We baled hay on Memorial Day. Here is a play by-play of the process.
Saturday, May 24, 7am . . . This is the same alfalfa field I showed you several weeks ago. We’ve gotten several warm rains and the alfalfa is more than knee-high by now. Soon the sun will be brighter and burn off the haze and dew.I can’t believe it, I forgot to take a picture of the haybine mowing the hay! But don’t worry, we make hay all summer long and you will see the machinery in another post.
Saturday 6 pm . . . The hay has been cut and laid in windrows.
Monday 6:30 am . . . I’ve started raking one row of hay onto the row beside it. Heavier rows make the bales more solid and stable. The tractor and rake are old but they get the job done.
9:30 am . . . The fields are raked, now we wait for the baler. We custom hire a baler when we “wet” bale. The hay is not completely dry, the hay on the ground side is still green and full of moisture.
10 am . . . The neighbor comes with the baler and starts baling. He straddles the windrow between the front wheels and the hay feeds into the baler . . .
the bales come out the back . . .
4:30 pm . . . All the bales have been moved and are waiting for the wrapper. The little blue things on the bales are the twine knots. The large hay wagon hold 17 of the bales, the smaller wagons hold 6 bales each. It took us 6 hours to carry all the bales into this line. We didn’t stop to eat either.
This is what the field looks like with the hay off.
8 pm . . . The wrapping machine is here. The farmer puts the bales on the wrapper; the machine wraps the bales in plastic and lays them in a row.
10 pm . . . The bales are all wrapped. The farmer comes into the house, showers, eats his supper and then watches the Pacers vs the Heat while eating his nightly bowl of ice cream.
10:30 pm . . . It starts to rain, watering the fields that were baled. The alfalfa starts growing. In a month we’ll do this all over again.
Tuesday, May 27, 7 am . . . This is 26 acres of hay, 188 wrapped bales.
We will let the bales set for several weeks. The hay will ferment and turn into baylage. In 2 weeks we will start feeding this hay to the cows. They are grazing grass pasture now and the hay will supplement the pasture. They eat approximately a bale a day so this should last into September.
We have a third field of hay that we did not wet bale. We plan to dry bale the 3rd field but that will be more of a challenge. That will be a post for another day.