Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away..... did.....we got LOTS done.....and now it's back!
Ok, so the last time I sat down to start writing a post was 3 weeks ago, and it had this title.  I never actually finished it, because that was the last time we really got serious rain until today.
 In that 3 weeks, Warren got all of the corn & beans planted, Brent sowed alfalfa, which will make hay for our cows in the future, and we made over 30 acres of haylage (or chopped hay)....whew!  All while milking cows twice a day, and making sure they are cared for while we get busy in the fields.
You have to "Make Hay While the Sun Shines", and no truer was that than this week.  Brent mowed hay on Tuesday, and then it took nearly 2 days for it to dry enough that we could run it through our chopping equipment.  Thursday afternoon we started, just in time for Gail & I to milk while Brent & Warren got the beginning of the year bugs worked out of the equipment.  Friday we made good progress, finishing all of the hay we had mowed, and then we finished up the last 5 loads today.  We've still got some equipment kinks to work out, but it looks like we've got a week of on & off rain ahead to get caught up on those projects.

This is what the bunker looks like before we start....we put plastic down the sides & secure it at the bottom (that way water can't weep down the sides when it rains & spoil the hay next to the sides.  

Then, slowly, but surely, we keep adding to the pile.  This wagon is nice, as it allows us to use the hydraulics on the tractor to open up the rear door, and the silage falls out the back.  Brent then uses the skidsteer (with metal tracks for added traction) to pack the hay that will be the feed for the cows next year.

Our bunker is about 150' long & 30' wide & 6' tall, and we will nearly fill it with just the 1st cutting of hay (there are usually 4 "cuttings"), assuming we can get to the last big field in good time.

Once the pile is full, we take the plastic & cover the pile, and let the haylage "ferment" a little bit, and then we'll start incorporating it into the cow's ration.
This is only the 2nd year since Brent & I have been married that we have made hay before Memorial Day (hopefully, the weather will break later this week, and I can say we got all the hay done, and not just some of it).  Making hay is serious business.  You have to guess what the weather is going to do, and this time of year, you never know when showers will pop up.  Hay can make really good feed for the cows, that they will then turn into milk....the "better" (more nutrients, energy) the feed, the more milk they will make, and the better off we will all be.  The better our hay is, the less we have to supplement the cows diets with corn to make up the missing energy.
I'll have some pictures of the rainstorm damage really did a number on the trees in the yard, and the cows were NOT happy when a big "red cell" went over us at about 7 pm tonite, but all is well!

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