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How Much Do Hay Farmers Make Per Acre Yearly? [Profit Margin]

Hay Farming Business

The answer to the above question will depend on a wide range of factors such as location, quality of the hay, market demand, yield per acre, production costs, as well as the particular specie of hay being cultivated.

However, have it in mind that hay farming is a complex agricultural endeavor that has no fixed or universal income figures. Aside from that, changes in weather conditions and commodity prices have a way of massively impacting profitability.

While investing time and resources into the planting of hay can make it successful, note that farmers can leverage certain methods to further attain success in the business. Ideally, hay farmers need to examine all their hay bales on an individual basis.

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Bales tend to include different materials, and based on their composition, they will fit different markets better than others. Another very important thing in this line of business is for farmers to be fully conversant with the markets they intend to sell to.

Having an insight into the price of hay allows you to fine-tune production and transportation methods to make turning a profit very achievable.

In some places in the United States, hay farmers earn around $200 to $400 per acre, although this can be quite higher in areas with high demand or specialized hay varieties. Nevertheless, unfavorable market conditions, lower-quality hay, or higher production costs can reduce the income per acre.

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Factors That Influence How Much Hay Farmers Make Per Acre

  1. Hay Species

This is one factor that will impact how much you can make in this business. Depending on the crops you’re growing, you can expect either a bigger yield or a smaller one. For instance, industry reports have it that clover, Lucerne, and similar legumes barely have a very high yield.

Have it in mind that you could plant the same amount of fescue and timothy and get more cuttings to work with than you do with those former two species.

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The exact specie you choose will most often depend on the relative feed value scale. This scale is used to note where silages, grass hays, and legumes rank on the quality scale. According to reports, legumes such as clover and Lucerne rank quite highly.

This is more or less an issue of quality over quantity, as such you will want to decide which is more important to your business and your customers.

  1. Weather and Climate

You have to realize that hay needs adequate water, as such in drought conditions, your crops can dry out and die. However, if you have continuous rain, the deluge could flood the crops and kill them too. Another factor that will impede crop growth is sunlight.

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To ensure that your crops can grow very well, you will need as many days of direct sunlight as possible during the active growing season. Note that if the growing season is filled with overcast or dark days, then your yield will not be very encouraging.

  1. Fertilizer

Also, note that the exact fertilizer you use for your crops also plays a massive role in the number of bales of hay you can harvest per acre. You have to make sure that the soil you plant your hay is organically-rich. Also, add fertilizers to the crops but make sure it features balanced amounts of macronutrients like potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen.

  1. Plant Stage When You Cut the Crop

It is possible to cut hay three times or more during its active growing season. According to experts, the very first cut remains the best as the hay possesses the most fiber. Aside from that, this is also when you’ll see tassels, which are hay flowers.

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In addition, the stems are thickest in the first cut. When it gets to the second cut, the hay features less fiber, but it is higher in protein.

At this point, it is also easier to cut as its texture is softer. The third cut of hay is thicker and greener still, with few if any stems and seed heads. The fiber content is at its lowest at this time. Based on where the hay plant is when you cut it, you may end up with a good yield or a poor one.

Owing to that, many farmers tend to calculate the average yield over a couple of seasons and not just across a single season.

  1. Growing Season Duration

In many parts of the globe, growing hay is much easier and you can attain better yield. For example, Australia has conditions that are considered appropriate for hay, which is why Australia grows and exports so much hay and other hay-related products.

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In most places, the hay-growing seasons are shorter, and farmers find it difficult to cut the hay more than twice before the season wraps up.

Profit Margin Per Acre for Hay Farmers

It can be quite difficult to come up with the exact profit margin per acre for hay farmers especially when you have to take into consideration numerous variables that include input costs, yield, market prices, and efficiency of operations. Nevertheless, if you are looking to invest in this line of business or you already own a hay farm, it is recommended you aim for between 10% to 30%. Howbeit, this also will depend on the factors mentioned above.

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Hay farming is a complex agricultural endeavor that has no fixed or universal income figures. Aside from that, changes in weather conditions and commodity prices have a way of massively impacting profit. Indeed, it can be quite costly to produce and ship hay; however, it is not impossible to generate good revenue from it.