Haying is the cutting, drying, and storing of grass or other forage crops, usually used as animal feed. It is a common agricultural practice used in many parts, particularly in rural areas where livestock are raised. But what do you know about haying?
Why Grow Hay? I Can Pick up all I Need at $2/Bale in the field
Growing hay offers several benefits, including control over the quality of livestock feed, cost savings, land management, and business opportunities.
Control Over the Quality of Feed for Livestock
By growing hay, farmers have direct control over the quality of the feed they provide to their livestock. Hay can be harvested at the optimal stage of growth, ensuring that it contains the right balance of nutrients for the specific needs of the livestock.
This allows farmers to provide their livestock with high-quality feed that meets their nutritional requirements, leading to healthier animals and potentially higher milk or meat production.
Farmers can choose to grow specific types of hay suitable for their livestock’s dietary needs, such as legume hay for protein-rich feed or grass hay for roughage.
Cost-effective Feed Option
Growing hay can be a cost-effective way to feed livestock, especially during the winter or when pasture availability is limited.
Instead of relying solely on purchased feed, farmers can harvest and store hay from their fields, reducing the need to buy expensive commercial feeds. Ultimately, farmers save on feed costs and potentially increase their profitability.
Preventing Land from Reverting to Undesirable Conditions
Hay production can be a strategy for land management and conservation. Meadows and fields that are not actively managed can quickly become overgrown with weeds, shrubs, or trees, leading to the loss of productive agricultural land.
Farmers can actively manage their land by growing hay, preventing it from reverting to woods, jungles, or deserts. This activity can help maintain the area’s ecological balance, preserve open space, and prevent encroachment of invasive species.
Growing hay can be a profitable business venture. Farmers can sell hay to other livestock owners, equestrian facilities, or pet owners, generating income from the sale of hay.
Hay can also be used as bedding for livestock, providing an additional revenue stream. Farmers can sometimes export hay to regions where it may be in high demand, creating opportunities for international trade.
By treating hay production as a business, farmers can diversify their income sources and potentially increase their overall farm profitability.
What Equipment Do I Need to Cut and Dry Hay?
To cut hay, you will need a mower and a tedder. The mower is used to cut the hay stalks close to the ground, while the tedder is used to spread and fluff the cut hay for faster drying.
The type and size of equipment you need will depend on factors such as the size of your operation, the type of hay you are cutting, and your budget.
It’s best to consult with experienced farmers or agricultural experts to determine the most suitable equipment for your specific needs. Below is the basic equipment you need to cut hay.
A mower is used to cut the standing hay crop. There are several types of mowers available, including:
- Disc mowers: These mowers have multiple spinning discs with cutting knives that cut the hay as they rotate. Disc mowers are typically fast and efficient, making them suitable for large hayfields.
- Sickle bar mowers: These mowers have a reciprocating bar with serrated sickle sections that move back and forth to cut the hay. Sickle bar mowers are often used for smaller fields or areas with rough terrain, as they can maneuver more easily.
- Rotary mowers: These mowers have a rotating horizontal blade that cuts the hay as it spins. Rotary mowers are typically less expensive and simpler to maintain than disc and sickle bar mowers.
The choice of mower will depend on factors such as the size of the field, the type of hay, and personal preference.
A tractor powers the mower and transports it across the field. Tractors come in various sizes and power ratings. The tractor’s size depends on the field’s size and the type of mower being used.
Larger fields and heavier mowers will require more powerful tractors, while smaller fields and lighter mowers may require smaller tractors.
A tedder spreads the cut hay evenly in the field to help it dry faster. Tedders typically have rotating tines that lift and separate the hay, allowing air to circulate and hasten the drying process. Tedders come in various sizes and designs, including tow-behind and tractor-mounted options.
A rake gathers the dried hay into rows or windrows for easy collection. There are several types of rakes available, including:
- Wheel rakes: These rakes have multiple wheels with tines that gather the hay into rows as the wheels rotate. Wheel rakes are simple to use and suitable for smaller fields.
- Rotary rakes: These rakes have rotating tines that lift and gather the hay into windrows. Rotary rakes are typically faster and more efficient than wheel rakes, making them suitable for larger fields.
- Bar rakes: These rakes have a straight bar with tines that collect the hay into windrows. Bar rakes suit smaller fields or areas with uneven terrain.
