Growing and keeping your own grass

True North

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Yorkshire
30 acres is a decent skelp of ground, @True North should be farming it/managing it themselves, not just looking out the window at it.

They should be encouraged to start doing the straightforward things first, like hay turning.
I've mentioned some other things in my post above.

You'll also have to manage weed control, the cheapest way is with an appropriate chemical and a knapsack sprayer, go round the edges in late spring and make sure you nuke all the docks, thistles and rushes if present. You'll need a qualification to do that - PA1 and PA6 which courses (1 day each) you can attend at an Ag college.

Yes, the costs are mounting up, but you'll have to start somewhere.
Sounds like you wont stop at making hay, you'll be feeding some of it to your own stock eventually.

Best wishes, I started 20 years ago from a zero knowledge base as well.
Thanks so much for this Choochter. It seems to me that there are plenty queueing up to do the grass for us, and not so keen when we mention having a go ourselves. I definitely don't want to look at it out the windowm I want to learn and have a bit of a go if we are doing it.

We've had it topped and farmer locally happy that combined with that it will be controlled with grazing. We can spray if not.

I think there should be a separate post for newbies with people such as yourself just offering a bit of encouragement as having done it first hand.

I will look at those courses, thanks again.
 

True North

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Yorkshire
I think the first thing I'd do is get a tractor then look at PH and lime where needed and then get a Harrow or aerator. Get the grass the best it can be before throwing money at trying to make hay.
Depending how old it is you might need to reseed some of it as well.
Yes we thought about the PH recently, we've got a tractor and some other bits we need to do some work on.

We feel and are told we have got good grass but I agree we should test it at some point but not overly concerned with needing to do that immediately.
 

True North

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Yorkshire
I mess about with around 50 acre of grass, we make hay on about 30 acres of it and run store lambs on it
We make a good return on the hay 1 in every 5 years, the other 4 you are lucky to be able to buy next years fertiliser, never mind spraying and fencing
Our small farming enterprise if anything costs us if you really dig down into it, it doesn’t pay bills anyway
So why do you do it then?

i'm just saying rather than let someone else have the profit (if any) we should seek to try and do that ourselves.

I am not under any illusions about money making or income from farms. Simply that what is ours, should benefit us and, as look out the window at it, I could learn and get it doing for something for us as a farm and our animals.

I have another job that pays the bills, but obviously it would be nice to have something coming back in to cover some of what is going out in terms of upkeep to buildings and fields/fencing.
 

ewald

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Mid-Lincs
Do the time critical work yourself and leave the rest to a contractor. Contract out the mowing. Contract out the baling. Grass cut without tedding will stay fresh for longer than tedded hay. Ted and row up during a fine spell and the contractor could bale that acreage in passing between bigger jobs.

Buy second hand kit wisely and look after it or repair it. It will sell for what you've paid for it.

Judging when hay is fit to bale is not rocket science for those prepared to learn, but some can't or won't.
I always think that the baling is the most time critical operation - miss that afternoon when it is ready and miss the quality altogether.
If nothing else, get a baler.
Haybobs are cheap, so get one.
Contract out the mowing.
 

DrWazzock

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire
A lot hinges on variety of grass. Old meadow grasses will dry in a few days. Ryegrass seems to take forever.
All of it needs a day longer than either my patience or the weather window.
When it’s fluffing up like candy floss out the back of the Tedder and doesn’t collapse back down again it’s truly fit to bale. A pleasing but quite rare sight.
 

Dry Rot

Member
Livestock Farmer
A lot hinges on variety of grass. Old meadow grasses will dry in a few days. Ryegrass seems to take forever.
All of it needs a day longer than either my patience or the weather window.
When it’s fluffing up like candy floss out the back of the Tedder and doesn’t collapse back down again it’s truly fit to bale. A pleasing but quite rare sight.
I was told to look at the nodes and crack them open with a thumb nail. If they are still damp, the hay isn't fit. Also, watch the swath as it moves in the breeze. I agree about the species of grass, but then horsey folk don't know how to buy hay anyway!

As for old machinery, both my tractors are appreciating in value and the four rotor Lely was cheap because the mushrooms were clogged with grass and the tines were out of sync, neither a difficult fix.

