Making Hay with Old Iron
If you are new to farming, chances are you are
probably on a tight budget. I know this, because I have experienced this in my
own life. After you pay for the land, perhaps a house, barns, fencing,
equipment, etc., you are most likely not going to have a large sum of money
left over to "play with". This can be
frustrating when it comes to having to purchase a tractor (or two, in many
cases), and the implements farm the land.
Haying is a necessary part of farm life especially if
you have any livestock. It can also be an avenue of income you can generate for
your farm. If hay making is going to be a large part of your operation, you
don't have to break the bank with equipment procurement. Honestly, quality
older equipment is often the only option for a new farmer on a strict budget.
Most hay baling can be completed with a single
tractor, although two makes things much smoother. The main tractor pulling the
baler and a possible wagon should have at least 35 horsepower, preferably 40-50
horsepower for pulling heavier wagons. A second tractor with around 20
horsepower is perfect for cutting, and tedding.
Personally, I have seen a few old timers use an old Farmall Super A or
Ford 8N for this task, and they work superbly. Used Farmall Super As can sell
for anywhere between $1500-$5000 depending on condition. You can buy a decent
40-50 horsepower used for between $5000-$10000.
Square balers are most likely going to be the most
affordable for a new farmer. I have used John Deere, New Holland and Massey
Ferguson balers for many years, and have never had any issue with one. You will
most likely pay at least $5,000 for a decent baler. If you are a first time
buyer of a used hay baler, I strongly suggest bringing someone with you who is
familiar with balers, to check out any machinery before you purchase.
A word of caution on the purchase and use of older
farm machinery, it does require more upkeep. This partially offset by the much
lower upfront cost, but it is inevitable that older equipment will break down,
and when it does it can cost a good amount of cash. Thoroughly examining any
equipment before you purchase can make a huge difference between adding quality
equipment to your farm and adding more stress to your checking account.
In closing, for the new farmer older equipment is
often the only choice when outfitting your farm for a haying operation. Be wise
and choose equipment carefully, there are good deals out there. Be safe and