie Broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, ect) You need to research local markets to see if there is a buyer before jumping on that bandwagon though.

My son has 35 acres of trees and shrubs, raising them under contract for a landscape product vendor. He's liking the results of that venture after 3rd season.

Also, a local sod business has several farms growing turfgrass sod under contract. Down side is, unless you have deep top soil, your land will be depleted of good soil in a few years. But, the money is good.

University of Kentucky is really promoting blueberries as a cash crop. A number of former tobacco farmers in my area have made the switch and are just now starting to see significant returns on their investments.

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Bud Soda

12-09-2012 15:29:37




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-08-2012 06:35:39  
I do about 25 or so acres of deer corn a year. I NC we can bait with corn. If I had more open land I could sell more corn. Pick with a NI 323 snapper. $10.00/bag. Usually sell out by Oct. This year planted March 5th, started picking July 20th. Going to try OP corn this year cause I am tired of RR. OHh its a lot of work for a 50 year old but I do everything by myself, even the bagging.



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Loosehandle

12-09-2012 10:26:45




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-08-2012 06:35:39  
Sm. Bales going for $5-$8 here.
You have to package for profit.



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Jason S.

12-09-2012 16:05:00




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Loosehandle, 12-09-2012 10:26:45  
What do you mean package for profit?



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Jason S.

12-08-2012 20:17:53




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-08-2012 06:35:39  
I"m in east Tennessee. The reason I was trying to get away from hay is because of the customers...the work doesn"t bother me at all. It"s just that I"m selling it cheap enough, $10.00 for a 5x5 bale, but then most of them want you to haul it to them on top of that. I had people wanting square bales so I agreed to square bale some. They never came and got it...I ended up burning it. So I"m thru with that. I"ve threatened to bush hog it all next year. But I enjoy being out there on the tractor. I grew up on a 300 acre farm not far from where I am now. So I know the work involved, I"m just not sure if I should grow something a little more in demand than hay, and if so what it should be. I have great soil and good climate and weather conditions.

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bg/mo

12-12-2012 18:41:47




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-08-2012 20:17:53  
you were prob getting all the flak about you hay cause it was so cheap. too cheap allways raises questions



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GordoSD

12-10-2012 07:55:06




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-08-2012 20:17:53  
What kind of hay do you have? How much did those 5x5 bales weigh? How did you advertise those small square bales? I sell about 1200 ssbs a year.I could sell three times that but my stackers grew up and left home, which was just a 1/3 mile down the road. So I only contract for those who will come and get it as it slides out the baler.



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Jason S.

12-10-2012 11:00:05




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to GordoSD, 12-10-2012 07:55:06  
Its mostly fescue and clover. I'd say the bales weigh around 900lbs.



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GordoSD

12-11-2012 18:13:26




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-10-2012 11:00:05  
GET RID OF THAT AND GET ALFLAFA.og mix. Sell those rounds for $80.



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rrlund

12-09-2012 11:04:19




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-08-2012 20:17:53  
Why not run a few cows and use the hay that you bale?



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Jason S.

12-09-2012 15:53:49




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to rrlund, 12-09-2012 11:04:19  
Truthfully...a lot of the fences around there are not in good shape anymore. I really don"t want to build new fence all the way around the 45 acres.



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old

12-08-2012 21:19:23




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-08-2012 20:17:53  
East TN as in where??? I lived in Athens for a few years back in thew day. As for your problem well sorry but you need to learn to hold out and do it your way and be able to store it the right way as in in a barn. Hay will keep if you store it right and last years hay ya is not as good as this years but will keep a year or 2 if stored right. I only do hay and so far with feeding my own animals I can say what I sell pays for what I use plus the cost to bale most of the time and with doing round labor is no big deal since the machines do the work I just sit on them

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Jason S.

12-09-2012 06:35:45




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to old, 12-08-2012 21:19:23  
I live in Greeneville about 3 miles from the North Carolina state line. Somebody had asked about equipment, about the only things I don"t have is a combine and a corn picker. Although I am fixin to buy a corn picker even if I don"t raise corn because I found a John Deere that mounts to my model A. But I"m willing to buy whatever equipment I need. From what I"ve read it seems like maybe I should split part of my land for corn and keep the rest for hay? When we picked corn when I was growing up my we used a snapper, my grandfather believed in leaving the husk on the ears. Is there any difference in the sell ability of corn as far as husk on, husk off, and shelled? Thanks for all your all"s help. I"m sorry I didn"t post where I was earlier. I wasn"t thinking on that one. I tend to do that sometimes.

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old

12-09-2012 09:21:35




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-09-2012 06:35:45  
I can not say much of any thing about growing corn since I have never done so but where I live that is almost NO crop land other then hay due to having lots of rock in the soil so plowing much of any of it is next to impossible. I can say this you have to have deep pockets just to buy seed corn these days since the last I heard a bag of seed corn cost well over $100



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GordoSD

12-10-2012 07:45:18




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to old, 12-09-2012 09:21:35  
When was that? Will be $330 per bag for triple stack this spring.



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GordoSD

12-10-2012 07:45:06




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to old, 12-09-2012 09:21:35  
When was that? Will be $330 per bag for triple stack this spring.



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old

12-10-2012 08:56:17




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to GordoSD, 12-10-2012 07:45:06  
Read what I said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I did say WELL OVER $100 isn't $330 well over $100 think dude



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bg/mo

12-08-2012 18:26:37




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-08-2012 06:35:39  
thats like asking for the winning lotto numbers.Its going to depend on where you are located, what the weather is for that particular year, and how much work you want to do. Just a question tho , If the hay is getting to be a hassle ,what about equipment to raise crops? do you already have it.For hay to be less of a hassle you mite need to get different customers , they will work on your nerves sometimes!

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GordoSD

12-08-2012 14:17:40




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-08-2012 06:35:39  
DAiry quality alfalfa rarely sell for less than 200/T. In a good year you should ger 4-5T per acre. No planting after first year. No spraying unlees you get some insecrs, just a little p and k each spring. And if you choose you should sell 50 ssb for 4.00 all year long.



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Jim SC

12-08-2012 09:28:14




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-08-2012 06:35:39  
We farm 50 acres part-time and rotate corn, beans and wheat. We made good money on all three this year but choosing to plant several crops provides one with some income even if one or two fail. We did hay for a number of years and found that some years there was so much hay made that we couldn't make a profit. Then other years, hay was poor but then, so was ours. Our opinion of raising hay is that it only makes sense if you feed your own cows.
(My 2 cents, may be wrong)

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paul

12-08-2012 09:01:31




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-08-2012 06:35:39  
Your location, soil type, rainfall, and ground slope all make a difference, so no one can help you with what you've provided.

Hay is profitable, but more work.

Corn is generally most profitable these days.

Soybeans do ok. Less cost, less harvest hassle, but less income.

Wheat is good in dry areas.

--->Paul



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old

12-08-2012 08:46:25




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-08-2012 06:35:39  
Hay is most likely the easiest to do plus easy to sell. Most other crops take a lot more equipment to harvest plus the mark is very limited. Of course you could also do a truck garden but that is very labor intensive



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Eric in IL

12-08-2012 06:59:27




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 Re: What is a good crop to sell? in reply to Jason S., 12-08-2012 06:35:39  
Much would depend on if you are trying to raise crops near the equator or one of the polar regions.



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