So far, my contractor hasn't let me down. It doesn't take long to bale when he has two new McHales. I've a Welger small baler but still working out how a one man band gets the bales inside before the next shower. 4x4s can be left outside, for a while anyway.
 

ARW

Member
Location
Yorkshire
So why do you do it then?

i'm just saying rather than let someone else have the profit (if any) we should seek to try and do that ourselves.

I am not under any illusions about money making or income from farms. Simply that what is ours, should benefit us and, as look out the window at it, I could learn and get it doing for something for us as a farm and our animals.

I have another job that pays the bills, but obviously it would be nice to have something coming back in to cover some of what is going out in terms of upkeep to buildings and fields/fencing.
I own some of the land, some is rented, it ties in with my wife’s sheep, make hay just because we have to much grass in spring then fatten lambs through winter. It’s a hobby
 

andybk

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Mendips Somerset
I always think that the baling is the most time critical operation - miss that afternoon when it is ready and miss the quality altogether.
If nothing else, get a baler.
Haybobs are cheap, so get one.
Contract out the mowing.
10 years ago they were practically giving them away , good one ,like hens teeth these days , still a few NHs about in sheds . A baler will hold its value kept dry , good investment long term
 

Dry Rot

Member
Livestock Farmer
10 years ago they were practically giving them away , good one ,like hens teeth these days , still a few NHs about in sheds . A baler will hold its value kept dry , good investment long term
It's not the scarcity of balers that bothers me but the scarcity of stupid people who will handle them!🤣 They don't call them idiot bricks for nothing!
 
depends where in yorkshire you are - but yes theirs likely to be little money in it for you, I did much the same and to be honest It means earning £2p an hour doing it your self.
Selling to horse folk, easy to sing underwater - they dont do logic and youll spend hours and hours chasing small amounts of money, your better selling big bale in reality.
30 acres isnt really worth the fuel to just bale, unless its the chap next door.

Where in yorkshire are you? Nearer Leeds you may get abit more and their are a few of us with equipment that do smaller bits.

If your wanting in, best bet is cut, and graze - sheep after the cut, you may break even on 30 ac or even a small profit but for hours put in we are talking £2 or 3.
dont put a horse near any land you want to make money out of in your life time, a year of horse takes a decade to fix.
 

True North

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Yorkshire
depends where in yorkshire you are - but yes theirs likely to be little money in it for you, I did much the same and to be honest It means earning £2p an hour doing it your self.
Selling to horse folk, easy to sing underwater - they dont do logic and youll spend hours and hours chasing small amounts of money, your better selling big bale in reality.
30 acres isnt really worth the fuel to just bale, unless its the chap next door.

Where in yorkshire are you? Nearer Leeds you may get abit more and their are a few of us with equipment that do smaller bits.

If your wanting in, best bet is cut, and graze - sheep after the cut, you may break even on 30 ac or even a small profit but for hours put in we are talking £2 or 3.
dont put a horse near any land you want to make money out of in your life time, a year of horse takes a decade to fix.

West is best.

Yeah not looking at hourly rate, thats bad enough when I think of my childcare hours.

Just the bigger picture for the farm and us really as a family, just us working the land and getting the benefit.

We do plenty big bales, and aiming for 2 cuts this year. We are on a few facebook sites for NYks smallholders and we got our tractor off ebay (Kibuto) from a good lad, decent condition and all fixable, with good care taken of it will re-sale well and hold value as a pp said.

Yeah we are looking at sheep and yes had too much ragwort last year, we think due to horses that had to be topped and now getting grazed off, looks way better this year.
 

devonbeef

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon UK
Its not that difficult. You just spend around £10k on some second hand kit that will need at least £1k a year spent on it.
You mow it when the neighbour mows his in June and then the weather changes, so he puts his in wrap.
You spend the next 3 weeks turning yours until it goes black and then pile it in a corner of the field to rot down.

Easy job hay making. In this area there are lots of people trying to sell last years hay to make space for this years as well.

