We are often asked...
“How in the world can you put up 2000-3000 acres of alfalfa, and why would you do it?” One thing you need to know, this is dry land alfalfa, it is not irrigated alfalfa. Our alfalfa, grows slow and usually stays fine stemmed. So, having 2000-3000 acres of dry land is not the same as irrigated alfalfa. I will only get 3 to 4 ton of yield in 3 to 4 cuttings.
How do we get it all done?
To be real honest, it is impossible to get all of the first crop done on time. We try to start any time after the 15th of May and it will take about a 3 weeks to do the first cutting. But on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cuttings everything is spaced out perfectly and there always seems to be a market for the mature first crop anyway.
Why we do it...
I love a challenge! With the weather always a factor, being able to cut, bale and put hay into storage and then take it to a customer and getting a comment such as:
“We really like your hay”
“This is exactly what you told us it would be”
“This is better than we expected”
It is very rewarding to me.
How we do our hay...
We use 2 self propelled New Holland Discbines. We can cut 25-30 acres per hour together so on a typical day it is easy to cut around 200 acres. We usually lay the hay in swaths 84” wide. By doing so, the hay dries quickly and evenly. After 3-5 days, depending on the temperature and what the wind has done, we will rake 3 swaths together into 1 windrow, a day ahead of baling. We use 5 rakes, so when the hay is perfect for raking and will not rope, we can rake almost all of it (200 acres) in one hour - not too wet and not too dry. If conditions are right, we will bale the hay the following day. We use three 3x4 mid-size square balers with accumulators. With 3 balers we can bale about 200 acres in about 2 hours, so we end up with very consistent hay. With our balers and accumulators, we drop everything into rows in the field to speed up picking up the bales. We pick up bales as we are baling. Usually within an hour or 2 of baling everything is into our storage which consists of 17 open sided buildings holding over 9,500 tons of hay.
Making hay in South Dakota can be a challenge sometimes, but most summers we can easily get 2-3 weeks at a time with no rain. When you get big stretches of dry weather like that, you can put up of a lot of very nice hay.
Who buys our hay...
We sell our alfalfa to lots of different people. Most of it is sold to the end user. Some people buy 40 semi-loads a year, some only buy 1 load a year. Others only buy our alfalfa when a weather problem causes them to be short of high quality hay, maybe every other year. We have a very reliable way of getting alfalfa delivered. 5-6 days a week, we have 2 trucks of our own on the road delivering to our customers. Plus we are involved with another trucking company that has about 30 of their own trucks and flat beds. Usually within a week of telling us you are ready for your next load, it is in your yard.
We welcome everyone to give us a try whether you are a dairy farmer, beef producer, raise sheep, goats or horses or even buy our hay for resale to others. We probably have just what you are looking for and if we don’t we will tell you. We will never claim to have something we don’t have.
“I have been told by many of my customers, “This hay is exactly the way you described it.” My father always told me, if you tell the truth, you never have to remember what you said.
Remember our family has been in the hay business for nearly 50 years in one of the largest alfalfa producing states in the USA. We will be here tomorrow and for years to come.
To contact us, call any time.We love to talk to people about our hay. Or come out and pick out your hay for the year. We really enjoy meeting our customers.
The Brosnans at Brosnan Farms, Huron, SD.