The choice of rake will depend on the size of the field, the type of hay, and desired windrow size.
Hay Bale Accumulator
A hay bale accumulator can be helpful if you plan to bale your hay for storage or transport. It helps to gather the hay into uniform rows or groups, making it easier to bale and stack.
Various hay bale accumulators are available, including inline accumulators or wheel accumulators.
A baler collects the hay into compact bales for storage or transportation. There are several types of balers available, including:
- Round balers: These balers produce cylindrical bales that are wrapped with twine or netting. Round balers are commonly used for larger hayfields and are available in different sizes and configurations.
- Square balers: These balers produce rectangular bales that are tied with twine or wire. Square balers are often used for smaller hayfields or when bales need to be stacked or transported more space-efficiently.
The choice of baler will depend on factors such as the size of the operation, desired bale size and shape, and handling and storage requirements.
Baling Twine or Wire
You will need twine or wire to secure the bales. The type and thickness of twine or wire will depend on the baler type and the bales’ desired size. Twine or wire is typically threaded through the baler and used to tie off the bales.
Monitoring your hay’s moisture content is essential to ensure it is adequately dried. A moisture tester or hay moisture meter can help accurately measure the moisture content of the hay, allowing you to determine if it’s ready for baling and storage.
Testing can help you avoid mold growth or spontaneous combustion caused by excess moisture in bales.
You may need a moisture conditioner and a hay preservative, depending on your specific needs. A hay moisture conditioner helps to speed up the drying process by treating the hay with heat or chemicals. A hay preservative applicator helps to prevent mold growth during storage.
How Do I Adjust and Maintain a Mowing Machine?
Tending to your mowing machine is vital as you prepare to mow for the haying season. With attention to detail and proper care, you can ensure your mower is ready to tackle the task.
Begin by examining the blades with a keen eye. They should be sharp and free from cracks or damage. Dull or damaged blades can lead to poor cutting quality and increased fuel consumption. If needed, sharpen or replace the blades to ensure they are in top shape.
Next, adjust the cutting height of your mower to match the desired height for haying. Different grasses require different cutting heights, so refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended setting.
Check the tension of the belts that drive the blades. Loose belts can result in inefficient cutting and can cause damage to the mower’s components. Tighten or replace loose or damaged belts to ensure proper tension and smooth operation.
Regular lubrication is crucial for the moving parts of your mowing machine. Apply lubrication to bearings, pulleys, and gears to prevent friction and wear.
Keep the air filter clean to maintain proper air intake and prevent engine damage. Dust can clog the air filter, so clean or replace it as the manufacturer recommends.
Inspect the fuel system, including the fuel filter, fuel lines, and fuel tank, for any dirt, debris, or damage. Clean or replace clogged or damaged components to ensure proper fuel flow and prevent engine problems.
Check the condition of the wheels and adjust the tire pressure. Properly inflated wheels ensure smooth operation and even cutting. Clean the cutting deck thoroughly after each use to remove grass clippings, dirt, and debris that may affect cutting performance.
What Does it Take to Convert My Overgrown Lot to a Hayfield?
Hard work and patience. You can use aggressive or passive techniques for land-clearing. Once the field is clear of stones and stumps — which may require a bulldozer with a grubber blade or a backhoe and hours of stone-picking — do a soil test and add lime as needed to bring the pH up to whatever your planned hay crop requires.
Lime migrates slowly in soil, so adding more than 2.5 tons/acre may require a year or so of alternate crops before the pH is at the required level. Heavy applications of lime should be disced in; surface application initially affects only the top 1/2 inch of soil.
Once the pH is where you want it, dry the field thoroughly before seeding or killing the existing vegetation with Round-UpTM (2,4-D or atrazine) and plant no-till.
A heavy drag behind the disc harrow will help level the field. For areas of the country where the hayfields must be irrigated, the irrigation efficiency will depend on the care put into leveling the field. Large fields may require laser leveling equipment, a theodolite, or a leveling plane. In dry areas, steep grades may cause washouts of seed from heavy rains after seeding.
To control weeds, it sometimes works well to plant an interim cover crop, like buckwheat, oats, or rye, that you can later disc in, perhaps with a heavy application of manure, before you seed the hay.
A dense stand of buckwheat will choke out weeds that would overwhelm a hay seeding and add to the tilth of your soil when you disc it in.
