How Much Hay Per Acre? Knowing Your Yield

dry hay

Many people who want to shift to earning money through farming wish to know if starting a hay farm is viable. They have in mind the main question is how much hay per acre they can expect to get. Producing hay is ideal for first-time or minor farmers as it requires less capital.

Some farmers would also opt to grow hay instead of other cash crops simply because, when done correctly, it can help them get a steady income and learn more about how life on the farm works. It is also ideal for those who own farms in areas with significant demand for hay.

What Is Hay?

fedding herb with hay

Hay is grass, but it also herbaceous plants or legumes that need to cut, dried, and stored as fodder for livestock. Although it can be fed to small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs, it is the primary food for horses, cattle, sheep, and goats. On rare occasions, it can also be given to pigs.

Hay is essential simply because many animals are grazed in the fields so that they can be fed. But when the pasture is not enough or when the animals cannot graze because of the weather, hay is the only thing that can help them survive. Hay is also used as animal fodder when the pasture is too rich.

hay farm

This product is also essential when there is a drought or when animals have to be kept inside the barn. Hay can provide 100% of the animal’s fodder needs. It can be composed of grasses like ryegrass, timothy, Bermuda grass, orchard grass, and legumes like alfalfa and clover.

You can also cut green oats, wheat, and barley so you can dry them and turn them into hay. With that said, different farms with different soil conditions can easily make hay simply because they have many options to choose from. The usefulness and the diversity of how to make it is what makes hay unique.

How Can Many Bales Of Hay Harvest Per Acre?

hay bales

The amount of hay you can get will depend on where your farm is located and what you are using to make the hay. Most farms, in Oregon for example, will be able to get anywhere between 62-165 bales of hay per acre. However, they only get as much as 60-80 bales of hay per acre in Florida.

Factors Influence The Quantity Of Hay An Acre Can Produce

  • The type of herbage that you plant on your farm
  • The age of the plant when you harvested them
  • The method you use for the fertilization of the herbage
  • And the hay quality and bale weight
hay bales in sunset

Of course, you should also consider the quality of the soil on your farm, how you care for them, and how good the weather is. The farmer should also know when to cut the hay. Depending on the herbage you are growing, you should consider cutting them early or when the seed heads are not yet ripe.

These factors can also directly affect the yield. For example, if the farmer has favorable soil and weather conditions and cuts it when the leaf is at its maximum, he can expect a great harvest. Low productivity hay pastures can produce 65 bales, while high productivity fields can produce 165 bales.

A Closer Look At The Yield

hay bale rolls

When it comes to hay farming, the farmer does not have to spend a lot of money to start and maintain it. In most cases, the farmer will have to pay the bulk of his capital to purchase different equipment such as a baler, a tractor, a mower, and a bale wagon for around $52,000.

You will also have to spend money on seeds, but because hay does not have to be planted every year, you will save a lot of money from not having to buy additional equipment and more seeds. You can then get money depending on how good the harvest is and how good your hay quality is.

For example, a small square bale of hay would sell at least $4.50 per piece, especially if made from good hay. The price, however, can also fluctuate depending on whether you are going to deliver it yourself or have it picked up by your clients. You can also ask for a higher price if supplies are scarce.

Conclusion

green hay

Hay is an essential commodity for farmers and ranchers who focus on raising livestock to produce a wide array of products. Hay come from a wide variety of herbages, and it is mainly use to feed animals in case they cannot  graze or when the pasture is not ideal for them.

The amount of hay that an acre can produce will depend on many factors. But in general, low-quality farms can produce less than a hundred bales of hay per acre. But high-quality farms with good herbage, soil, and weather conditions can easily make more than 100 bales of hay per acre.

Hay farming is an excellent option for new farmers or those who are not yet ready to try cash crops that require a lot of time and attention. Since it will only demand a little capital to get things started, and because you do not have to plant it every year. It can easily provide a steady flow of income.

How much hay does an acre of your farm yield? Share your harvest results or your hay farming tips with us in the comment section below.

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