It sure looks like Cooper was on an easy schedule since we still have 4 ewes to lamb. I moved the sheep that had lambed to a middle paddock since we were getting our first round bale delivered early this morning. They still have grass so they aren't interested in the round bale so far. I still have the other 10 sheep on stockpiled grass so they are still happy. The price for hay looks like it's going to be silly next year. Our friend said he got a price on fertilizer for his farm and it is literally 3 times higher than what it was last year. We are the only people he sells to so we are good although at a higher price.
@Mike CHS ... the hay guy is not kidding. We don't use alot of "chemical" fertilizers but still use some. Nitrogen was .67 last year... it is already up to 1.32 last week. I am not sure if that is by the lb... but regardless, that is double last year's price. DS said we will not be putting on the fertilizer amounts that we did last year. We cannot afford it. I am pushing him to see if he can't get more poultry litter, although it has also gone up too.
We will probably be putting in as much corn again, and it HAS to be fertilized good or it makes it too costly if we do not get a good crop. And that is all dependent on the rain. We were very fortunate that we put our corn in later last year as we got timely rains later in the season. Many that put corn in early did not get much because they needed the rain and it didn't come. So there was no height and then next to no ears on the stalks. But it cost about 500/acre last year for us to put the corn in.... seed and fertilizer and planting... NOT counting harvesting costs. It is estimated already that it will cost over 750/acre this year to put it in.....most of the increased cost being fertilizer....
We also have to weigh the cost of fertilizing with the yield. If there is not much growth to cut, then it makes it expensive to run the equipment over the acres. Say it costs $200 per acre to make hay...fertilizer, cutting, tedding, raking, baling. THIS does NOT take into account our time as a farmer doing the labor. If you get 20 sq bales it costs $10/bale. If you get 100 sq bales it costs $2/bale. So naturally you want as big a quantity as possible so the cost gets spread out over the numbers. You have to make judgements of amount of cost for the return.... and AGAIN we are also dependent on nature and the rain. We do not have irrigation equipment to "guarantee" that it gets the amount of moisture when it needs it.
Regardless if it is round baled or sq baled, there is a break even cost. We figure it costs us around $35 per round bale to make it on average... that is the equivalent of about 22 sq bales on average. We try to get 3-4 round bales per acre , to justify the cost of making it. So at say 65 sq bales per acre, it is costing us 3-3.50 per sq bale, not counting our time to stack and handle it. Also, you get less hay in 2nd and 3rd cutting per acre but the hay is finer and usually a little higher quality in protein.
This coming year is going to be a test of our abilities as farmers.... juggling costs and hoped for yields....
Mel appears to be starting something that may be a coincidence, but it has happened four days in a row now so who knows. The sheep like to graze in a paddock that is away from the area we go to feed the lambs and the dogs like to lay on a rise so they can watch in both directions. Little Bit is always off with his dam when we are heading down with the bottles and Mel will let out one big bark when we are almost at the barn and the sheep come running. I'll make it a point to see how often (if anymore) he does that but he has never barked when we head down the drive until recently and it is only when we are carrying bottles.
It appears that Mel has claimed guardianship over Little Bit and almost always, Mel is watching him as he moves around. It could easily be Mikey's over-active imagination also.