Jackson the farm dog loves to ride the bales. When the Gator is loaded with five bales, he likes to fit into the niche of the two on the second layer.
It is a good vantage point as he scours the landscape for squirrels, chipmunks, birds and coyotes. The added benefit of the hay bales give him good back end support as he rubs those itchy spots.
Now if I could only get him trained to feed the hay bales in flakes off the Gator we would have a much easier time feeding the cows.
This is the time of year when we go through a lot of the hay that we had made during the summer. We are feeding twice a day so the cows have a constant supply since there is not much to graze upon when nothing is growing.
What’s left of haystack in bull barn.
Hay ready to be loaded onto in main herd barn.
We estimate we are about halfway through the hay we put into the barns. January 1st is considered our halfway point of needing to feed large amounts. Continue reading
As we completed the fourth and last field, the counter on the baler read 3073.
This number is good news and bad news.
The good news is that we have the barns stuffed full and there is plenty of feed for the herd. The bad news has to do with me.
Over the years we have spent on this farm, we have tried to produce enough hay for our herd without needing to go out to purchase and haul home more feed. The last 3 years we have had to augment our hay supply with purchases. I had adopted a mantra that was nearing the nagging stage, “five less cows, five less babies.”
It never seemed to be a good time to cull out the herd. Once I was told the market was too strong, the animals were too good a value to get rid of. The next year I was told the market was too weak and we would not get enough money for the animals if we sold them. Last year I was told that our current genetics are ‘just right’ and the critters were too high a quality to be thinned out.
I finally wore him down with my mantra holding strong through the years, Mike started to weed out a few candidates and he did bring down the total herd membership even though it was not yet as low as I was preaching about.
Now with the hay season nearing completion, we have enough bales to feed all the animals that we currently have. So we do not need to sell anymore of the breeding stock at this time. My mantra is on hold for a little while until the herd uses up this good supply of hay.
With the fourth and last field mowed flat then fluffed, it was time to start raking the rows of grass so the baler could come in to make the dried hay into bales.
As I came around the third turn and headed to where I began raking the field, I spotted a large something out near the middle of the field. Even with the camera zoomed as far as it was capable, it is hard to see the object. It is that darker spot located toward the line of fir trees to the left of the center of the picture. Continue reading
Field number 3 is now safely stowed in the barn.
The counter on the baler says we have punched out 2253 bales so far. About 5 of those have broken. One because of a twine malfunction when baling, one when the stack in the barn fell over, another happened when it got stuck going onto the Stackliner and two happened last night when an elk herd decided to come into the hay field while we were sleeping to play with the 300 bales that still needed to be picked up.
It must have been a fun game for them running around those bales in the field. It looks like they were knocking the bales around just for the heck of it. It is good that the bales are now under the roof and away from the elk and deer.
Field number four is being mowed now and is going to be fluffed tomorrow.
The counter on the baler reads 1485 at the end of the second field.
We have only broken 4 or 5 so far in the process so things are looking good so far.
The third field has already been mowed and fluffed and raked. Now the baler will be moved to that field to get all that hay into bales so they can be picked up and stacked in the barn.
Two days of the thermometer hovering around 100 degrees, made for some very tough work conditions out in the hay field.
Everyone had a bottle of water handy at all times. Many breaks were needed throughout the heat. The tractors needed times to cool down because the heat coming off the drive shaft made it impossible to hold one’s feet on the clutch and brakes. Even the dogs struggled to stay in the field and made many trips down to the river to catch a cooling swim, they kept the moisture on their coats instead of shaking off and would seek shade anytime a piece of equipment was turned off. Continue reading