Thursday, July 28, 2016

Lovely day for making hay - raking

Cut the hay on tuesday, tedded it on wednesday and this morning, and then raked it this afternoon.  It looks great.
Love the look of raked hay.  Photo doesn't do it justice!
 I do love the look of raked hay.  This is orchard grass hay; it dries into a blue-green color that is part of the reason that it's so popular.  Everyone is convinced that greener hay is better hay, and this stuff is very green dried.   The seed for this grass spiked this year because of last years drought in the area - orchard grass seed is usually about 50% of the cost of alfalfa, but this year it was the same, so I didn't buy any for my reseeding - I just planted alfalfa   Same price, more calories and food value per acre.  Why not?
The speed rake (red thing behind the tractor) is very efficient
 In my area powered rakes, or rake-tedder combos, are pretty popular.  I've found that this 8 week speed rake works very well for picking up virtually all of the grass, and my only complaint with it is that sometimes it's hard to get a smooth windrow out of it.  if the grass is particularly thick in an area it can get kinda bunched up, but care in operating gives you that consistent row that you want so your baler can be run at the same speed down.
After I rousted the calf - mom in distance
 I spotted a calf in the long grass at the side of the field, and when I was driving back I wanted to make sure that it was with momma, so I rousted it, and at that point noticed I was on a cows radar screen.  She was maybe 500' away, but you could see her perk up when i got close to the calf, and she trotted over to make sure that I wasn't bothering her baby.  I wasn't, and they turned and joined the rest of the herd, who tends to migrate to the far end of their pasture every evening.
The cow in question is a herford cow, and she's been very good about calving every year, and has been a good mother.  No problems with her calves, no good weight.  this one is a little bull, so I made a note that I'd have to round it up and band it pretty soon here.  My cow herd has grown by 9 steers and 6 heifers this year.

the hay that I'm cutting here will be used primarily to feed the cows and their calves over the winter.  My first cutting put 1800 bales in the barn.  this second cutting should be a little less - perhaps 1200 bales, and then the third cutting, sometime in august, should put me over the top for my goal of 4200 bales in the barn.

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