On the road: Bailing hay

  • Tyrel Reed, of Reed Farms, chats during a pause of working his hay fields near Lamar, Colorado.

In a hot hay field about 10 miles west of Lamar, Colorado, in the southeast corner of the state, Tyrel Reed, 28, was baling hay. Fast.

His bailer, a $160,000 wonder, can gather more than 12 acres of cut hay in an hour, creating up to 70 rectangular bales an hour, each weighing about 1,250 pounds.

Reed, whose father and grandfather started farming in this area about 60 years ago, run Reed Farms, about 3,000 acres irrigated with Arkansas River water delivered by the Fort Lyon Canal.

Reed mostly concentrates on raising 600 head of cattle. But hay needs to be bailed.

This hay, which got rained on, will sell for somewhat less that the market average, about $85 a ton, so each of the huge bales will cost about $50. It would take 3,200 of them to pay for the bailer, the same to pay for the tractor pulling it.

Good thing Reed is fast.

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