Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wet hay say, "Bale another day."

I've always heard that the ideal time to cut burmudagrass hay is 30-35 days after the previous cutting. Well, that's exactly what we did with 52 acres of the stuff last Thursday and Friday. At the time, the weather forecast showed a fair chance of rain on Saturday, and then nothing greater than 20% before the chances rose to 50%+ during the second half of this week. Our thought was that it would have enough time to dry even if it did get a little wet Saturday, and we should have it all baled and hauled out of the fields by the end of Wednesday.

It stayed cloudy but never rained on Saturday. Meanwhile, the greater rain chances shifted to the first of the week.

We got 0.1" of precipitation during an afternoon-long mist/drizzle on Sunday. The not-fully-dried-out hay was now wet.

We never saw the sun on Monday, but we did see a couple of short downpours. Needless to say we never made it into the hayfield.

By midday today we were finally getting enough sunshine to start giving it a try. I spent 3.5 hours "fluffing" some of the hay with the tedder to speed up the drying process, and by 4pm the first 10 acres was dry enough to bale.  As luck would have it, though, a stray rain shower found its way into the field just as the hay rake and baler were doing the same. Once again, hay baling must be postponed another day.

I guess there are two things that we can learn from the events of the past few days. First of all, never place too much faith in a weather forecast beyond three days. And secondly, a farmer can ALWAYS find an opportunity to complain about the weather, even in the midst of one of the best summers weather-wise in recent memory.

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