how do you get your hay

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Tabitha, Sep 15, 2006.

  1. Tabitha

    Tabitha greenheart

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    this is sort of a rant. maybe I am unfair. we had a hayfield cut monday a week ago, we do not have the equipment to do it ourselves. the weather was fine, perfect for four days. I would have turned it by hand, as I have sufficient wooden rakes for the purpose and my kids were here. but I guess it is not done that way. you leave it laying on the ground until it rots, gets rained on four times and today, ( I turned a third of it yesterday to see if I can salvage some for bedding, it is definitely ruined, very moldy) a week and a half later, the teenage son of the man comes to turn it and wants to roll it tomorrow. My rant is not against that teenager, but my husband who is agreeable to pay good money to roll wet and spoiled hay into rolls that I have no idea how I will ever get them apart and what I will do with them, as I can not carry them in the garden for mulch. fuming and breathing fire....
     
  2. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Somebody should have check the "paclaging" method before contracting for the job! It might make the start of a good compost pile in it's present condition byt not "ba;ed" It will grow mold like mad.
     

  3. Topaz Farm

    Topaz Farm Well-Known Member

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    As hard as it is to get hay around here, I would be ranting and raving too.
    The hay is useless, I don't even know if goats could eat it. The only use I can see for it, is mulch, compost and maybe between the rows in your garden.
     
  4. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

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    Let me start by suggesting you get your own equipment. Then when folks call you up to to cut & bale their hay, you may see the other side of this coin. If your hay was ready, most likely other folks hay was also ready. Maybe the folks that owned the haying equipment had hay down too.

    We didn't have our baler when we first got here. We would cut & rake our hay, then have to wait for the guy that had the baler had free time to bale our hay for us. He also baled for other folks. He could not control the weather nor when the time the hay came in for cutting.

    Shoot, since we've got our baler, we've had hay cut and unexpected rain come in and ruin it. Last summer when we had a severe draught in our area, the only time it DID rain was when Paul had hay on the ground!!!

    You don't need fancy wooden rakes to turn the hay ... simple pitch forks work well. We've raked our 5 acres by hand.
     
  5. Hammer4

    Hammer4 Well-Known Member

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    It sounds to me like the folks who are baling also did the cutting. They could have had the baler or tractor break down after baling it, but other than that there isn't really any excuse if they cut it, let it lay 4 days ( and more after it started raining ) and just now are coming back to bale it.

    If they didn't have time to bale it within 4 days, they shouldn't have cut it.

    We have our own equipment after watching the frustrations the in-laws went thru trying to get someone to come bale their hay.
     
  6. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps they had their own hay to get in? Or larger customers with hay down that needed baling?

    It's not that I'm unsympathetic, but we don't know all the circumstances. Were any calls made in that 4 days? How humid is their area? What is the average time hay needs to dry in their climate? Some days, we can bale the next day, some cuttings take a few days.

    I guess we've had enough of our own hay ruined by unforeseen circumstances (weather, breakdowns) that it has become 'part of life' just like wind or hail damaged crops. you do the best with what you have and try not to depend on other folks for things you can do yourself.
     
  7. bargarguy

    bargarguy Well-Known Member

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    Yep
    I think I would be a bit upset myself, once they started the job they should have finished, short of a unforseen problem or a mechanical break down.
     
  8. pasotami

    pasotami Hangin out at the barn!

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    I would have had myself and kids camped out on their front porch until the job was done....
    But for future knowledge.... One can buy a walk behind sickle mower and make their own hay.... I know it is the old fashion way and bales are much easier but heck, you would have hay now and not a pile of future mulch. If you can turn 1/3 of the hay with a fork then you can do it all yourself. Putting up loose hay is not that hard. Do you own a tractor?
     
  9. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I just came in from stacking 400 bales of alfalfa in the barn. I have both a square baler & a round blaer. Everything old equipment....

    Anyhow, I sure undestand your frustration.

    If this happened one time because of something they couldn't control, as mentioned - it's bad, but just happens.

    On the other hand if this is typical operation of your neighbors, you need to find someone else or get your own equipment. How big of a plot of hay do you have?

