The best way out, is always through.
Robert Lee Frost
Quick decisions must be made on the farm, constantly. This was especially true this year. Our summer has not been the best, as far as getting our hay off. Our round hay bale counter was down 200 bales from last year. It rained so much that when we did get the hay cut, it was difficult to get it dried and baled before more rain fell. We made it through in spite.
Second cut was something we were hoping would make up the difference. It had been excellent growing weather with all that rain pouring on those first cut hay fields, and the clover, alfalfa and brome shot up fairly quickly. All that was needed was sun and time. This we hoped would make up for those lost two hundred bales.
The pasture for our cows this year was amazing and they never wanted for more to eat. They are all “fat and happy”, as they say all summer. Then it was time to think of second cut. Our second cut started about the end of August the first of September. “Better late than never” Grandma used to say. Oh this was going to be great. It had finally stopped raining and the fields were green. My Hero started cutting.
This had proven to be a daunting, if not near impossible task. Yes, it was dry for a large chunk of time but you see the days were shorter, meaning there was not enough hours of sun to possibly dry that hay. The dew in the mornings was so heavy it took most of the day to burn that off, let alone dry the green hay. Some of the fields looked very good on one end but on the other it had been flooded out with all the rains in the summer.
Now we were looking at driving around the fields and cutting, raking and baling what was certainly going to be a small crop of hay. We needed the hay so we made the decision to cut as much as we could. Let me clarify this; My Hero decided that was what we should do. He believed that we had no choice, unless we wanted to sell more cows than we wanted. I truly had my doubts if it was going to make that much of a difference. With the price of diesel fuel and the time that we were going to spend, “Time is money” my Dad used to say. We also could be doing other things that needed to be done before the winter, I certainly had many doubts.
This was when discussions about buying a bale wrapper, then wrapping the bales making it into balage came up. This conversation was fuelled by conversations with My Hero’s brother and our nephew. It seems they used theirs all this rainy summer and were very pleased with it. They did not need to let the hay lie in the fields for days to dry. Oh yes it sounded wonderful. Some of our last cut fields had been lying on the ground for three days and even with no rain, and after raking they were still not dry enough to bale.
Oh yes “Decisions”. My Hero and I decided we would not be buying a bale wrapper. It is an expensive piece of equipment, and it would change the way we feed our cows. This would make it very difficult for my feeding all winter. I am not a big fan of changes.
We have baled around sixty good quality round bales of second crop. They look good, and the cows will sure appreciate them when the cold winter and snow comes. But, we have also had to feed bales of second cut that did not dry. The cows sure loved this. Who wouldn’t? The best quality of food delivered every day without fail, and all you had to do was stand there and wait behind the house. Good for them, not for us. More decisions had to be made.
This past week, two fields were left that needed to be dealt with. The decision to cut or not to cut had to be made. It is very late now and almost impossible to get enough sunny daylight hours to dry hay. One field is well-fenced and one field is not. Both fields have a good crop of second cut on the top, but the bottoms of the fields being flooded resulted in short grass. Decisions had to be made.
My Hero decided to cut the not fenced field. He would take that chance that it would be dry enough to bale and feed early on. The other field and after a bit of fence “tweaking”, we decided to let the cows into. We knew it would keep them happy grazing for at the very least, a week or if we are lucky, two. We certainly had no problems convincing them it was the right decision.
|Annie and Betty|
One more bite, before the winter comes and they will be searching for some pasture and eating baled hay. I do think that all the dancing and smiling proved that it was a good decision.
Now, I just know that the bale wrapper thing “decision” is going to come up again for those spring auctions. I just know it. It has been raining here ever since. I am just happy the haying season is over.
Joining Theresa at Good Fences.
Joining Theresa at Good Fences.