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Question for hay growers - Do you watch what you cut?

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  • Question for hay growers - Do you watch what you cut?

    Last fall I bought enough hay to last well into spring. It's a decent 2nd cutting, but I've found brambles/pricker bushes in quite a few bales. I'm pulling them all aside and if I get a lot, I'm going to ask for replacement hay.

    Question for hay growers. I'm sure cutting/mowing must get tedious.
    But do you watch what you cut? Or mow whatever is in front of you? Is it normal to mow around pricker bushes or just cut them down and bale them. I know horses eat around them, but I have a reason my horse cannot have them.

  • #2
    I've been wondering the same thing. Through the worst of winter, at least the worst in my opinion,(december-january) we got the prettiest round bales I'd ever seen. Now, we are getting the round bales from the same person, and it is still "pretty" from far away. Once you get up to it you can see the massive sticks/stems/prickers sticking out everywhere. The horses don't eat them, so it's a waste of a good portion of hay that is being paid for, and it's really hard to unroll a round bale when you get thorns and stems jammed up underneath your fingernails and slicing your hands open every time you grab ahold of a layer.

    I wish we could get replacement hay, but the last 5 bales have been the same, so I'm thinking in our case it's from a different field and is getting towards the "lower end" of the remaining bales that the supplier has.

    Good luck getting better hay! What issue does your horse have?

    Comment


    • #3
      A reputable custom hay producer will make his hay pastures are clean. Using the neccessary hebicides to keep the hay field clean of greenbriar, sandbur and other unwanted grasses.

      You may need to find a new hay source.

      Comment


      • #4
        We have baled weeds and weedy areas. But this big difference is we're not selling this hay. My horses will just pick around the bad stuff, I don't mind the waste. If I sell any it's off one of the "clean" fields.

        One year we square baled about an acre that was really heavy in ragweed just to get it off the ground. It was a drought year so hay was short everywhere. I threw a bunch of bales to my outside horses, and took a huge pickup load to a friend to feed to her big herd. This crap wasn't going to dry so needed to be fed immediately before it got moldy. At the very least I figured they could pick through it for the good grass mixed in. The horses loved the stuff and cleaned it all up except for the heavy stalks.

        Comment


        • #5
          About 4 years ago I got a load from my regular guy that had this problem.
          I was tossing out about 20% of every bale.

          When I asked hayguy whassup, he explained the load had come from a new field he'd just leased. He also offfered to replace the "bad" bales.
          I told him I'd keep what I had, but in future I'd prefer he not sell to me from that field - at least until he'd cut if for a couple years so it was relatively bramble-free.

          My neighbor cuts & bales the L-shaped acreage that surrounds my pastures.
          Year one it was crap, this year - #3 - they hay looked darn good and they got 3 cuttings.
          So sometimes it just takes time to make a good hayfield.
          *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
          Steppin' Out 1988-2004
          Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
          Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

          Comment


          • #6
            Yes - I always watch what I cut but it would be nearly impossible to not cut one pricker bush, if you can even see it in amongst the rest of the grasses - if you have a bad section in a field, you actually still want to mow it, but you shouldn't sell those bales.

            I have a fairly small tractor & mower - my mower is only 6' wide - compared to some but it's not at all like mowing your lawn where you can see something small and maneuver around it.

            Watching for 'stuff' is more for things that could damage the machines - like big branches, rocks, or for animals that you don't want to hurt - fawns, porcupines etc.

            Comment


            • #7
              no one would not avoid nasty places for the uniformity of the fields and the machines that follow but the job is taken care of months in advance so no weeds would need to be avoided to begin with....you are only seeing sloth in a bale
              tamara
              Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
              I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by Tamara in TN View Post
                no one would not avoid nasty places for the uniformity of the fields and the machines that follow but the job is taken care of months in advance so no weeds would need to be avoided to begin with....you are only seeing sloth in a bale
                tamara
                I'll definitely find a new hay supplier, but what do you mean "Seeing sloth in a bale." ?

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm going out on a limb here and opining Tamara means lazy haymakers make brambly bales.

                  To stand up for my guy:
                  He's 80yo and does not own the fields he cuts.
                  For having to travel all over creation cutting 10ac here, 20ac there, he does a respectable job for the most part.
                  Since the prickly bales I have not gotten a bad bale from him.

                  In fact, I rarely have to discard any either.
                  I am now down to my last 12 or so bales from those I bought last June and they are faded from the light, but otherwise still darn good hay.
                  I just added 50 bales of his last year's 2nd cut to carry me through until this year's 1st, and as nice as it looks to me, my horses still prefer last year's.
                  Go figure.
                  *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                  Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                  Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                  Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It can get tedious, but I always watch what I cut. I also watch what comes out the back of the baler. If I get something that I don't like I will stop and flag a bale with ribbon so that I can put it in a separate stack. In order to be efficient at baling you have to follow a set pattern (as determined by your equipment and the size/shape of your field), which means that sometimes you get undesireable bales. Some are ok for cow hay, some are not. The ones that are not don't get sold.

                    An honest supplier will replace bad hay, not try to pass off low grade cow hay as horse hay, and won't knowingly sell bad hay because their reputation is important to their business.

                    We are pretty lucky in that the we really only have blackberry vines to deal with. We just go in in the spring and knock them back. Every once in a while some will get baled in, but just the bales closest to the edge of the field by the creek. Usually we don't sell those anyway, because they never dry out properly. Those go to erosion control at some of the other businesses my boss owns.
                    It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
                    Theodore Roosevelt

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Halter Alter View Post
                      I'll definitely find a new hay supplier, but what do you mean "Seeing sloth in a bale." ?
                      I suspect she means sloth as in laziness. Not a sloth with four legs!!1
                      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Halter Alter View Post
                        I'll definitely find a new hay supplier, but what do you mean "Seeing sloth in a bale." ?
                        yes sorry the others are correct "sloth in a bale" means laziness...you can see it in brambles or horse nettle or sage grass....all things that a bit of effort would correct...when it is not corrected we call it "sloth in a bale" and make a point not to reward a grower for his laziness with our money

                        ETA or to quote Lonesome Dove "Why would I lend money to a loafer ?"


                        Tamara
                        Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                        I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Tamara in TN View Post
                          yes sorry the others are correct "sloth in a bale" means laziness...you can see it in brambles or horse nettle or sage grass....all things that a bit of effort would correct...when it is not corrected we call it "sloth in a bale" and make a point not to reward a grower for his laziness with our money

                          ETA or to quote Lonesome Dove "Why would I lend money to a loafer ?"


                          Tamara
                          Thanks! That's what I thought you meant. Just wanted to be sure.
                          I have saved the bales with prickers in them and as he doesn't know me, (since this is the first time I've used him), I put some of the prickers from each bale in a bag.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                            I suspect she means sloth as in laziness. Not a sloth with four legs!!1
                            They are adorable though.

                            Comment

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