The grass hay fields enjoyed a good shot of rain last week, the timing gave much needed moisture, and the grass seemed to shoot up an inch overnight.
The fields are still fenced off from grazing right now so the grass can continue to grow until we bring the mower in to cut the fields for hay. The harvest usually starting in late June. Last year with the dry weather and high temperatures, the fields dried out quickly and we had to start harvesting a couple weeks early before the grass started drying and losing nutrients.
This year it looks like mid-month or third week of June to start mowing. Even those dates can fluctuate with weather patterns, wind direction, and moisture levels.
The barns are down to just a few stacks of hay. Mike has the amounts figured so that we don’t run out and yet only have a few bales left when we want to put in new. We are sticklers about cleaning out the barn storage area each year so that we do not feed any hay that is more than a year old.
Between now and the beginning of hay season, we will be cleaning each of the barns and moving left over hay so that it can be fed before the new hay is used. The barn across the river is by far going to be the biggest cleaning project. This is the barn where we had to drive in to load the gator and the tractor for the twice daily trips to the outside feeders. With the huge mud issue we slogged through all winter, the large cement flooring has several inches of sludge dropped from the tires where it dried into an uneven surface.
This dried mud will have to be removed before we stack hay onto the floor. A shovel and broom are just waiting for some spare time to attack this task.
The animals do much better with fresh hay and this has also been a big factor in controlling the rodent population.
Also on the list before hay season starts, the greasing and repair of hay equipment. Each piece of equipment needs its own maintenance regimen in order to stay in good working condition, and several pieces need some repairs that were going to wait until the rainy days of winter to be worked on. Well, we knew that was not going to happen, other tasks became more important. Now we will have to get them done during the last crunch before harvest.