We got our first cutting of alfalfa for the year. It ended up being a whole lot better quality than last year’s, which we’re happy about. Best of all, its goat approved, so I’d have to say it’s a huge success compared to last year…
One of my YouTube subscribers asked me this very good question:
I very much want this in my life. How much acreage is that? If you’re unsure, you can use the Google Maps Area Calculator (just google that). How much do you pay the disc guy and the bail guy? How will these two harvests impact your feed bill for your livestock? Thanks for sharing!
Here’s my answer:
It’s about an acre. We actually worked it ourselves with a small plow and tractor. We had a small disc and planned on smoothing it down with that, but our neighbor drove by with his big tractor and disc and asked if we’d like him to disc it for us. He didn’t accept any payment for it because he said it wasn’t that much to work and he was driving right by. The guy who swathed and bailed it charged $30 for swathing and $1.50 per bale to bale it. So this recent cutting and baling worked out to $138 altogether, which is $1.93 a bale. Last year’s hay harvest didn’t help as much as I was hoping with our feed bill because the first harvest had a lot of weeds and got rained on before we could get it put up. We were only able to use the second cutting for feeding, which was a lot better, because there was more alfalfa and fewer weeds. It still wasn’t the best quality so we couldn’t rely on it solely. We also had our pasture swathed and baled last year, the bales from that were ok, but not top quality. The year before last we had bought a large round bale of good grass hay and had only used half of it. So last winter we fed the rest of that along with our own hay and managed to not need to buy any more. The bad cutting didn’t go to waste and actually helped us save money in other areas. We’ve been able to use it for bedding for the goats and chickens. Normally we use straw and pay $3 a bale for it. I also used it to mulch the garden and it’s worked great for that. It takes alfalfa several years to really get established so it’s normal for the first several years to not get a good stand on it. We’d probably have a better crop if we’d spray but we’re trying to avoid doing that if possible. My husband has been doing some research and has found a spray that we could use on it, but it has to be sprayed late fall after the last cutting. We’re still on the fence about whether we want to do that or not. It will depend on what the rest of the cuttings this year bring.