Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Preparing to Bale Hay...

I think I am going to be limited in the amount of blogging that I can do for the next two weeks as we come down the homestretch of our big house building push. I really do help that you check out my wife's blog for all sorts of updates because it is pretty amazing how things are coming together. But, even more amazing than how quickly it is coming together is the how people are coming together to get things done. If I was left to my own devices we would be no where close to done, but when the body of Christ jumped up and threw their help my way things really took off. September, 26th is the deadline ... so, keep praying!

But, I will update you on a little farm news that I hope can take place this week. I have talked to a farmer from the church who will come and bale some hay for us on our land. He has a disc mower that will make easy work of all the shrubs and anthills that are growing up in our pastures that have been growing for around 14 years. If I was to go out there with my sickle mower haybine I think the only thing that would happen is my frustration. It would be clogging up so much that it would be unbearable.

The idea is that he will mow the hay, I will rake it, and then he will bale it up into (smaller) large round bales for me. Normally I would rather put up small squares, but with all that is going on now hay of any kind is all that matters!

I'll keep you updated as things move along in the hay field and in the house!


Rich said...

Have you ever considered using an Australian technique for improving pastures called pasture cropping?


It is similar to over-seeding a pasture with oats, rye, ryegrass, etc. in early fall to provide winter grazing, but pasture cropping is designed to also allow for the harvest of a grain crop.

Usually a native grass pasture is grazed short with a higher stocking rate in the fall, then something like winter wheat is drilled into the pasture. The wheat is then managed in much the same way as conventionally grown wheat; grazed over the winter and grain harvested in early summer, it can be grown for grain only, it can be grazed-out, or it can be baled.

I have been thinking that I could bale a part of our native pasture, wait till it starts to go dormant in the fall, drill in some wheat, graze it over the winter, harvest the grain, and then immediately start grazing it again like a normal pasture. The next year, a different part of the pasture would be treated in this manner, so that a rotation of hay baling, pasture cropping, and grazing would be started.

It might be worth the effort to “experiment” and plant a small test plot in a portion of your pasture that has been cut for hay. If you can’t get access to a drill, it is possible to plant small grains with a broadcast spreader.

Starting on a small scale and working out all the details associated with pasture cropping winter wheat could eventually lead to being able to grow enough wheat to support a value added venture (whole wheat flour sales, artesian bakery, etc) while still grazing your pastures.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

What is an artesian bakery? Does dough come out of the ground?

Sorry I couldn't resist ;)

Rich said...

"...Does dough come out of the ground?..."

Actually, in an artesian bakery the baked goods would come out of the ground, not the unbaked dough.

I meant to type artisanal (stupid spellchecker).

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Thanks Rich, for clearing up the dough versus baked goods well.

Water should not be used until it is mature and ready to come out of the ground anyway, so I guess it would be the same for breads and such...

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