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Old 26th September 2006, 09:13 AM   #1
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Making Lucerne Hay

Hi everybody I am a long time reader on this site but only newly registered as hopefully I am only a couple of months away from being a LSBer! Really enjoy reading everyones posts and I have learnt a lot!

I have a query for people who make your own hay! Have found 20 acres of land at a bargain price. We only need 8 acres (for horses at the mo) but this is roughly the same price as other smaller acre blocks we have looked at! At the moment it is all planted in a healthy crop of lucerne. My million questions are:
* how economically viable would it be to buy the bigger block and just keep a 10-12acre paddock solely in Lucerne, while returning the rest to pasture?
* Is lucerne a temperamental crop?
* Roughly how many small bales do you get per acre?
* How much does it cost per bale to make?
* When do you cut it and how many cuts could you get?

Any advice might just help me get my dream property!! Email me on artex@kol.co.nz if you prefer not to post. A million thanks in advance
Old 26th September 2006, 11:22 AM   #2
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Hi EDLC & welcome to the site,GO for the bigger block & plant some of it back into grass if you want & leave half in lucerne. There is a big demand for lucerne hay from people who have Alpaca's & Lama's.There is good quality feed in lucerne hay & it will grow for a long time & puts roots down a long way.You won't regret going fore the bigger block.As for cutting etc. it would be best to ask a hay contractor or ring a grain & seed merchant or farm supply stores.
Old 26th September 2006, 11:57 AM   #3
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Lurcerne is a great feed but is a bit more work compared to grass etc. We have about 300 acres in lucerne and make it into balage. Our first cut will be in about two weeks time - depending on the weather/summer we will get 2-3 more cuts off it. It will be cut as it just starts to flower.
Depending on your location you may find that making hay off the first cut is difficult as the weather is not dry or hot enough to get it fit for baling. It may be an option to make the first cut into balage and sell or keep for your own stock. Cost per bale for balage or hay will vary with where you are etc so ask your local contractors.
How much you get off it will vary with the year and how good the lucerne paddock is. Last year was a very bad aphid year in Canterbury and yields were about 2/3 of normal. This years looks good at this stage.
If you have sheep farmers nearby you may also find it worthwhile to sell it "standing" for a farmer to graze a mob of lambs - a farm consultatant can espimate the feed available and therefore the price.

Lots of options but generally lucerne is a high quality feed and therefore always in demand.

I love animals...they're delicious
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Old 26th September 2006, 12:13 PM   #4
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... but, in my opinion, not good for horses or goats, and needs different fertiliser than grass, but the fertiliser company will help you with that. Lucerne bales are about twice the weight of hay bales, if you are planning to lift them manually.
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Old 26th September 2006, 01:44 PM   #5
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Hi Edlc

Welcome to the site I can't help with your lucerne questions but cowvet seems to have covered it anyway...

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Old 27th September 2006, 09:12 AM   #6
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Hey guys, thanks for all your awesome replies (and welcomes!) - they have definately helped. The way land prices are going everywhere I can't see how we can go wrong at this price. thanks again and will let you know how we get on
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