Thursday, June 15, 2006

Harvesting Hay

We are almost done harvesting the first crop of hay. We still have two pivots that need to be baled but they got blown all over the place by the 60 mph winds on Tuesday and then drenched in rain Tuesday night. At least it was the two fields that had the poorest stands of hay.

Here's some pictures of the whole process. After the hay is swathed it dries in the field for a couple of days. It is then raked, usually in the morning when there is still dew on the hay. The dew helps to keep the leaves from falling off the hay.

After it dries for a couple more days it is baled. Baling usually takes place in the middle of the night when the dew is a littler heavier. Monday the weather was very humid so there was enough moisture to bale in the daytime. The bales need just the right amount of moisture. Too much moisture causes the bales to get 'hot' in the stack which can create fires. Too little moisture and the leaves fall off the hay and it's not as nutritious for the cows.

Here the hay is being feed into the baler (1). The tractor drives right over the top of the hay, with the tires going on either side of the row (2). We have accumulators on our balers. The accumulators will hold two bales while a third is being made and the driver can let the bales fall where they want. This allows us to line up the bales in a field making hauling hay faster and easier (3). Abby, Eve, and Sara waiting on a bale for their turn to ride with Dad in the baling tractor.

1 comment:

Calandria said...

It made me smile that you bale in the middle of the night when the dew is heaviest! In Maine we were always concerned with the hay being too wet, NEVER too dry.

Neat pictures! I always like your descriptions of farm work.