1983 - Volume #7, Issue #2, Page #19[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Former Corn Farmer Now Grows Only HayLast year Arden Kiefer harvested more than 1,000 tons of hay off 160 acres of farms in central Iowa. Most of the hay was sold to nearby farmers who feel they can no longer afford to grow even a few acres of hay on their fertile corn and soybean land, some of the most expensive land in North America.
How then can Kiefer afford to plant his entire acreage to hay?
The most obvious reason is that there is a market for hay in his area. Hay acreage in Wright county in 1981 totalled only 4,100 acres, the lowest in Iowa.
"There's a good market for high quality hay. Many farmers who grow just a few acres of hay now are finding that they would rather not fool with it," says Kiefer "There's also a good market to hobby farmers. My average size sale is 350 bales."
Hay production has cut Keifer's equipment needs in half and has simplified many of the management decisions. The farm is seeded with an alfalfa and grass mix that was supposed to be 85% alfalfa, but a mixup resulted in predominately grassy fields producing a hay he says goes over well with customers.
Kiefer hires about 15 local high school youth to help during harvest. Forty acres are cut at a time. Two days later, another 40 acres are cut while the first 40 are baled. Hay is baled in both 800-lb. round bales and 65-lb. square bales. Kiefer, who is also a manufacturer of livestock trailers, built his own automatic bale loading wagons and is now manufacturing those, too. Bales are stored in a huge building 227 ft. long, 60 ft. wide, and 16 ft. high. The 23,000 bales produced last year were sold directly out of the building. He never delivers.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Kiefer Built, Inc., Box 88, Kanawha, Iowa 50447 (ph 515 762-3201).
Click here to download page story appeared in.
Click here to read entire issue
To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.