Saturday, July 23, 2011

Making hay while the sun shines

This is an old quote, but it still rings true for farmers today. Essentially this quote means taking the opportunity to do something when the time and conditions are near perfect. The conditions have been near perfect for harvesting hay, and we have made a lot of hay while the sun is shining!

The months of June and July are typically referred to as "hay season" on the farm. There is a small window of opportunity where the hay is ready and the quality is the best. This is usually soon after the grass has pollinated, if it is cut too late you run the risk of having poor quality hay. The hay must be cut when the time is right and when rain is not in the forecast. Farmers listen to the weather trying to find a window of at least three days where they can mow, rake, and bale a field of hay without a chance of rain in the forecast. It is not the end of the world if the hay gets rained on, but it does diminish the quality of the hay if this happens.

This window of approximately 40 days consists of doing four things over and over until the job is done. The first consists of mowing the hay, then raking the hay, baling is next, then hauling it home. Many hours are spent in the hay field over the course of these months. Adam, his dad, my dad, brother, and uncles have been spending long days in the hay field trying to get everything baled and hauled home before a chance of rain arrives. They have been working extremely hard in this heat, and their efforts have paid off. We have wrapped up hay season on our farm and I believe most of my relatives are almost done as well.

On our farm we only bale brome hay. To see what it looks like you can scroll down to the pictures below, you can see a sliver of it on the edge of the field. When the brome grass is ready to be cut it is mowed with a swather. The grass is then raked into windrows, and baled once grass has dried down and lost some of the moisture content. The baler puts on a net wrap to keep the grass wrapped up around the bale. The hay is then picked up from the field and brought home to be stored in the barn where it will be kept out of the elements until it is time to be fed to the cattle. When fall and winter arrive and the cattle are brought home from the pasture we feed the hay to them and if necessary roll it out for bedding if snow is on the ground. Adam and his dad baled and brought home 800 round bales of hay and 350 small square bales. In the picture for the blog title you can see Adam using the small square bales to feed the calves.

A few pictures to provide you with a glimpse of how we make hay while the sun shines.

The neighbor boys helped us pick up bales out of the field.
This is also one of my favorite pictures from the day!

Getting ready for the tractor and trailer to come down the
middle of the bales.

Brecen(L) and Haden(R) were a big help!

Putting the bales on the trailer.

This is another favorite picture!

I was the driver of the pickup and trailer.
The guys stacked this trailer, then it was time to
switch trucks and finish up the field.

Adam's Grandpa brought this truck and trailer to the field,
and he took the full one back to the house. I switched over to
this truck and we finished picking up the square bales.

The stacked trailers on the way to the barn.

Luke, Haden, and Brecen taking a few minutes to cool off
after picking up the 350 square bales.

The boys watching the guys stack the bales in the barn.

Stacking the hay in the barn.

Hauling the round bales home.

Adam used the Bobcat to move the bales to the barn.
You can see the net wrap around the bales here.

Stacking the barn with round bales.


  1. Looks as though you have some great help baling hay! Great to have neighbors that enjoy helping!

  2. Only a few blogger would discuss this subject the way you do.


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