Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bermuda Hay Challenges

Even though activity on the dairy farm seems to be speeding up with  the additional chores of planting grass seed,corn chopping and hay baling, the production of Bermuda hay is winding down with the onset of fall.  Although we purchase alfalfa  hay to feed the milking cows, we produce  Bermuda hay for our younger dairy animals and beef cattle. The Bermuda grass seems to  know its growing days are numbered before we have our first frost in just a few weeks.

As I watched Ryan raking the hay this afternoon, I noticed how much thinner the cut rows appeared.  This field would normally be cut and baled into small square bales that would be hand fed to young calves. Today it will be baled into large round bales for larger dairy calves and beef cattle due to the decreased quality and yield. Hay production on our farm and across Benton County has been less this year due to the extreme flooding in the spring and the drought this summer. Like all farmers in our county, we are scrambling to harvest every bale because of this shortage. 

Even if you follow the weather man and check the DTN weather map, it seems like  clouds will appear from nowhere when you are baling hay. Farmers always take this challenge!  Just as the raking was finished and the baler pulled into the field, the clouds were gathering.  Thankfully, the Bermuda  hay was baled without getting wet.  Now bring on the rain!

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