Temporary crops like turnips, rye, or oats can provide animal pasture or a quick cutting of hay while they’re helping get the field ready for seeding hay. In some areas, broadleaf herbicides (2,4-D) are sprayed on young oats to control weeds.
On a disced field, after you’ve applied the needed fertilizer, a Brillion or other heavy seeder will do the best job with tiny seeds like alfalfa or timothy; a drill will work well with larger seeds.
If you can’t borrow a seeder, you can broadcast from a hand-carried Cyclone seeder for small seeds (alfalfa, timothy, orchard grass) or a three-point-hitch fertilizer spreader for larger seeds like oats.
Increase the application rate over the seed bag recommendation if you are broadcasting. Rolling broadcast seed will probably provide the highest germination rate. If you don’t have a roller, disc large seeds lightly after broadcasting; a pass with a drag or branches will cover tiny seeds.
For no-till seeding, you may be able to borrow the needed machine from a local agricultural extension or NRCS office.
In some areas, fall seedings work well and provide hay next spring. In general, planting time is site and crop specific. Talk to knowledgeable local people, including extension or NRCS agents and other farmers, to find out what works in your area.
Some farmers like to plant oats as a cover drop with spring or late summer seedings. The fast-growing oats are supposed to keep down weeds. Be sure to inoculate legume seeds to increase the nitrogen-fixing ability of the alfalfa or clover.
What Kind of Hay Should I Plant?
The type of hay to plant depends on location, climate, soil, and the intended use. Below are some general observations:
Alfalfa (Arabic for `best fodder’) is a high-yielding, highly nutritious, and highly palatable legume hay. It requires well-drained soils and a neutral pH. Alfalfa hay may be difficult to dry well in some climates without a haybine or conditioner to crush the stems.
It may be susceptible to weevils and other pests, and for some livestock, like horses, alfalfa hay may be too nutritious except as a supplement. Alfalfa can have disease and insect problems that make it uneconomical to grow, especially in the South.
Alfalfa fields generally have to be reseeded every 4-6 years; it is often grown in rotation with corn or other crops. The corn will probably produce a spectacular crop on a field that has been in alfalfa.
Clover hays (Red, Alsike) are highly nutritious and often highly palatable. They are hard to dry well and usually require fairly neutral pH.
Clover is often planted with timothy, orchard grass, or bromegrass. The clover will predominate for the first few years; as the clovers thin out, the grasses take over.
Upright clovers like red clover are easiest to hay. Ladino clover makes terrific pasture, but most varieties are low-growing, hard to mow, and have short persistence. Palatability can be a problem with clover hays because of mold and dust from the drying problems.
There is some evidence that red clover retards ovulation in sheep, so it may not be good hay to feed breeding ewes. Molds on red clover can cause photosensitivity and/or slobbering in equines.
Clover, like alfalfa, does not do well in acid soils. Alsike clover grows in poorer soils but has been associated with photosensitization, colic, scours, and behavioral aberrations in equines.
Sweetclover contains a compound called coumarin, itself harmless, which mold fungus from putting up wet hay can metabolize into dicoumarin, an analog of Vitamin K that can interfere with blood clotting. The commercial rat poison Warfarin is similar to dicoumarin.
Birdsfoot trefoil can be hard to establish in some areas, but the upright varieties produce highly palatable hay.
The yield and protein levels are lower than alfalfa, but sheep and other picky animals that reject coarser alfalfa stems often consume the delicate stems. It does well in cooler climates.
Grass hay is generally grown in long-term fields. Some grasses, like reed canary grass, will grow in less well-drained soils but may be less palatable to fussy animals. Timothy, orchard grass, and bromegrass will turn brown and dormant in the middle of a hot, dry summer.
Grass hays generally dry faster than legumes, so they may be a better choice where haying weather is iffy. Recent research suggests that grass hay can yield protein contents as high as legume hays with proper fertilization and timely cutting.
Oats and Annual Grasses
Oats and other annual grasses can produce high yields of nutritious hay. Oats may be more advisable as a rotation pasture. They are susceptible to many diseases, grain hay attracts mice and rats, drying hay in early spring may be a problem, and baling oats can be the hottest, itchiest job in the world.
Japanese or Hungarian millet and sudangrass are also seeded for quick annual hay crops. Select varieties of sudangrass with low prussic acid content.
