Ranches For Sale in Utah: Is It Better to Buy or Grow Your Own Hay?

Hay is the traditional feedstuff of choice for many types of livestock, including cattle, horses, goats, and sheep. Knowing this, a rancher’s inclination would be to grow hay himself. Naturally, that’s going to be more inexpensive, right? Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as one might think. In fact, many ranchers have been shocked once they learned how much it’s really costing them to put up hay.

Hay Cost

If you’re looking at potential ranches for sale in Utah to buy, it pays to know beforehand whether buying or growing your own hay will be the more cost-effective option. The correct answer depends on a number of factors. Hopefully, the information below will help you find the right answer to your particular situation.

Cost Calculation

To know the true cost of growing and harvesting one’s own hay, all inputs must be accounted for. This includes seed, equipment, labor, fertilizer, etc. There’s also the issue of hauling and feeding the hay to livestock. In Afton, Wyoming, for example, rancher Joe Nield estimates that his hay production costs amount to $60 per ton, despite having certain advantages unavailable to most ranchers.

There’s also the issue of opportunity costs in time and land resources. Imagine if you didn’t have to devote your time to growing and harvesting hay yourself—wouldn’t that open up your schedule to more productive pursuits? And what about your land area? If you didn’t have to grow hay, you’ll have more space for facilities, infrastructure, and other resources that will help boost your production even more.

Benefits of Buying Hay

Buying, instead of growing, hay can be largely beneficial to a ranch. It allows for longer grazing seasons, increased livestock/production size, and even lower fertilizer and fuel costs. It also does away with the issue of replacing nutrients removed from the soil when hay is hauled away—the cost of which can be quite huge.

So should you buy or grow hay? There isn’t one right answer. Each ranch is different, so you’ll need to evaluate your own situation. Taking a good look at what a particular ranch does best is the ideal way to arrive at the answer that best fits your needs. If you need help, brokers of Utah ranches for sale, such as Mirr Ranch Group, will be able to provide you the guidance you need.

(Source: What’s your true hay cost? Cattle Business Weekly)

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Posted on February 24, 2015, in Info Article. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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