Hay over here!

4 09 2011

I am so excited! Today, we are making a four hour round trip to Chehalis to pick up 2 round bales of hay for the goats and chickens. The reason I am so excited? I no longer will have to pay the local “feed store” (which is like the Whole Paycheck of feed stores) $22 for a 60 pound bale of hay.

The purchase of these round bales will be supporting a small, local farmer directly (which I am ALL ABOUT). Plus the round bales weigh in at 800-900 pounds, for a measly $25 each. Two round bales should cover my feed needs for the next 5 months or so! I was going through one square bale per week with severe rationing for the goats, just because it was so cost prohibitive for us. These round bales are going to free up hundreds and hundreds of dollars that we usually barely have. Now I can put some of that money into gas to harvest kelp for the goats, finishing the barn, expanding the goat pen, finding a buck so we have kids, milk and meat next year. Not to mention that we will have more time.

I think I might try to go back to the Chehalis farm one more time before C and P sell their truck (the only way we have to haul these giant round bales of hay right now) and get two more. That way I don’t have to worry about running out in late winter when hay is REALLY expensive and hard to get.

I know most people don’t care about hay, but the economics of a farm, even a small hobby farm like the one we have here, are important. Trying to do as much ourselves as possible saves money, but not time. We just don’t have the set-up this year to supply ourselves with hay. And the goats need to eat to stay warm in the winter, and to stay alive in general… :)

So, for the math whiz in you, let’s figure this out. Let’s say today I spend $110 on two bales of hay plus gas to get back and forth between the farm and our house. We get two round bales on the lighter side of 800 pounds each. That is 1600 pounds for $110, or about $.07 per pound.

At the price we were paying for the square bales, $22 for 60 pounds, one pound was costing us $.37. That means that 1600 pounds at the feed store price would cost us $587!!! That is a net savings of  $477 for the next 5 months.

If we make a second trip down, I really only would need one more round bale to get us through the winter. I could sell the extra round bale to someone local for double the price I paid, which would mean that I got my two extra rounds for just the price of the gas to get pick it up, plus someone local would get all the hay they need for the winter if they had just a couple goats.

Farming. Who knew that’s what it would take to get me interested in finances and economics?

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