A bad case of bale envy

I took the long way into town this afternoon. Perhaps I shouldn’t have, for this is what I saw. A field of nicely-formed round bales of dry, grass, hay. As a hay farmer myself this sight should have put a smile on my face, and usually it would, save the fact that my hay crop still stands as I write this post.

Bales

The problem has been the weather. If you follow this blog you may remember that we harvest dry hay here on the farm. Our equipment requires that we have three warm, dry and cloudless days to bring in the crop. Neither Joanna nor I are gamblers and even a 20% chance of rain is enough to keep us off the tractors. Take a quick look at our forecast. It is representative of the sort we’ve had since the middle of May. Rain, rain, good, good, rain, rain … and then four good days. From experience, I can tell you what is more than likely to happen to those nice days predicted for the 8th through the 11th. Now, six days out, they’ll slowly evaporate as we get closer and closer to a day on which we might mow the field. So, tomorrow we may lose Friday, and Monday we may lose Saturday, so by the time we get to a day on which we should have been able to cut, the forecast will look exactly as it does here. Talk about a recipe for frustration. So how, you may well ask, did the farmers who produced the enviable bales above manage it? We happened to be out of town during the summer’ only stretch of extended, nice, weather! Argh.

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14 thoughts on “A bad case of bale envy

    1. Yup … we used to make square bales but, without the kids at home now, that’s far too much work! The marshmallows are bales wrapped, air tight, to make haylage (fermented stuff that tastes just like candy … to a cow, that is!). D

      1. I accede to your wordplay on this one, D. Your mention of baleful reminds me that while Don Quijote was the knight of the woeful countenance, you who herd animals must occasionally have a whoa-ful countenance when you try to get them to stop.

  1. LOL! Trying to plan your life around Mother Nature is often a recipe for frustration. Remember Ben’s wedding? This is a great shot. Love the contrasting textures and shapes. The bales almost look like cross-sections of logs! Here’s to a nice dry stretch of weather by the end of the week!

    1. This morning there were FIVE good days in the forecast …. Friday thru the following Wednesday, I believe. I just checked and we’re down to four days, Friday thru Monday. Wanna take bets on what the prediction will be tomorrow morning when I check?

  2. Absolutely, the forecast can never be trusted … even on the day itself. Around here, once those round bales are all rolled up and tight, our landscape becomes a collection of ginormous marshmallows. 🙂 I am not sure if they have sat a few more days before they bag them. I should pay closer attention. The weather pattern has become so messed up it seems. Although the summer has not been terribly hot on average, which has the climate change deniers howling as did our cold winter (hopefully I am not mistaken that we are on the same page with that one), the rains have come more often which is good for some and not others. Not enough to keep the brooks and streams running hard, but enough so the meadows and fields are pretty lush. Sounds like you could use a mini-drought.

    1. Sounds like your weather has been the same as ours … not enough rain to keep the streams running hard, but enough such that the fields are now green and lush. The bales you see wrapped in white plastic (or forming very long, white, caterpillars) are being fermented into haylage. The hay is not baled dry but with significant moisture content, then it is tightly wrapped in plastic. Once the bacteria use up the air inside, they switch to anaerobic metabolism and begin the process of fermentation to produce the sugars characteristic of forage produced in silos. Silos being what they are, expensive and something of a liability over time, farmers have taken to producing similar forages in this somewhat more manageable package (the wrapped bale). We used to feed it to our cattle and they gobbled it up like it was candy. D

    2. Oh … and by the way … Joanna just reminded me to add that we’re on the same page regarding the climate-change-thing. But, don’t get me started … remember, we’re in fracking country up here. D

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