Weather plays a big role in good hay production

I know we should just relax and take the weather we are given.

I know we should just relax and take the weather we are given.

Roll with the punches, so to speak.

These glorious days of constant sunshine are welcome.

There have been, and still are, some great crops out there waiting to be put up.

“Make hay while the sun shines!”

A truism if there ever was one. But the hay can’t be too damp from dew, or the last sprinkle of rain.

Moisture has to be just right in the hay for cutting, raking and baling.

Constantly, the farmer must go into the right field at the right time and juggle the stages of hay production depending on how hot it has been, how much wind there is and how long the hay has been on the ground and how mature it is.

If rain is in the forecast, can you speed up the drying process by additional raking, fluffing it up with a tedder, or windrow turning?

There is a machine which gently picks up the windrow and turns it over without thrashing the protein containing leaves off the stems.

If you want the sweetest hay with the highest sugar content (brix)  it needs to be cut after the sun has shone that day for several hours.

Usually this means that you should cut after 11 a.m. and should quit by 4 or 5 p.m. in the afternoon.

Most of us can’t get that right, as we have to use the earliest part of the day to do what ever we can.

What all this amounts to is an ever changing agenda as quality of the  weather  changes through out the day.

Hay can be too green to bale one hour and totally ready the next.

Is the right machine ready and in good repair and in the right field?

Do you have the right parts on hand or does the dealer have them or the ability to  get them quickly?

Or, often a neighbour, as in my case, has the right part on his shelf.

The past month saw us get every storm and shower that was predicted.

A bad forecast can make one down tools and wait for a better forecast.

When this goes on week after week, it can be depressing and create anxiety.

But when the sunny spells come, the smiles return and we bust our butts to get more done on the hayfield.

Of course as the hay gets riper (less protein for growing animals, but adequate carbs for energy) it is easier to dry.

But then the days are shorter, so there might be time for an extra cup of coffee. Yes August brings heavy dew that has to evaporate before we work in the fields.

Now ask us if producing food for a consuming public that wants cheap prices is fun and satisfying.