The weather is being kind to us if it stays…

August 8, 2007 in webcams by MrFarmer

The weather is being kind to us, if it stays like it is for another three days we will be well on our way to making our hay for the winter. There is no art or cleaver way to make good hay. All you need is the right machinery and hot dry weather, and even better if you have a light wind blowing. After mowing you have to turn the grass every day with a haybob, until it is dry. A haybob is a piece of machinery with a number of wheels on it, forks or spines going vertically down from the wheel. These wheels turn very quickly and the forks or spines that touch the grass turns it over so that wet or damp grass is turned on top and also spreads it over a larger area. You need to turn the grass every day until it is completely dry. It would normally take four to five days to make hay with dry and warm weather conditions with the grass about a week from dropping it seed. This year because of the bad weather we are about four to six weeks late in making our hay. Most of the seed has dropped and the grass is a lot longer than normal. This will cause it to take longer to dry, the ground under the grass is still damp so in the morning there a quite a heavy dew on it, so that as well as drying the grass the dew also has to dry.

Once the grass it dry it has to be rowed up, in different part of the country it is sometimes known as ruing up, the hay is then baled in either big round bales, small oblong or very big square bales. I prefer the very big square bales as the hay tends to peel off easily. The big round bales are easy to move but don’t stack very well, we are making them this year. As for the small square bales, they are hard work stacking them. We made the equivalent to twelve hundred small bales last year, and we have used most of it. Because of the growth this year we will I reckon make the equivalent of sixteen hundred small bales, and it is not going to be as good as what we would normally make.

I like to make the hay with the seed about a week from dropping. With the seed still on the grass it makes a very high quality feed with a sweet smell to it, that all animals like. Horses will eat every bit of a good hay. A bad hay they will pick at, and waste a lot of it. This years grass was mowed on damp soil so the is a little bit of soil on it. We are hoping that when the grass is turned when it is nearly dry the soil will be shaken off. If it is not the hay is liable to pretty awful.

If we get a spell of rain on the grass when the hay is nearly made, and the forecast looks bad, we will try to make haylage. Haylage is grass that is still a little damp. It has to be baled and wrapped in plastic to stop it going mouldy. Haylage made right is a very good feed and Horses really do enjoy it. But making it can be a bit hit and miss. But at least we are making something.