    --->Paul
     
  10. RLMS

    RLMS Well-Known Member

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    I have all new equipt:
    NH 570 small baler
    NH 742 Silage Special Round Baler
    NH 1412 discbine
    2 NH rakes
    1 NH tedder
    and five tractors from 30 hp to 176 hp

    AND I STILL LOST MY WHOLE FIRST CUTTING


    It happens :shrug: :shrug:

    SORRY
     
  11. 6e

    6e Farm lovin wife Supporter

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    We have a man come cut and bale 80 acres. He cuts it one day and bales it the next. We've never had any trouble with any of it rotting. He doesn't cut till August and the grass is almost hay on the stem. We would like for him to cut around the 4th of July, but he has so many fields that he cuts that we just have to be patient and wait on him. This year hopefully we'll have our own equipment and make some money baling other people's fields.
     
  12. Ole Man Legrand

    Ole Man Legrand Well-Known Member

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    A hay tedder is a very important tool for making hay. our days are short ,the dew is heavy and the humidity is high.It is hard for us to make hay in Sept. I just cut 200 bales today, hope to bale Monday. Jay
     
  13. FarmboyBill

    FarmboyBill Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When I was a kid. Now I hate haying season. I have all my own equipment., but I fight the mower and baler every year. This year I mowed, raked mine own, but had to have a neighbor come in and bale it as my square baler engine wouldnt start. Now, after getting done with my corn, ill bale again. around 5 acres this time. I wont/dont do others as I am grateful just to get mine own done, and i want the equip[ to last, and it wont if im traipsing all over the countryside doing others. I didnt have any haying equipment down here in Okieland when I came and had to beg for others to come and get mine, Twice of that, and I said, the hell with this and got my own setup. For many years it was a horse mower, and it worked good, but now Ive got a simi mount IHC 27 7ft mower. I also got a 7ft New Idea Pull type tractor mower with a rope trip. I use a JD 4 bar rake steel wheeled my dad gave me, but now IVe also got a Case 4 bar. stell wheeled that he used a year or two, plus a junk rake of the same make, so Ive got plenty of spare parts. Then I bale with my 1960 Case `140 W baler when the engine is running. Ive got another junk baler with pto on it, and this winter I may replace the engine with the pto on my good baler. I also have a loose hay loader, a square bale loader, and a dump rake, so I dont worry about hay much anymore. Just the agony of getting ready to do it. Here in Okieland it comes at the beginning of July, just about the hottest part of the year.
     
  14. pasotami

    pasotami Hangin out at the barn!

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    I can relate to FarmBoyBill.... I have or had all the tractors and hay equiopment - loved it when I was younger... now I am going to all horse drawn equipment and doing it a slow and easier way.... 3000 square bales in a weekend almost killed me! I'm in the mode of thinking smaller and slower and listening to the jingle of harness! (all smiles!)
     
  15. Scomber

    Scomber Well-Known Member

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    I just got mine done this week. I'd helped a friend bale a month ago or so, and he made lousy hay. He's an accountant as his day job, and we're both still learning. Anyway, this year being so wet, none of the regulars wanted to do it. When it's wet they can't do anything and when it's dry they've got older customers to take care of. So Bob bought a 3-point four wheel rake, a New Holland 269 baler, and a 6' Sitrex sickle bar. I leant him my Ferguson TO-35 to drag the baler around the field with, and did a fair amount of labor too, raking, baling, and loading. He put up somewhere around 800 bales, and most of the hay had been rained on at least once in the field and wasn't as dry as I would be comfortable with. The forecast just didn't cooperate. The baler was nothing special either, but we found a parts donor machine locally.

    So last Sunday I came home from a wedding to put my ducks in before the owls eat them, and I found Bob finishing up mowing my hayfield. Monday I turned it with the wheel rake while Bob cut a little more. Tuesday I turned it all again. Wednesday I raked it again, this time into larger windrows. (Monday and Tuesday I really only raked single 6' swaths to reduce ground contact and let the wind into it better.) Wednesday afternoon Bob baled while I tried to round up a loading crew.

    I failed to be able to borrow a neighbor's hay wagon, as he was hauling hay around that afternoon too. Rob had thrown his back out, and Sonia was watching their boy and trying to do Rob's chores. Khalif had some lung disease (which is too bad, as he actually Likes hauling bales). Ralph and Julian were still both at school, or so Bec said, and she was working on a writing assignment due that evening. Jim, the skinny guy who does computer repair and sells popsickles, was able to help, but there was a miscommunication and he didn't get there until about an hour before sundown.

