Not to the races that is, but into hay season at full swing. We were able to get most all of the first cutting of alfalfa and the one and only cutting of triticale, a oat-like grass that is a cross between wheat and rye grass baled and put up the weekend before Memorial Day weekend.
Randall says we baled our alfalfa about 10 to 12 days later this year than last year due to the cooler weather into the first part of May, but the quality is good. If all goes well, we should get a cutting of alfalfa every month or so and hope to get at least four if not five cuttings this growing season.
One of the many benefits of our partnership with Paul & Nancy Miller is that both families are able to get away from the ranch at times knowing that everything is well-cared for while we are away. We spent an extended weekend in Northeast Texas visiting my grandparents and enjoyed fishing and other water sports at area lakes while we were there, but Randall was itching to get back and work hard again. He, Paul, & Nancy spent most of the last week of May and first part of June getting the first 100 acres of so of the 600 acres we have to bale of brome done.
We had to round bale a majority of it as the plunger on our square baler is broken. On average, a round bale will weigh approximately 1,200 pounds, and a square bale weighs around 70 pounds. We will typically put up around 2,000 round bales and 5,000 square bales a haying season depending on the quality and quantity and feed needs for the coming winter.
Everyone always says to “make hay while the sun shines”, but in my experience watching Randall, Paul, & Nancy plan how to manage the haying season, it’s more about avoiding the rain. Rain on hay that has been cut, but not baled greatly reduces is quality as a feed source. Once hay has been cut or mowed down, it takes approximately two days for it to be dry enough to bale…sometimes more or sometimes less depending on the weather factors.
Since it rained some this morning and was quite cool for June, it was repair day on the ranch. Paul took the broken square baler plunger to be repaired and bought a new front tire for our big tractor while Randall changed the oil in it, replaced the blown hydraulic hose on the disc mower, fixed the hay wagon.
Erin and husband Randall ranch in the Flint Hills of Kansas. They have two children: Dalton and Jacob.