Extension and soil conservation service agents can often suggest a good seed mix for your area and soil, or you may be able to find information for your area on the Forage Information System.
You may want to follow the lead of your neighbors. If they grow mostly orchard grass, it may be because Timothy doesn’t do as well in the area or because local buyers aren’t interested in Timothy hay. Alfalfa in heavy acidic soil rarely works.
How Much Should I Fertilize Hayfields?
The amount of fertilizer needed for hayfields depends on soil fertility, hayfield species & age, weather conditions, and intended yield goals. Conduct a soil test to discover the nutrient levels and pH of your hayfield soil, as this will provide you with specific recommendations for fertilization.
As a general guideline, most hayfields require nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) for optimal growth. Nitrogen facilitates leaf and stem growth, while phosphorus and potassium are necessary for overall plant health and root development.
The recommended application rates for each nutrient will depend on the results of your soil test, but a typical range for hayfields may be:
- Nitrogen (N): 50-150 pounds per acre per year
- Phosphorus (P): 30-60 pounds per acre per year
- Potassium (K): 50-100 pounds per acre per year
Over-fertilization can result in nutrient runoff, which can harm the environment and reduce the efficiency of your fertilizer application. Following soil test recommendations and not exceeding recommended rates is crucial.
Also, consider the type of hay being grown, the stage of growth, and the overall health of the hayfield. Consult with a local agricultural extension office or a certified agronomist for specific fertilizer recommendations based on your hayfield’s unique characteristics and goals.
When Do I Cut the Hay? How Many Cuttings a Year Can I Get?
The timing for cutting hay depends on various factors, including the type of hay, climate, and intended use.
In general, hay is cut when it has reached its optimal stage of maturity for the intended purpose. The optimal stage is when hay is in the flowering or seed-setting stage before it becomes too mature and loses its nutritional value.
The number of cuttings you can get in a year also depends on these factors. In most regions with a temperate climate, it is common to get two to three cuttings of hay per year. However, in some areas with a longer growing season or under intensive management practices, getting four or more cuttings per year may be possible.
In regions with shorter growing seasons or less favorable weather conditions, you may only be able to get one or two cuttings per year.
Monitor the growth stage of your hay and the weather conditions in your specific area to determine the optimal time for cutting. Factors such as rainfall, temperature, and sunlight can all impact the growth and maturity of hay.
Working with a local agricultural extension office or consulting with experienced farmers in your area can provide valuable insights on when to cut hay for the best results.
How Do I Tell Good Hay?
Sending samples to a lab will give you exact protein and TDN measures. Good hay smells and looks good. The best grass hay is usually silvery green in color. Brown hay was probably cut too late or dried too long, lacking in vitamin E and other nutrients.
Green hay is too wet to store in a barn. It can be fed out immediately, but it will rot, mildew, or possibly start a fire in a barn.
Sheep and goats find alfalfa hay more palatable if it is not too stemmy, and especially if the stems have been crushed with a haybine or conditioner.
Good legume hay is not so dry that the leaves fall off at first touch and should not have been raked or tedded so hard that the leaves are gone.
The smell of good hay depends on the grasses and legumes in the mix. Hay that smells dusty, mildewy, or over-ripe is probably no good.
When hay is curing in the barn, you can and should test it by putting your hand deep inside the bales. It should generate warmth for several days after it is baled; excessive heating is a danger signal. Ruminants on maintenance rations can tolerate less-than-perfect hay, although dusty hay may cause respiratory problems; equines have a low tolerance for bad hay.
Before you bale hay, pick up a bunch and twist it tightly in your fingers. If it is too dry to hold the twisted shape, it is probably too dry to be really good hay; it may be better to bale it the following morning after a dew. If it feels wet when you twist it, it is too wet to bale.
If trees are around your hayfield, the hay on the outside rows may dry slower than the inner rows. Test different rows, and if the outer rows are too wet to bale, start baling a few rows in, then return to the outside rows after you’ve baled the rest of the field.
If you buy hay, you probably want to examine and smell samples from inside a few bales. Check bales from different loads or different ends of a load. Everyone who sells hay isn’t unscrupulous, but even innocent mistakes can burn down a barn or leave your livestock sick.
How Do I Feed Hay to My Stock?
