If humidity levels are normal and the sunshine has been steady for a day or two, then we bale the hay.
After the morning dew has sufficiently evaporated, my husband or I go out and rake the hay. The haybine has already dropped the hay into neat swaths on the first pass through the field. So when I rake, I just have to follow the rows laid out for me. The rake has a series of tines that rotate into the hay and sweep it to one side. This action lifts the hay up and rolls it over much like the curl of an ocean wave as it reaches the shore. This exposes the hay on the underside of the swath to the sun and completes the drying process before we bale it later in the day.
At this stage, if a sudden rainfall catches up with us, the hay is ruined. Even in making hay there is risk involved.
Hay is important. If we have good quality hay, we can market more milk and our annual income is better. If the hay is worthless we use it for bedding or take it off the field so it does not smother the new growth in the field and discard it. If we have to buy hay, our profit is greatly reduced.
photo credit: Wenda Grabau
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