Hay Season Has Begun

Spring on the farm means fertilizing and harvesting the hay crop. Gene says all spring and summer he makes hay and in the fall and winter he feeds hay! His whole work load seems to center around hay one way or another.

Making hay is a three day process. This week, on Tuesday, Gene laid the first hay on the ground. This week was a narrow window for hay. They were calling for rain on Thursday evening so he cut a small amount. He also has some new equipment he has to get used to.

Can’t you just smell that freshly mowed hay?

Last fall Gene planted Wintergrazer 70 and Passerel Plus Ryegrass. The two mixed together make a really good early crop of hay. After it is harvested, Gene will let it grow back some before turning the beef cattle into the fields to graze.

Wintergrazer 70 is an extensively proven and widely adapted cereal grain rye. As a grain rye, it has superior cold tolerance when compared to other cereal grains such as wheat and oats. With its excellent cold tolerance and upright growth habit, Wintergrazer 70 is well suited for mixing with legumes, brassica, and/or other small grains such as wheat and oats.

Passerel Plus, an annual ryegrass that produces highly palatable and nutritious forage for all classes of livestock. It is excellent for growing cattle producing average daily gains of 2 lbs./head or more. Good late fall and excellent spring growth. It is is a late maturing variety that provides grazing long after many other varieties mature and diminish. Good cold tolerance and rust resistance.

Wednesday morning he tettered the hay, spreading the windrows out so that the sun could dry it faster.

Later in the afternoon he raked it back into windrows for baling.

Thursday, he baled and wrapped the hay. Tonight while it rains he will sleep well, knowing they hay is finished and wrapped.

The bales may look like big marshmallows in the field to the nonfarming community but wrapping the hay has numerous benefits. It saves time as it cuts at least a day out of the process as you want/need more moisture in the hay. Gene constantly monitors the weather patterns during hay season and often deals with narrow windows on good hay making weather. It improves the quality as the hay ferments inside the plastic making silage which the cows love. It improves the preservation as it cuts out spoilage and mold especially when storing the hay outside. In short, you can make hay faster with better quality and lest waste.

Gene bales a lot of hay, last year he made 2200 bales for his beef herd. He has a grinder, mixer wagon that he uses in the winter to grind/shred the hay before feeding it to the cows.

Checking the quality of the bale and hay.

Gene traded balers this spring and the equipment dealer (Spaldings) and the Kubata rep came on site to get him started. There is always a learning curve with a new piece of equipment, especially the computer technology. This baler has a new feature, it cuts the hay into small pieces as it bales. This will cut his grinding time in half this winter which will be a huge time saver.

Sample of the freshly baled hay.

Friday morning update: It was suppose to rain last night but since it didn’t, Gene was able to get the bales out of the field. He likes to move them within a day or two as the bales sitting on the grass soon make a dead spot.

His first cut was 39 bales. By the time the season is over there will be big stacks everywhere!!!

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