We recently cut and baled about 24 acres of annual ryegrass (took advantage of the dry week we had). Those 24 acres were our “holding” pastures, since we had some grazing studies going on last winter, when the time came to pull animals off, we kept them in those pastures to “hold” them between studies, so there was a lot of rotation in and out of those pastures additionally, we applied about 60 lb of N to those pastures back in February. Cattle came off of studies in April and those pastures were just left to grow since we had shipped just about everything off at the end of April, rather than waste the forage, we opted to cut it for hay. I used that opportunity to note what it cost us to make that hay. In a nutshell:
Labor to cut hay 6 h at $15/hour $90
Labor to rake and bale hay ( 6 hours at $15/hour) $90
Bale supplies and maintenance to baler (oil, lube, twine, etc.) $150
Fuel for tractors (45 gallons at 1.88/gallon) $85
We baled up 35 bales so a cost per bale was ($415/35) $11.85
That is not counting any wear and tear on the equipment or tractors.
Interesting to think about next time hay prices are discussed.