For animals that do not waste their hay, like cattle or horses, you may need no feeder at all. Just scatter flakes of hay on clean ground. Many horse breeders prefer to use triangular hay feeders in stalls or hay bags. And in muddy feedlots, cattle will need feeders with slots to hold the hay off the ground.
- You will need a feeder to keep the hay off the ground for finicky animals like sheep or goats that will not eat trampled hay.
- Hay nets that work for horses are dangerous for sheep or goats because their small heads can get tangled in the netting.
- Some common designs, like the pentagonal sheep feeders in many books, allow sheep to pull the hay out too easily, leading to waste and hay leaves in fleeces. If you’re designing your feeder, there are several design tricks you might consider.
- Use diagonal instead of vertical slats. Sheep aren’t rocket scientists. They often can’t figure out how to pull a mouthful of hay out through diagonal slats.
- Use fenceline feeders with horizontal boards separated just far enough to keep the animals from pulling their heads out with a mouthful of hay. Fenceline feeders have the advantage of not getting muddy when you’re putting the hay in.
- Use welded hog or cattle panels to hold the hay, forcing the animals to pull small amounts out through the openings.
- Feed hay in a Grate Bale Box Feeder, an open-top wooden box the size of one or two bales, with a heavy grate over the hay. This allows the animals to eat in a natural grazing position, but the heavy grate prevents them from pulling whole flakes out and onto the ground, where they will be trampled and wasted.
Round bales also require unique feeders. You can unroll a bale on clean snow and allow the animals to eat in from the edges.
There are special devices for the back of a pickup that will unroll the bale automatically. An alternative is to feed unrolled bales on pasture with an electric wire to control access. When the area becomes muddy or the stock has eaten as far as it can reach under the wire, you move the wire.
Without an electric wire to control access, you generally need a feeder that will collapse as the animals eat in from the edge. Use caution if you are designing and building your own. The pressure of several animals pushing on the sides requires a strong fabrication, and the design must ensure an animal will not get caught in the openings and crushed.
Is There an Alternative to Get Good Feed From a Field or Meadow?
In many areas, unpredictable weather and labor shortages make it tough to bring in good hay, particularly in the spring.
An alternative is haylage, usually done with first-cutting alfalfa. The alfalfa is mowed, conditioned, and windrowed by a haybine, then left in the field to dry for a few hours to a day. A forage chopper (a corn chopper with a haylage head) is then run over the field to chop and gather the partially dry hay.
Stored in a silo, lined pit, or silage bag as haylage, it makes nutritious feed. Haylage is probably only workable if you or a nearby custom operator has the equipment.
An alternative to silage is to make baleage. A round baler, or a heavy-duty medium square baler, is used for baling hay after it has wilted for a day. The bales are then wrapped with a bale wrapper, which is either 3ph mounted or freestanding.
Traditionally, the bales are wrapped in several layers of plastic material. The wet hay cures anaerobically inside the sealed plastic and makes excellent feed — if they are well sealed. If the haylage is too dry, the stems can poke through even multiple layers of plastic wrapping, leaving a mess.
The heavy wet bales are hard on balers and are delicate to store and move. Baleage bales can be moved with a spike through the flat side after the bale has cured, which generally takes two weeks; the spike hole should be carefully sealed after the bale is moved.
Grabbers can also be used to move the bales if they are used carefully so the plastic covering does not tear. The bales should not be stored on stiff stubble or allowed to roll against one another. The slightest rip in the plastic will allow the baleage to mold; unlike a large silage pit or silo, the total volume of the bag is relatively small, so a small leak spoils a large percentage of the feed.
The bales can be stored outside on pallets or tires if adequate precautions are taken against rodent damage. Storing indoors or nearby for the barn cats to patrol may be safer. In frigid weather, the internal heat of the bale may not prevent it from freezing, making feeding difficult.
Some of the difficulties with silage and baleage are addressed by vacuum-packed silage, which utilizes long-cut grasses and legumes stored on the ground and covered with a plastic sheet and a dirt seal. This is often the lowest cost of all harvesting methods and can produce the highest quality feed.
A vacuum pump hooked to a perforated tube buried in the stack is used to remove excess air from the cut grasses for a quick cure into silage, bypassing most of the butyric acid production and yielding high quality without additives.
The system seems to work best when the grasses and legumes are cut long and directly into a forage wagon. The LaceratorTM forage harvester is custom designed for higher throughput with this system, but any green chopper that will cut long, condition as needed, and throw directly into a wagon without augers and separate blowers can work well.
