Tag Archives: Hay making

Rain stops hay!

We are rained off

It’s always a stressful time when haymaking comes around.  We are glued to the weather forecast, looking frantically for that small window of sunshine when we will be able to cut the grass.

This year has been appalling, every single day, except one, the heavens have opened and the field has been drenched.

For the last few weeks we have all been weaving our way through the long grass on our morning walks.  We can’t play with the Pullers as they would quickly be lost.  In fact, we have lost the dogs on more than one occasion.

The shame of it is, that this year the grass looks fantastic and would make lovely hay, if only we had the opportunity.

Even with a day of sunshine, it’s not going to dry the ground enough to drive the tractor over.

We are trying to hold our nerve and wait until August to see if the weather improves but if it doesn’t we may have to ask our neighbour to make large round bales of haylage.  These will be wrapped in black plastic, therefore not needing to be dried.  We are really hoping we don’t have to go down this route as the large bales are difficult to handle and have a short shelf life once opened.

However, it would be better to have haylage that no winter food at all for our beasts!

Wet weather and wuffling

Fighting a losing battle with the weather

We were very excited at the prospect of baling the hay from our newly reseeded field, but as usual, the weather has put a bit of a dampener on it.  It needs to be hot and dry to ensure that we have plenty of decent winter fodder for our animals, but It has been neither of those things.  In fact, it has been completely the opposite.

There have had a couple of very nice days but almost every single one of them has included rain at some point, either at the start or at the end.

The grass was getting long and thickening up nicely, with some beautiful seed heads breaking out – just crying out for cutting – but whenever we thought about taking the plunge, the heavens would open and rain on our parade!

In the end we felt we could wait no longer, and after a dryish couple of days we did cut it.  Then, true to form and before we even got the mower back in the barn, the rain returned and refused to give us a break.

After a week or so we had another not-so-wet spell, and out came the wuffler to turn and fluff up the drying stalks.  Once again, the rain came just as we were finishing off.  It seemed like the tractor was persued around the field by a huge black cloud!

Despite this, we are still hopeful of a reasonable crop if we can hold our nerve. The hay is slowly drying out (between showers!), and if we can just string together 2 or 3 dry days, we might get away with it.  But of course, that will depend on the weather…

A knotty problem

We buy our own baler

The remaining sheep all sheared, we turned our attention to this year’s crop of hay.

We were lucky enough to spot a square baler for sale in the local ads paper, and after an inspection and a quick trial (stationary, feeding straw through manually) all seemed in order. Having sealed the deal we arranged to have it transported to us, but had to reverse our neighbours borrowed tractor onto the low loader to tow it off. Hair raising!

The bad news was that after trying it out again, it wasn’t working properly – the knotters weren’t knotting! After taking a closer look we thought we had identified the cause, and to confirm it one of our neighbours came for a peek. It turns out that they used to own one of the same model (over 30 years ago!), and were familiar with it.

Suitably instructed, we set about the repairs, and within a day our neighbour returned with his tractor for a trial run. Success! Straw in one end, bales out the other.

Feeling confident, we watched the weather closely and arranged to have the grass cut at what later turned out to be the perfect time. What followed was 4 days of scorching weather, and on the fifth day, we produced 250 bales with our baler (and borrowed tractor!).

Blitz (pictured) declared the bales suitable, and went off for a snooze…


We battle with the weather to get the hay in

August has been hard work!

Despite the weather, we finally decided to cut the grass for hay. After turning it a couple of times with our neighbour’s ‘Wuffler’ (pictured), it decided to rain some more! As a consequence, the hay was on the ground slightly longer but we finally managed to bale it at the end of the month, and managed 250 bales. That should keep us going for winter!

In the meantime, our pig moves were completed just in time for Piggy to have her piglets. One new electric fence required for that.

Another electric fence was needed to move Pippa and Billy (Dexter cows) into a fresh paddock. This was the first time they’d been moved into this area, and Billy was gambolling around with excitement!

And finally, as our ram lambs are starting to mature we needed to move them away from the ewes and ewe lambs. Thankfully this was relatively painless, and just a little chasing was required!

Perhaps we’ll have a rest in September…

Time for baling!

We get to grips with baling thanks to a little help from our neighbours

We’ve been quite busy outside. We were lucky enough to get a week without too much rain and got our hay baled a couple of weeks ago. Wow, was that hard work?

One neighbour baled, another watched, another lent us his tractor and cart. Quite a circus! After about 9 hours, a gallon of diesel, and with arms dragging along the ground, we finally deposited the 428th bale in the barn. Ouch, ouch, and thrice ouch!

Since then another paddock has been fenced, and gates are next on the agenda so that the expected inhabitants (piglets from our Gloucester Old Spot) can move in.