Saturday, September 05, 2009

A "Bale" of a Good Time

Earlier this week I was able to get the haybine up and running and cut about 4 acres (more or less) of grass. It was nice to know that the haybine we purchased last year was in good working condition. I knew the rake would work fine because I used it last year, so the last piece of the puzzle that needed to be put together was whether or not I had a working baler. I knew that there was a spring underneath that was broken, but since I do not have a manual (or a lot of baler knowledge) we didn't get the correct part ordered.

Good thing there was a plan B, or C, or D ... I don't really remember which plan it was, but I do know that we were able to borrow the families New Holland baler. With a working baler in hand we were able to finally put up the hay that I cut. Needless to say, it was plenty dry and ready to be baled.

The grass in that area of the farm is mostly a mixture of warm season grasses. As Rich mentioned in an earlier comment we have some Bluesteam, Indian Grass, and Switchgrass which actually covers most of our farm. It is a nice stand in some parts and a bit thin in most of the farm. I would say our bales averaged about 40 or 50 each and we have right around 130. Not a real good cutting, but at least it is a start.

It is very nice to look into the shed and see hay piling up!


Iowa Farm Boy said...

Was the baler a New Holland Hayliner Model 68?

I have fond memories as a fourteen year old staking bales of hay and straw on My Dad's Farm in Clayton County, Iowa. I used hay hooks to handle the bales.

Your post is interesting and one more question: Are you the beginning farmer stacking the bales on the wagon?

Good Fortune to you and your Family.

Rich said...

You forgot to mention how good the hay smells after it is stacked; when acres of hay are stacked into a few hundred square feet, the sweet hay smell can be almost intoxicating (something about the Brix levels I think).

I’ve been spending time on the tractor getting ready for planting wheat, trying to figure out the ‘system’ that my grandfather used on the entire farm, and realized that his hay meadows were usually next to wheat fields. Since the hay was cut in late June/early July (native grasses can easily regrow and out-compete the weeds, etc. during the typical local drought period in July/August), when the wheat was ready to be grazed in the winter, the hay meadows would have 120-150 days of stockpiled grass that would be grazed along with the wheat. I'm not sure how much less hay was fed, but the hay meadows next to the wheat fields always seem to grow slightly more grass than the one that wasn’t grazed in the winter (so maybe that winter strip-grazing actually would work as advertised)

It is too late to try it this year, but using the same type of thinking, you might be able to cut your hay earlier in the year, stockpile the resulting regrowth, and strip-graze it over the winter. Yearly rotate the area you cut for hay/stockpile and your grasses would start to thicken up.

John said...

Missing an update. Check every few days....


Jena said...

Is everything okay I hope? Does anyone know? I know he's been busy but I'm getting worried.

Ryan Marquardt said...

I was on the farm a week and a half ago and they are fine, busy, but fine. I suspect a little blogging burn-out and enjoying a breather from it.

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