Another alternative to dedicated hayfields is to combine a cutting of hay with extensive pasturing of the fields. Many farms have too much forage in the spring flush, followed by shortages during the dry months.
If your pastures are clear of stones and stumps, you can cut hay in the spring, then use the fields as a pasture in the dry months. In some areas, you can cut down on hay and manure handling by setting aside a field or two for succession grazing to extend the normal pasture season.
What Do I Do About Weeds and Pests like Gophers and Woodchucks?
When a stand of grass and legumes is well-fertilized, properly limed, and cut frequently enough, the desirable grasses and legumes will crowd out most weeds.
The few weeds that persist are usually controlled by frequent mowing. When the field has more weeds than useful forage, it may be time for renovation.
You may need a spot or broad application of herbicides for persistent, deep-rooted weeds like bindweed. There are many alternatives to contract spraying.
Gophers, woodchucks, and other burrowing mammals can raise havoc with a hayfield. Gopher tunnels can reroute irrigation water, and woodchuck holes and gopher tunnels can break axles on tractors or wagons. Poison, auto exhausts, or traps are effective on gopher tunnels.
Your State APHIS Animal Control Officer (a Federal agency) may be able to arrange to sell you sulphur bombs for half the cost of the same items at a feed store.
A rifle with a scope is probably the best antidote for woodchucks. If you don’t want to shoot them yourself, ask around at gunshops; a varmint hunter may be eager to do the job for you.
If the varmints have already left the field surface too rough for equipment, a heavy drag (sections of railroad track are good) will shave down the mounds; using a three-point hitch seeder on the tractor while you drag can reseed the bad areas in a single pass.
Serious insect infestations, such as grasshoppers, can consume a substantial portion of a hay crop. There are commercial insecticides available. If you dislike the idea of feeding hay that has been sprayed to your stock, or if you plan to graze animals on the field and are wary of the effects of spray, some alternatives are to put turkeys or ducks out on the field.
They gobble up bugs (they will also gobble up alfalfa buds if they are put out at the wrong time!). There are also garlic-based sprays that supposedly deter bugs with no lasting insecticide residues.
Are There Any Good Books About Haying?
Several good books cover various aspects of haying, including techniques, equipment, and history. Here are a few recommendations:
“The Joy of Hay: The Guide to Harvesting, Handling, and Storing Hay” by Rachael Scdoris and Kathy Kadash:
This book provides practical guidance on all aspects of hay production, from choosing the right forage species to harvesting, curing, and storing hay. It covers different haying methods, equipment, and techniques and includes information on troubleshooting common haymaking challenges.
“Haymaking” by Paul Heiney:
This book offers a comprehensive overview of haying, covering everything from selecting the right fields and grasses to harvesting and storing hay. It also delves into the history and cultural significance of hay and its various uses beyond livestock feed, such as in thatching and basketry.
“The Art of Haymaking: A Guide to Silage Making” by C.J.C. Black:
This book focuses specifically on silage making, a popular method of preserving hay for livestock feed. It covers the entire silage-making process, including cutting, wilting, packing, sealing, and feeding out, and provides practical tips and techniques for successful silage production.
“The American Meadow Garden: Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn” by John Greenlee:
While not specifically about haying, this book provides valuable insights into meadow gardening, which involves growing and managing grasses and other plants in a naturalistic manner.
It covers plant selection, establishment, and maintenance, including mowing and haying practices to create and maintain meadows as habitat and forage areas for wildlife.
“The Haynes Tractor Manual: Haynes Owners Workshop Manual for Tractor Operation, Maintenance, Repairs and History” by Martynn Randall:
This comprehensive manual covers various aspects of tractor operation, including mowing, raking, and baling hay. It provides step-by-step instructions, diagrams, and maintenance tips for different tractor models, making it a valuable resource for those involved in haying operations.
Is Making My Own Hay Really Worth All the Work?
Deciding whether making your hay is worth the effort involves considering various factors. On the positive side, making your hay can save you money, provide greater control over the quality, offer flexibility in timing and quantity, and give you a sense of independence.
However, it can also be labor-intensive, require costly equipment and infrastructure, be weather-dependent, demand specific skills and knowledge, and be time-sensitive. Carefully evaluate your circumstances before deciding if making your own hay is worthwhile.