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When does hay get cut and why?

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  • #21
    Originally posted by lolalola View Post
    She's probably busy actually making hay!
    actually yes

    we brought 200 acres in yesterday and my normal bed time is 9ish eastern...but we were unloading hay into the barn on mon nite til I miss all kinda stuff here sometimes

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


    • #22
      I grew up on a small 'farm'. We had horses and we had a hay field. However, we relied on a neighbor cow farmer to cut and bale the hay for we always had to wait until he had put up his hay first, then he'd come and do ours, which was usually early - mid July. The farmer would also plow and reseed the field for us every 4 years or so. Not ideal, but it worked.


      • #23
        Around here, many farmers/ranchers depend on other people to cut and bale their hay. Hay-cutting is a mad scramble - the hay has to be at the right stage and there has to be several days of good weather for it to lay in the field and dry. So fields can remain uncut if a farmer/rancher is low on the list to cut. If the weather doesn't cooperate, those people can lose a cutting - that is, their hay will eventually get cut, but at the wrong time. Either the hay is past its prime cutting stage, or it is cut right before a rain and is ruined.

        There is only one cutting of grass hay around here most years, none some years. Most hay produced here is alfalfa, which is irrigated. No one wastes irrigation water on grass hay, so if you are like me and want some grass hay, your life is not an easy one.

        People try to get three cuttings of alfalfa here, but most years it doesn't work. The third cutting is often snowed or rained out. First cutting is also sometimes ruined by rain. Second cutting can be plagued by blister beetles. All in all, I'm glad I just buy my hay, though even that is adventurous sometimes, and getting more costly by the year. When it all works though, we get the most beautiful alfalfa in the world at a pretty reasonable price. Grass hay is always more expensive, and it's mostly not great.


        • #24
          Most grass hays best if cut just before seed head appear, or before they open. Making hay is a process. You need several days of sunshine to cure the cut hay properly before baling... and lots of times the first cutting can be a bit stemmy and past its prime because the weather doesn't cooperate. My supplier will give it a little time, but eventually, he'll sacrifice the first cutting to round bales or cow hay if he has to, to get his 2nd cutting started. The 2nd cutting is usually softer and more palatable for horses (and more $$$) but if there's a summer drought, yields will be down (which will make it even more $$$).

          Since I keep my horses at home, I've learned a lot about how the weather can affect my hay supply.
          Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
          Witherun Farm


          • #25
            You have to plant each year for Timothy and Alfalfa...
            I'd be in the poor house if I had to re seed every year! It cost me $5600.00 to do my fields last year and that had better last for a good few years down the road!

            We cut 3 of our smaller fields 2 weeks ago and the hay is fabulous - soft and leafy with a high high protein content. Another field was cut 2 days ago and we are hoping to get the rest cut sometime next week or the week after depending on weather. My fields are about 60-70% alfalfa and I cut it before i goes to bloom. You dont lose as many of the leaves that way and the protein content is higher. Thats fine for me - I dont mind the lower yield for the better quality, but for someone who is cutting commercially they have to get as much yield per acre as thay can as well

            True Colours Farm on Facebook


            • #26
              Very interesting. The farmer down the road from us has yet to cut his hay fields and I've been wondering the very same things. However, in past years, he has cut by this amount of growth so I worry something is wrong with him. He looks pretty old while he sits out with his cart of produce to sell to drivers-by. *sigh* I always wanted to stop and take a picture of the old farmer, with a piece of wheat in his mouth, hat tipped over his eyes, with his little cart of vegetables under the tree on a summer's day. Now I fear I won't have the chance (although, I feel badly not because of missing a pic opportunity, but that something must have happened).
              "Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. ~Sir Winston Churchill