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Charge for storing hay?

Those of you who make hay:
If you store baled hay for a customer, or store yours offsite, what do you charge/get charged?

Asking as hayguy neighbors use my indoor for loaded wagons. I’ve had as many as 7 in there, including 2 huge cage wagons. So up to 1000+ bales. I’ve never charged, in exchange I get my hay - 300 small squares is my year’s worth- bargain basement priced.
They sell out of my arena.
But they mentioned not doing hay next year & I still have 3 wagons in my arena.
I’m pretty sure what’s in there isn’t for sale, as in past, but for their personal horses. Their barn has no room for storing this quantity.
If I need to find another source next season, I’d like to get ahead by charging for the storage.


I’d be charging a minimum of your annual hay cost. 300 bales sounds like a bucket of water in a pond… Not that much… I’m kind of surprised they’re charging you at all for 300 bales.

Since they’ve been running a business out of your facility, and you not only have money coming out of your pocket AND you lose the storage space, or usable space in general… You really need to be breaking even at the very least.


Thanks for your perspective.
For the last 2yrs, my hay was free, so that agrees with your suggestion. That was their idea, I’d been paying, but a fraction of the going rate.

“Neighbors” is really the key here, as the family are really good neighbors.
The news about no more haymaking kind of blindsided me, so in my original post I neglected to add the helpful things they’ve done.
My ~2+ac of pastures have been bushhogged by them a couple times.
They built my mini’s stall (I paid for materials), adding to the 2 already in the barn. Then cut & framed a mini-height door at the back, as my horse & pony both had free access to pasture from theirs.
Son has a landscaping business & mows my acreage without charging me (though fitting me in his schedule often leaves my lawns looking untended) & they plow my driveway & a path from house to barn for me in Winter.
OTOH, I allow them use of my 16’ stock trailer when they need something smaller than their own 24’.
And in a kind of mutual benefit, they had been cutting & baling an L-shaped field on my property. A good season gave them 100-150 small squares in each of 2 cuttings.
Hay was theirs to sell & in return my place was kept looking civilized & gave me a place to ride & drive.
This year that field did not get cut.

My hay guy works in favours, like you’re doing with your neighbour. I pick up one round bale each week from his farm. He doesn’t charge me for storage or for loading, and for the last 10 years that I’ve been with him, he has always saved enough hay for me. In exchange, I help out on the farm, visit with him, etc. If you won’t be able to get hay from your neighbour next year, I suggest you look for another hay supplier who also needs storage and try to barter another deal. If possible, it would be neighbourly of you to continue to store your neighbour’s hay for free, or at least give them a lot of notice that you will be renting out the space to someone else.


I guess I’d think long and hard about bringing money into what sounds like an informal barter situation with good neighbors. If you got your hay for free from current season, then it makes sense to store for current season as that has been the agreement, it sounds.

Do you use your indoor for riding? Is the storage inconvenient? If yes address that, certainly - consolidate to one wagon, move tightly into corner, shift as much as they can onto their own farm/barn.

And, maybe have another chat about their plans for next year. Perhaps they’ll make hay for themselves but not large scale and would make enough for you as well, or perhaps they’ll lease their fields and connect you with new haymakers. In that conversation you could mention needing to fund your hay budget and mull out loud the idea of renting arena storage for $$.

You know your neighbors (and your budget!), and I know hay is a big line item, but good relations with good neighbors are priceless.



I pay my hay guy $1/bale for storage, which is a somewhat different situation. However, I think given the mowing/plowing/help, I would not expect payment for the storage.


This ^ !!!

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When the maximum # of wagons was in, I still had 1/3 of the 60X120 arena for my use & yes, I was able to ride (Dressage) when my trainer came 2X a month. That hasn’t happened for going on 3yrs - because: finances. But I can ride in there on my own too.
I am not picky about footing & only rake the tractor/wheel ruts when they get too deep.
Also turn horses out in the arena very briefly when I have vet or shoer coming in weather that means I have to wrestle with closing the Dutch doors at back of the stalls. Those doors are left open & sometimes have to be dug out to close.
I have told neighbors this means the hay on wagons will be plundered & they’re okay with that. Never more than a bale or 2 pulled down, never broken.
The pirates:

I only got the news yesterday, so my mind has leapt forward to next year.
But the greater concern is getting through this Winter & to next year’s 1st cutting.
I forgot to add generally my year’s worth is in the barn by August.
This year it’s arrived ~50 bales at a time & I’m currently short around 150 bales needed to see me through.

