Let’s make some hay!

Brian Harry

Spring is hay season and it puts a significant strain on my managing the balance between work and farm.  For the past several weeks, I’ve been stealing away every spare minute I can to cut, rake, bale and haul hay.  I’ve hayed about 75 acres and that yields one heck of a lot of hay.  I’m almost done – just a few dozen more rolls to move from the fields to the barn (assuming I can find more space in the barn :)).

I thought I’d share a picture to give a bit of a feel.  This is one of my fields – about 25 acres.  Each roll you see (and you can’t see all of them) is about 1,000 pounds.

You might notice that, in the foreground, there aren’t many rolls (just one orphan).  That’s a story in itself.  One of the hard things about making hay is weather.  Rain happening between the time you cut it and the time you roll it, is a big problem.  The process of getting wet and drying bleaches the hay, drains the nutrients and potentially makes it moldy.  Rain that happens right after you cut it is OK.  Rain later is bad.  One rain is recoverable.  Two is pretty much a death sentence.  Hay this season has been really hard because we’ve had a lot of very unpredictable rain.  The field in the foreground got rained on twice :(.  Ultimately, I just left it to rot and for the nutrients to just go back into the soil.  I’ll go back and bushhog it to just chop it up to rot a little faster.  It was probably 20 lost roles of hay.  Makes me sad but there it is.

The good news is, despite the rain, it was a very productive hay year and I already have almost all the hay I need for next winter.  I’ve never been that far ahead before – I usually don’t have it all until late in the Fall.

Just a brief story to lighten your busy day!



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