First Cutting 2024

Recently we got our first cutting of hay for 2024 – 170 bales. We have described the process here, here, and, really well, here.

First you need a hay field. To grow, hay (grass/pasture) needs sun, rain, and heat. We have had all these things this spring. Long about June 1st we look to see if the grass is tall enough and then start watching for a block of dry days.

That block came this past week and weekend. So the hay got mowed and then tedded. The tedder is pulled by the tractor. It flips the hay into the air so that the upper dry side gets put on the ground and the lower wet side can be up and can dry out. If you have a tedder, this will happen once or twice.

The field will look something like this. Then the hay will get raked into rows. Finally the baler will get pulled and the hay will be baled. Ideally it will also have a kicker that will kick the hay bales onto the wagon.

Ideally doesn’t always happen. 🙂 The kicker wasn’t sliding correctly, so we ended up putting the bales right on the ground. And the knotter (for the strings that go around the bales) wasn’t always knotting correctly. So the hay would get spread out and wouldn’t be formed into a bale. And then the race was on to get the hay in the barn before the rain. But multi-generational help got the job done!

This year’s first cutting is now in the barn, a start of what we will need for the cows and sheep this winter.

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