    So while Bob baled, I put my converted boat trailer with the 4x8 plywood deck behind my Tacoma with the 6' bed, drove out into the field, and started grabbing bales. The forecast for Wednesday night was showers. I moved about 200 bales out of the field and into the top of the barn, without a hay elevator, by myself. Jim and Bob helped with the last load, tossing them up to me so that I could stack them, but I had loaded four loads, about 55 bales per load, onto the truck and trailer myself.

    Thursday morning was misty, but it hadn't actually rained. I loaded the truck and trailer a fifth time, and Jim came over to help get it into the barn. That made (I think) 280 bales into the barn, in addition to the 42 bales left over from last year that are still in there. Yeah, I know, that's old and should be gotten rid of, but it's still better than most of what's in Bob's barn. I gave away about 32 bales that weren't really dry enough to store. I was tired of putting hay in the barn anyway. Jim got 5, Khalif 10, and Rob 17. They'll all mostly use it as mulch.

    In the end, we never got enough rain to do more than barely wet the asphalt. If I'd left that wetter stuff unbaled it'd be dry now, but that's okay. I think two years ago we got 265 bales out of that field. Last year we got 230. This year, getting it done so late after a wet year, the counter said 315 bales, and most of that was good hay.

    Here in this part of Maine, nobody talks about second cuttings much. The question asked is simply, "Do you have your hay in?" I was really lucky to get hay dry this far into September.

    Dan
     
  16. Scomber

    Scomber Well-Known Member

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    Something else on the subject:

    I grew up with my Dad (corporate management type, but from a farm as a kid) talking about the dangers of spontaneous combustion in damp hay. And I know it'll go moldy if not properly dry. But what's properly dry? Bob's certainly wasn't bone dry. It seems like there are a number of people around here that feel that slightly damp is better than no hay at all, and they put it in their barns. But where do you draw the line?

    When we were baling at Bob's, Nat stopped by. Nat hays a lot for a number of people. He's one of the ones who was too busy to get to Bob's for the work, but he was haying next door and looked in on us. He said something like, "It's okay if it's slightly damp as long as it isn't wet." Okay. What?!? I think he may have meant something like, "As long as the inside of the plant has dried out, some surface moisture is allowable." I don't know how much of that to believe, as Nat also says that cattle can eat cruddy, stemmy, brown, slightly moldy hay and be just fine, because gut bacteria will make what's needed from it. Well, no, not if there isn't any protein/nitrogen left present, say I. Anyway, they say that a damp bale left outside for a few days will "sweat" the moisture out and be fine. I'm still learning where to draw the line. This year I was lucky. I got a big harvest and was able to just give away the damper stuff to friends.

    Dan
     
  17. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I buy hay from a neighbor and consider myself very lucky. I have a friend who puts up his own, and does another neighbor's on shares, and every year he says "Never again". It's too stressful because you can't control the weather, and machinery breaks down at the worst times.
     
  18. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Cattle typically get a mix of feed, one part of which can be really cruddy hay. Done it many times myself. I would _not_ try to make them live off only moldy bales, but have you ever tried a too-wet bale of clover that has dried down & gotten brown & hard like a brick?

    Those cattle will lick it up & stand there, beg for more.

    Anyhow, the rest of what you say is true, and it is just a guessing game, learn as you go. If it got moldy but didn't catch on fire, then it was a bit wet to bale, but got by with it.

    Some folks salt the bales if they are wet, but I hate what salt does to metal & buildings and all so wouldn't want to do that.

    If only a dozen or so are wet, stand them on edge, with room around them, for a week or so. They well go through their sweat, but with air around them won't build up the heat to catch on fire. Generally they turn out real well yet - for cattle anyhow.

    --->Paul
     
  19. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    And to add to what Paul said, if you are going to mow away wet hay, pack it as tight as possible. This excludes the air so you don't get a fire started. I've heard my neighbor talk about finding 6' char circles in the mow when feeding out, where the hay oxidized but couldn't actually burn because there was no air for the fire. That's if you have to put it in, anyway.

    Jennifer
     
  20. vicker

    vicker Well-Known Member

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    We have several neigbors who stack their own hay in shocks. One does about 4 acres and is now doing it for the 3'rd of the season. He has his own tractor and rake but does the rest by hand. Another has a son and they do it all by hand (sythes, rakes and forks). Not sure of the acerage, but big shocks. When I was a kid of around 9-10 my grandmother couldn't get her's baled, but did get it raked into rows. Me and a couple cousins shocked it and later carried it to the mow. It wasn't fun, but funny thing, years later when my grandma died I was asked if I wanted anything from the old home. I picked a hay rake :shrug: