A Journal to impart knowledge and facts
|Your neighbor’s hay crop is ready to harvest. Everyone in their family is sick and their Combine is broken. How do you respond to this situation?
This is a prompt. Something I can relate too. I have to ask? Is their haying machinery also down?
A combine is made to harvest crops other than hay. By changing the heads on a combine you can harvest grains like corn, oats, and wheat. After the grains are gathered the wheat and oat stalks can be baled with hay equipment. Horses do well on oat hay. One year we planted a field of oats. We baled the field with the grain on the stalk like a hay field. Then fed it to the horses. It turned out to be worthwhile venture.
If it were a real situation we might offer to harvest the neighbors hay. Hay has to be baled. There are different kinds of machines to do the work. There are round balers and square hay balers.
The equipment being used on our property is older models, which bale square bales, that weigh approximately 50 pounds. The tighter the hay is bound by the machine depends on the weight of a bale because, tighter bales hold more hay. The machine bales with twine. When I lived in Texas the hay we bought for the horses was baled with wire.
First: the hay is laid down with a hay bine, which conditions the hay as it is cut. Conditioning the hay takes out some of the moisture as it cuts the hay. The hay lays to dry in the sun. Drying depends on weather. We are avid weather watches during haying season. Hot dry days with lots of sunshine are the best time for putting hay on the ground. If the weather is right the hay will dry within 24 hours or sometimes less depending on how dense the hay is growing on the field.
Second : A tedder is used to stir the rows of hay. It is fun to watch the tedder because it twirls the hay and stirs it; laying it in long rows. The purpose is to be sure the hay has dried in all it's parts before it is baled.
Next, the baler is used. The hay feeds into teeth on one end and comes out as a bale. The baler moves slowly down the long rows. I used to drive the tractor and baler when I was younger. As the baler moves it rocks the tractor back and forth as it gobbles up hay like a metal monster at work. It makes a sound as the hay feeds into the machine kerchunk, kerchunk, kerchunk, and then whoomph, when it cuts the string on a new bale.
Now, I check hay bales for moisture or help clean the chaff off the barn floor. The barn has to be kept clean to avoid mold and mildew which is bad for human and animal health.
Wet bales cannot be put into a hay mow because combustion can cause a barn fire. Moldy hay from moisture in one bale can spread throughout the mow affecting other hay bales. Horses get sick from moldy hay.
Putting up hay is seasonal as you have already surmised. It's a harvest celebration, when it is finished for another year.
It would be a tragedy if a whole family were ill keeping them from putting up their hay at the proper time of year. Obviously, people would chip in to help in some way. Farmers care for their livestock with good will. Hay is a big part of winter feed.
More sunshine today. Take a walk.