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Did they tel you why they aren’t doing hay next year?

I would expect that whatever was on the wagons included “your” year supply, maybe clarify that with them?

Just ask them.

Just send them a note - Dear wonderful neighbor, at this time I am still 150 bales short of what I typically have in the barn for the winter. What was the plan? Were you just planning on me taking it off the wagons in the indoor?
If you are not doing hay next year, does that mean you were not going to hay the parts of my property that you have previously hayed? Do you have a good hay source that I should be contacting to make sure I have the hay that I need?


Apologies for my lack of clarity.

But, subject just came up yesterday when I was on a roadtrip with the son - he’s the guy I call my Faux Grandson.
He took a call, put it on speaker & caller was asking if they were selling their haymaking equipment.
I asked him then:
1)was the rest of my year’s supply still in the deal
2)was someone taking over their (leased) fields
(a BIL does hay, including a field across the road & another small field - like mine- just North of me)
Got oblique answers to both.
*He’ll get the rest of my hay when he gets more of his.
*“Call Dad” about next year, he’s “got too much on his plate” & won’t be helping with haying.
Justing by the Father/Son dynamic I’ve observed, that has subject to change.

Earlier this Summer I was told the BIL would cut my field.
I told him I don’t care if it’s baled or not. Just want it down.
That hasn’t happened.
If I see BIL getting a 3rd cutting across the road, I’ll ask him myself. That may fluff FG’s feathers, as he likes to determine when & how these things get done.

The hay in my arena now is an alfalfa mix, I feed only orchard grass, so no, not anything for me on those wagons. He’s told me it’s for their Belgians. Their place has no storage for that amount of hay.

He has a habit of keeping news he knows I won’t like until the last minute. So I was blindsided.
And he knows enough about my finances - had to get new well pump & tank in August - to know this puts me in a shaky position for Winter & into 2024.
I’m more disappointed than mad.
But if I have to scramble for hay next year (assuming he’ll get me through until then) the free storage ends as I’ll need any rental to find & pay a new supplier.
I may ask about the BIL, but again, that will need to go through him unless I get “permission” to call myself.
Male Ego can = Eggshells :unamused:


This is what we’ve done, the few times it’s been necessary. In our case, we drop our flatbed trailer off, they load the hay out of the field and store it under cover until we come get it.

Call me Chicken Little (with a caveat) :roll_eyes:
I may need to change my username.

Dad showed up tonight while I was feeding horses.
He was taking bales of their hay from the indoor.
We chatted & the Not Making Hay isn’t set in stone.
The guy they’ve partnered with, who owns a lot of the equipment - especially the tractors - is considering selling.
So, Situation Orange averted.
At least for now.
Once again, the Father/Son dynamic had the sky falling & I took the bait.

Until the shoe drops, as far as I’m concerned, things will remain status quo.
But I’ll be checking the local auction for hay prices & pinching pennies even harder.


I’ve tried several times to do the ’ bartering favors thing with the local good ol boys several times. I’ve come down to the realization that even if it works out in their favor in terms of market rates for goods/services, there’s something psychological that makes some people devalue what they’re getting if it’s divorced from money.

So now I pay the guy who maintains my machinery and helps me bale hay instead of offering him half the price of any hay we sell. Around here, bales of second cutting go for $10/bale plus $1/bale delivery which he doesn’t split with me (and good luck even finding delivery anymore, so we always sell out of he delivers)so he could’ve made at least $10k selling out of my hay barn, but I’ve paid him about $7k for hourly rate for labor for this season. :woman_shrugging:t2:

All this to say, the way you describe the relationship is that they’re friendly but you’re not top priority and they seem spread thin. I’d gracefully bow out of any future quid pro quo and ask for payment either in hay or cash.


Why not see if they can give you what you need from the hay stored in your arena? I wouldn’t charge them as it sounds like they do a lot for you.

I would be securing a hay person for next year if they are not certain on putting up hay next year.

The OP posted this upthread:


I guess I missed that @Alterwho. My second piece of advice still stands. I would not wait around to see what might happen with hay next year.

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Agree & looking into other sources now :neutral_face:

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