That’s it. Hay done for another year. It was SO easy this year. We decided not to cut hay from three paddocks, which usually gives us around 900 or so bales. Over the last couple of years, I’ve sold maybe 300-400 bales and I still have plenty of hay left over for the horses and cows.

The thing I find frustrating at hay time is getting hold of hay contractors. We’ve had the same chap for the last three years and he’s been very good. But they don’t always appear when they say they’ll appear and then, of course, you stress out about the weather.

Once the hay is dropped, you really don’t want it to rain. If it’s light rain, then the water usually runs off and you turn the hay maybe a day or so later, once it’s dried out. If you turn the hay immediately after it’s been rained on – well basically, the hay is ruined. And if you then go on to bale, you run the risk of mouldy hay, or worse, a hay barn fire because wet hay or hay with excessive moisture heats up. Generally, this can happen within six weeks of baling, so you should monitor the temperature of the stacked hay. If the temperature reaches 54°C/130°F, the hay needs to be taken apart so it can cool down via increased air circulation.

A farmer in his 70s, told me a couple of years ago that you can monitor hay by using a flat piece of steel. You insert it in the middle of the haystack and, if the steel starts to get warm, then you know the hay is heating up.

This year, we had the hay done by this farmer. We did one paddock only and ended up with 205 bales and that will do us. Not going to sell any this year.

An eye opener for us was the chap who cut the hay and another chap who helped us stack the bales. Why? Because the hay cutter is a very sprightly 78 years young and the farmer’s brother who stacked the hay with us is 71 years old. El Hubs is a strapping 185cms tall (6’1″) and pretty strong but even he was struggling a bit heaving the bales up high. The 71 year old was leaping over the tall stack, lifting and placing bales with ease.

The first year we did hay, we both nearly died. Being city people, we didn’t have the physical strength to pick up and cart bales, stack bales and so on. Now, we find the task of haymaking relatively easy but these two chaps…wow. And we were all working in 33°C (around 91°F) heat. I’m considering how I can get their secrets to old age. That would surely be a best-selling book!

Baled and ready to be carted to the hay barn.

Baled and ready to be carted to the hay barn.

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