Haying & Spreading
I hope everyone is enjoying the rain, it is really needed! The dry weather over the last few weeks made our first hay cutting go smoothly. After mowing, the hay needs a day or two to dry before baling. We ferment our hay so we like the moisture in the bales to be around 30%. When it is hot and dry, we have to hustle to get it baled before it dries out too much.
The hay making season is very busy with some late nights. We rent most of our hay cutting and raking equipment from one neighbor and then hire another farmer to come bale. I help the two of them with their hay in exchange for them helping me. Here you can see my father moving bales from out in the field to the spot where we wrap and store them. A big part of hay making is spreading manure on the hay fields after cutting. Each bale of hay we take off the field removes nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium from the land. These nutrients are essential to good grass and animal growth, so we have to put them back on the field after the hay is removed.
Our fertilizer of choice is chicken manure from laying hens. We buy it by the tractor trailer load and usually spread 70 to 80 tons a year on the hay fields. Spreading it on the fields and watching the grass grow back is a very stinky but rewarding job.
Thanks for reading, Leith, Mary Kate & Norah MacKenzie