If you are new to farming, then chances are you are probably on a tight budget. After you pay for the land and perhaps a house, barns, fencing, equipment, etc., you are most likely not going to have a large sum of money left over to “play with.” This can be frustrating when it comes to having to purchase a tractor (or two, in many cases) and the implements to farm the land.
Haying is a necessary part of farm life, especially if you have any livestock. But, it can also be an avenue of income for your farm. If haymaking is going to be a large part of your operation, you don’t have to break the bank with equipment procurement. Honestly, older quality equipment is often the only option for a new farmer on a strict budget.
Most hay bailing can be completed with a single tractor; although, two makes things much smoother. The main tractor pulling the bailer and a possible wagon should have at least 35 horsepower, preferably 40-50 horsepower for pulling heavier wagons. A second tractor with around 20 horsepower is perfect for cutting and tedding. Personally, I have seen a few old timers use an old Farmall Super A or Ford 8N for this task, and they work superbly. Used Farmall Super As can sell for $1,500-$5,000 depending on their condition. You can buy a decent 40-50 horsepower used for $5,000-$10,000.
Square bailers are most likely going to be the most affordable for a new farmer. I have used John Deere, New Holland, and Massey Ferguson bailers for many years. I have never had an issue with any of them. You will likely pay at least $5,000 for a decent bailer. If you are a first time buyer of a used hay bailer, I strongly suggest bringing someone with you who is familiar with bailers to check out any machinery before you purchase.
A word of caution on the purchase and use of older farm machinery, it does require more upkeep. This is partially offset by the much lower upfront cost. But it is inevitable that older equipment will break down. When it does, it can cost a good amount of cash. Thoroughly examining any equipment before you purchase can make a huge difference between adding quality equipment to your farm and adding more stress to your checking account.
In closing, for the new farmer, older equipment is often the only choice when outfitting your farm for a haying operation. Be wise and choose equipment carefully. There are good deals out there. Be safe and happy farming!
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