Country Smallholding - - Ask The Experts -

QWe have a seven-acre field which we’re not graz­ing as we haven’t got any live­stock yet. Our farmer neigh­bour mowed the field and made it into hay, which he then kept. This has worked out fine for us this year, but in fu­ture, should we charge him for the hay?


Kings­ley says: It sounds like you are both happy with this year’s ar­range­ment, but let’s have a look at what it would cost you to make your own hay or pay a con­trac­tor to make the hay for you. To make hay you’d need to buy a trac­tor, a mower, a hay­bob/turner and a baler. You’d then need a trailer to take the hay off the field to an un­der­cover shed or barn. We are talk­ing many thou­sands, in­deed tens of thou­sands of pounds for all this kit, and if you don’t have an un­der­cover place to store your hay, you’re go­ing to have to build one (a tarpaulin won’t re­ally cut the mus­tard). You’d also need years of ex­pe­ri­ence and skill to make good hay. To buy in the ser­vices of a con­trac­tor to make your hay for you, ex­pect to pay ap­prox­i­mately £ 35 per hour which equates to around £400-£ 500 for mow­ing, rak­ing and bal­ing your seven acre field. De­pend­ing on the weather, your soil and qual­ity of grass, I’d ex­pect you to achieve 350 to 700 small bales from your field. If lo­cally your hay can be sold for £ 2/£ 3 per bale you could make £700 to £ 2,100. On bal­ance, £ 200 of good will (the dif­fer­ence be­tween a con­tac­tor charge of £ 500 and £700 worth of hay) seems rea­son­able, con­sid­er­ing there are likely to be many fu­ture oc­ca­sions

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