Making your own hay is a great way to make use of the spring excess of forage. It’s also a great way to make your place look better. Plus, if you have your own equipment, you get the fun of dealing with more machinery.
But besides that, there are some really great reasons to buy hay, not make it. Here they are…
- Buy hay and you can pick and choose what you buy. It’s possible to buy better hay than you could make.
- Put your money in assets that increase in value rather than in machinery that rusts.
- Let somebody else deal with broke stuff and maintenance.
- Avoid hours and hours listening to diesel engines clatter.
- Avoid bouncing around all over the place.
- Bringing hay to your place is, in essence, importing minerals from the producer’s place to yours.
- Buy hay as a source of organic matter and fertility.
- Eliminate the need for huge barns and buildings for storage, because you can…
- Buy only what you need.
- Keep more cattle, as you will have more of your grass in the field instead of in the barn.
On top of all that, in many cases, hay is cut and baled on shares. So, if you opt to hire in a local hay cutter instead of owning your own equipment, the hay guy gets paid in a percentage of what is cut. This means that a percentage of your pasture’s grass will leave your ranch and for a sustainable operation the very last thing you want to do is to sell hay off your farm. That is a disaster, as you lose the minerals in the hay. Some of those are simple to put back, many are impossible to put back.
I read that at one time it was illegal in Britain to sell hay off a place. They knew a long time ago that to sell hay is to impoverish some to the benefit of others.
In our part of the world you can, in just a few years, watch pastures change from mixed grasses to pure stands of broom sedge. Broom sedge is referred to as poverty grass. All you have to do to get to that point is just haul hay away from the field for a few years. That’s all it takes.
You can build the soil by moving cattle regularly. You can destroy the soil by overgrazing and especially by hauling hay off a field.
It’s better to reduce or eliminate the feeding of hay altogether.
Short of that, it is beneficial, especially to the Tiny Rancher, to buy hay instead of making it.