You sell it to the horsey people, who tell you they will give you the cash when you bring the next load. They get the next load off someone else!!
and every year you will get less off it because nothing is being put back on, or you spent big money for fert at 850 tonne
 

Mixedupfarmer

Member
Location
Norfolk
and every year you will get less off it because nothing is being put back on, or you spent big money for fert at 850 tonne
Cannot see how, at current Fert prices making hay will pay. Best option would be to get some ewes or let for sheep grazing, as it won’t mine the nutrients out of the land, and Is more likely to earn a profit, unless it is all small bale hay / haylage sold direct to horse people, payment on collection / delivery. Both options are hard work
 

choochter

Member
Location
aberdeenshire
There could be lots of options on 30 acres, I'm assuming they are at the start of a journey and full of enthusiasm. If its all in grass they'll need some basic equipment anyway which can get got quite cheaply and will last a long time.

One of the first things I bought 20 years ago was a hay turner, I've looked after it and its still going strong with a few parts replaced along the way. I just turn hay/haylage with it, don't row up - the balerman prefers to do the rowing up.

Same with the mower, its 18 years with me, looked after it, and it was only last year it had a minor trip to machinery A&E but I only lost a couple of days mowing. I prefer to do the mowing myself as I can decide when to go and how much to mow.

Mind you, if it was me on 30ac and I was at home most of the time, I'd still start a pedigree herd of cattle, if there was buildings as well. 10ac silage, 20ac grazing. What fun that would be!
 

Goweresque

Member
Location
North Wilts
Hay making to sell the output is fine to start with, its a bit of an adventure, taking on the elements, finding new customers etc etc. But it does become a complete arse ache once you've been doing it for a few years, and had to deal with a few crappy summers. Also remember you won't be able to make any long term commitments in your life for June and July every year, because you never know when that window of decent weather is going to open up and when it does you need to hit it. And while everyone else is sat in their gardens having a few beers and a BBQ on a blazing Friday or Saturday evening, you'll be covered in dust and grease working until late to get your hay off the field and under cover before the rain hits during the night.

Happy haymaking!
 

theboytheboy

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Portsmouth
depends where in yorkshire you are - but yes theirs likely to be little money in it for you, I did much the same and to be honest It means earning £2p an hour doing it your self.
Selling to horse folk, easy to sing underwater - they dont do logic and youll spend hours and hours chasing small amounts of money, your better selling big bale in reality.
30 acres isnt really worth the fuel to just bale, unless its the chap next door.

Where in yorkshire are you? Nearer Leeds you may get abit more and their are a few of us with equipment that do smaller bits.

If your wanting in, best bet is cut, and graze - sheep after the cut, you may break even on 30 ac or even a small profit but for hours put in we are talking £2 or 3.
dont put a horse near any land you want to make money out of in your life time, a year of horse takes a decade to fix.
Depends how you manage the grazing .

We have up to 30 horses grazing our grass and still get a good cut (if not 2) from the majority of it. It's good clean hay.
 

Dry Rot

Member
Livestock Farmer
Depends how you manage the grazing .

We have up to 30 horses grazing our grass and still get a good cut (if not 2) from the majority of it. It's good clean hay.
And get your money up front. All horse muck was harrowed in here, then the field rested. Horse muck is good fertiliser and sunlight/drying kills worm eggs.
 
Depends how you manage the grazing .

We have up to 30 horses grazing our grass and still get a good cut (if not 2) from the majority of it. It's good clean hay.
also depends where in the country - Down south less rain and lighter land often - This area, heavy clay (used to be used for bricks), wet (70% more rain than london) 4 week shorter growing season -
and yes management - I find too many horse folk simply understand nothing at all about grazing management.
 
We have 20 acres and I'm having a bit of a miserable time with hay atm.

I'd keep your current deal, let the cost,risk and problem be someone else's if they're happy doing it.

Either rent out land your not using to a local that needs grass or buy a topper or both.
 

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HSENI names new farm safety champions

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

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The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) alongside the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), has named new farm safety champions and commended the outstanding work on farm safety that has been carried out in the farming community in the last 20 years.

Two of these champions are Malcom Downey, retired principal inspector for the Agri/Food team in HSENI and Harry Sinclair, current chair of the Farm Safety Partnership and former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

Improving farm safety is the key aim of HSENI’s and the FSP’s work and...
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