Using land for hay year round?

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3 months 3 weeks ago #559331 by laura_northland
I am looking for some advice about what to do with my place.
13Ha of clay country with a solid 300mm peaty top layer, tremendous at holding water, mixture of some steep, rest gentle rolling. 15 minutes from Whangarei. There's probably about 6-7Ha that could be suitable for Hay. Have approached contractors, no-one is interested, not enough land and we need to get the weeds under control. 
We've been going round in circles with different options, but the cost to get the fencing up to speed and cattle yards etc when we don't really want stock (the soil is very susceptible to pugging also) is prohibitive. 
Over time as money becomes available we will plant the steep in natives. We need to eventually pay for just enough fencing to keep the neighbours cows out, who currently live here rent free. 

We keep coming back to just doing hay on the flat / rolling. Paying a contractor to come and do it, maybe setting up another container shelter to store and sell ourselves. 

Can you just do this? Is there a cost effective way to get on top of carrotweed etc so the hay has a bit more value? 

Any advice / discussion on the pros and cons of such an approach appreciated. 

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3 months 3 weeks ago #559332 by tonybaker
Sorry but you have to bite the bullet and do something or the weeds will make the land worthless. Spend the money on upgrading the fences, a hot wire all around is not prohibitive and will allow you to graze cattle to keep the weeds/grass under control. Warratahs and insulators are easy to install yourself. You did not mention water so I hope you have reticulation for troughs. Is there a neighbour who would pay to graze some cattle and can drove them along the road to you? When you sell hay you also sell fertility, so grazing on farm makes sense in the long run.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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3 months 3 weeks ago #559333 by laura_northland
Thanks for the response.
We don't have reticulated water yet. At the moment a neighbour who is grazing his horses for free goes periodically with an IBC and fills up the single trough on site. We could set up water cheaper and easier than the fencing or yards.
Might find someone to graze but the cows really mess the place up in terms of pugging. The soil drys out for all of a couple of months a year, the rest of the time it somehow remains saturated even on the steep country! It's quite incredible really.
But goats or sheep would be impractical.
We have great plans to plant the steep as regenerative native forest, restore a wetland or two, but that will take time and money.
So are you effectively saying without the grazing stock to keep things under control the weed management will be too big a job?

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3 months 3 weeks ago - 3 months 3 weeks ago #559334 by Stikkibeek
Our place used to be festooned with carrot weed and parsley dropwort, courtesy of grazing horses and other peoples hay for them. Carrot weed can make nutritious cattle feed, but needs grazing when actively growing which is during the winter, so not an option for you. It took us 4 years to get on top of the carrot weed, by consistent spraying with baton. Baton will also take care of dock and buttercup. Whangarei district has rules around the time of the year you can do this, from memory end of july is cut-off point, but you'd need to check with your council. Topping the paddocks is another way to keep a lot of weeds to a minimum, and it doesn't hurt to leave the toppings to rot down, but needs to be done before weeds set seed. You'd be hard pressed to be able to sell hay at cost, if it is full of weed seed.
Look up the rules around fencing notices. Boundary fences should not be your cost alone and neighbours are oblidged to keep their own stock under control. Talk to your neighbour about sharing the costs of boundary fences and make sure you hot wire with electric fencing to prevent or limit damage from others stock. If you want to restore some wetlands, check to find if there are conservation groups in your area who will lend a hand, (and volunteer to pay for planting etc.) There may be some "greenies" out there who would like to be involved in a "project".
PS, You'd normally shut up pasture for hay around Labour Weekend and cut about Christmas. Needs 4 days to dry. Silage can be done earlier as it only needs to wilt, not dry and fermenting would largely destroy weed seed as long as it isn't already set.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S
Last edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by Stikkibeek.

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3 months 2 days ago #559372 by Kiwilady
Hope I am posting in the right place.
I have a 4 acre lucerne block, one cut has been taken off in November., get around 3-4 cuts per season.
The usual contractor has let ne down,  he mowed, raked and baled, then bought the bales at an agreed price. 
so now there is  standing lucerne to be bailed and bales to be bought to take away.
What do I do now (considering there is still 3 cuts to be cut for season.) Can anybody advise me please.?  I am in Hastings, Hawkes Bay.

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3 months 1 day ago #559374 by tonybaker
well I guess you have rung around all the other contractors? Try calling Farmlands or other farm stores for advice. Was there a reason he did not want to come back? Put a sign up at the gate?

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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3 months 1 day ago #559376 by Kiwilady
He had bigger fish to fry, no matter that he had been doing the job for a few years.

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3 months 10 hours ago - 3 months 10 hours ago #559381 by Hertz Donut
I'm guessing you get about 150-200 conventional bales off the 4 acres? If you already have bales to hide that should fit in a double garage (ask me how I know...) so at least you can get it under cover. We're probably not far from you but we're already overfull after our pea harvest.

If you still need a contractor to cut it for you try Mike Kettle Contracting, no guarantees but he's local and might be able to fit you in or suggest someone else. As far as I'm aware he isn't interested in buying conventional bales but does buy large rounds.

Don't ask me, it was on its side when I got here.
Last edit: 3 months 10 hours ago by Hertz Donut.

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