The past week or so, I've sure seen a lot of hay being cut; some even went through some wash cycles. I, too, had some down and had planned on baling it up in small bales until rainy-looking weather made me as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room of rocking chairs, so it quickly got rolled up. I think every producer stresses over making hay at least part of the time.
I'm often asked the questions, "to bale or not bale" or "should I put up hay or just buy what I need"? Good questions. I think everyone, no matter how efficient or type of grazing system, should have some hay on hand. It is your insurance plan; your contingency plan. Feeding less hay is a good thing, though; at least it should be - meaning that you hopefully are grazing more.
Smaller operations, especially ones with less than 15 cows or equivalents, would have a difficult time justifying owning hay equipment. That depreciating investment would probably be best spent on improving the grazing efficiency of the farm or on fertility. I have to be careful here not to step on toes, but I've seen people buying a lot of hay equipment so they can stop buying hay and perhaps even "sell" some hay. While they really could have gotten away from using very little hay, they have spent their money on iron and now try and mine their soils to help pay for that equipment. Can you really sell that hay for enough to replace the nutrients and pay for labor and equipment? Not likely.
To read the entire article, link here.
How is your haying season going? Do you bale your own or purchase your winter hay supplies?