So we just started leasing 40 acres with virtually unlimited free irrigation water. Actually, the rent is free too but we have to carry an expensive insurance policy. We are think doing half row crops, half alfalfa. The thing is, we don't have nor want baling equipment or to get into the hay business. We have been working with a hay broker who basically pays us for the first cutting then hires someone to take first cutting on some irrigated pasture we lease for summer pasture. We have started talking with them about having them foot the upfront planting costs- seed, amendments, and fuel but not labor. They would then hire someone to cut and bale. They would be getting paid back for their investment by taking the hay "for free" but eventually would start paying as we would still be paying for the insurance( basically the lease).
What row crops were you all thinking of puttin down on the other 20?
Wheat, garbanzos, dry beans for food. Oats, barley, and peas for feed for pigs. We're pretty small and direct market most of our stuff to people, stores, and restaurants. We just recently bought a restored JD 12a. We're in California and should be able to double crop the small grains and dry beans.
12a is a nice buy for that size plot. I'd just about be willin to wager that you'll be able to double-crop the grains and dry beans out your way.Which, part of Cal. you in? Just recently went to Camarillo finalize some nutrient management research on strawberry plots. Cool little area. Direct marketing is the way to go while you are growing your operations-I think so at least.
We are in inland Mendocino County, north of San Francisco about 150 miles and 30 miles from the ocean. Our main challenge with double cropping is rain. We get rain until May or June and it can start again in October. We're lucky we are close to SF higher end restaurants who are into the idea of being able to source pretty much anything that would be on the menu from one farm.
I guess my question is ( realized I didn't put one) is what would be a fair price to get paid for farming the alfalfa. I am thinking $35-40 for every ton the get and maybe peg it to current hay prices.
I am not too familiar with your specific practices( inputs, horse or cattle industry etc. ), but $30-$45 is a good rule of thumb for cost of production so I would say you are offering a pretty good deal. That said, I have many different programs that are connected to database servers worldwide and based on your specific op (soil/plant tissue analysis, brix measurements, marketing industry, geographical location, tilling methods, crop cycle, nutrient requirements, input methods/practices and products etc.) I could enter that stuff in the system and give you a more detailed recommendation for production, marketing, etc. *I don't charge for it, so just let me know if you would like me to help you out. Our systems are based on over 2.2 million stats and algorithms over the past 87 years, so the output recommendations are accurate and consistent with each individual specification.
you are in cali and have a unique climate which may be great for malting barley. Microbrews are trying to get unique 2 row barley. Just a thought may be a great market for excess barley
if you have free water what about white rice or wild rice???