Monday, June 21, 2010

a hay update

We've spent several hours in the hay field lately, so I thought I would give you a quick update on our progress.

Our first bermudagrass hay was cut two weeks ago, and at the time it looked like the weather forecast would be favorable to bale it two days later. Well, things changed, and what started out as a "30% chance of isolated showers late Wednesday" became a half inch of rain at 8:00 that Wednesday morning. That was followed by another 3.5 inches that evening. We did get the hay dried out and raked at the end of the week, but my dad didn't get halfway through baling it on that Saturday before a belt broke on the baler. We got it fixed the following Monday, and wound up with 96 bales off of 17 acres. Not bad considering the conditions.

We put the mowers back on the tractors last Thursday and set out to cut another 18 acres. The hay would have been ready to rake and bale Saturday afternoon. But again, dry hay on the ground is a great magnet for rain. We dodged the big rains and didn't get much more than a sprinkle, but it was enough to keep us out of the field that day. So, while I spend Fathers' Day afternoon in the milking barn, my dad spent it in the hayfield with the rake and baler. By the time he was finished, he had rolled 147 bales (nearly 3 tons per acre). I haven't gone back into my files, but I think that's the most that field has ever yielded on one cutting.

So, coming into this morning we had 243 bales from 35 acres, with 40 more acres to go. We got the hay mowers rolling about 10:30 this morning and covered all the ground by 5pm. The three fields we cut today have some spots of invasive crabgrass which won't dry out nearly as quickly as the bermudagrass, so we'll have to "fluff" it with our hay tedder tomorrow or Wednesday before we rake it. Hopefully for once we can avoid the rain until we have it baled later this week.

And THEN maybe we'll get some rain to get it all green and growing again!

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