7 Bales of Hay

17 Dec

On the seventh day of Christmas, the Dairy Man gave to me
Seven bales of hay

hay field

Six stripping shanks
Fiiiiiiive commodity baaaaays
Four milking shells
Three shifts of milking
Two orange tractors
And a twinkly-light-laden faux tree

Ok, ok, there might be more than seven bales in this picture. But you get the idea. Let’s say the Dairy Man gave me seven.

Hay/grass/alfalfa silage is one of the key ingredients in our cow food ration. Depending on heat and rainfall, the Dairy Man and his father cut hay 3-5 times per summer (approximately every 30 days).

The cutting process has five steps:
1. Cut hay
2. Wait for hay to dry
3. Rake or merge hay using a big machine (helps it dry out)
4. Bale or chop hay
5. Load chopped hay into Ag-bags OR store bales in the barn for immediate use

DM, hard at work

Wet hay loses any nutritional value, so it is vitally important for the Dairy Man to work like a madman once the hay is cut to make sure we get it in before it rains. So, for several days every few weeks during the summer, DM is unloading trucks of hay silage every 20 minutes from dawn till dusk. Why can’t we just cut hay once per year, you ask? Well, as explained in this brief interview with the Dairy Man, we have to cut the hay before it blossoms. Once the stalks start to bloom, the plant starts to allocate nutrients towards seeding and reproduction, thus depleting the nutritional value of the hay.

I don’t particularly enjoy haying season (it’s hard to scarf down dinner and tell DM about my day in 20-minute intervals), but it’s a necessary process to make sure we have enough delicious food for the bovines in the upcoming year!

And you can’t beat a pretty hay field.

cut hay

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5 Responses to “7 Bales of Hay”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Eighth Day of Christmas « Modern Farm Wife - 12/19/2012

    [...] Seven bales of hay Six stripping shanks Fiiiiiiive commodity baaaays Four milking shells Three shifts of milking Two orange tractors And a twinkly-light-laden faux tree [...]

  2. The Ninth Day of Christmas « Modern Farm Wife - 12/19/2012

    [...] loads of sand Seven bales of hay Six stripping shanks Fiiiiiive commodity baaaays Four milking shells Three shifts of milking Two [...]

  3. The Tenth Day of Christmas « Modern Farm Wife - 12/20/2012

    [...] essential nutrients Eight loads of sand Seven bales of hay Six stripping shanks Fiiiiiiive commodity baaaays Four milking shells Three shifts of milking Two [...]

  4. The Eleventh Day of Christmas « Modern Farm Wife - 12/21/2012

    [...] mooing neighbors Nine essential nutrients Eight loads of sand Seven bales of hay Six stripping shanks Fiiiiive commodity baaaays Four milking shells Three shifts of milking Two [...]

  5. The Twelfth Day of Christmas « Modern Farm Wife - 12/22/2012

    [...] “Seven bales of hay” [...]

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