FARMING MATTERS: This perfect hay making weather

Copyright Heather Jan Brunt
Copyright Heather Jan Brunt

As I am writing this it’s just been declared the hottest day of the year with the temperature reaching over 30 degrees.

Certainly, June was one of the driest and warmest on record. So perfect weather for hay making.

June is the normal hay making month and the weather required is hot, dry and sunny, preferably with a bit of a breeze but not too much wind.

Clearly, this year has been fabulous.

Having recently sold our suckler herd we have more grass to cut than in previous years, as the cows and calves have not been here to eat it.

But because of the exceptionally dry weeks it hasn’t actually grown as fast as it might have, had a bit of rain fallen to encourage it along.

But we still had a lot of hay to make and that meant getting out in the tractor to cut it once it starting flowering and seeding.

The process was to cut the grass, let the sun dry it out, then turn it every day about three times.

Once it was completely dry it was rowed up and the contractor’s baler came in to bale it into big bales.

Before the advent of big balers most farmers, including us, had their own baler. But these days the big balers are so much quicker and more efficient.

Of course they are also very expensive to buy and that cost can’t be justified for many farmers. So we use a contractor to get the hay in before any rain starts to fall.

Of course due to the perfect conditions this year the contractors have been in big demand because everyone wanted them at the same time.

Some farmers manage to get two cuts off their fields with either two cuts of hay or one of hay in June and one of silage earlier in the year.

All our hay this year is meadow hay, we didn’t plant any grass seed, and it contains white clover.

Following our hay making, the fields will be grazed by sheep for the rest of the summer.

The hay will be stored in the Dutch barn. If the buyer of our farm wants to buy the hay as well it will be offered to them, if not then it will go into the farm sale at the end of September or sold privately prior to that date.

It will then go on to be used to feed livestock kept indoors for the winter months.