Monday, July 10, 2017

"Making Hay While the Sun Shines``

It`s a proverb that means take àdvantage of the opportunity when it arises`.  But it is also literally true - farmers need to get their hay harvested while the sun shines at this time of year.  We`re now into day 8 of sunny and reasonably warm weather, and the farmers have been busy!

The landscape is dotted with big round hay bales, the first major harvest of the year.  It`s just one of those iconic things about `seasons in the valley` around here.

It starts out with the farmer cutting the hay, and then raking it into swaths, fluffing it up a bit to dry out.  You can imagine the farmer checking the maturity of the crop with one eye, and checking the weather forecast with the other eye, to judge when to cut it.  He wants a couple of days of sun to get it cut, let it dry, and bale it before it rains.

Today I saw these two farmers baling hay as fast as they could go.  Haying is usually a two or three person job to get it done efficiently.

One farmer is gathering in the bales and loading them on a big double wagon; here the last bale goes on.

The other is pulling the big round baler down one of the last swaths of hay.

Reaching the end, he turns around and heads back.  Meanwhile the other farmer has hitched up to the wagons and is headed out of the field.

I knew what was coming, so I waited to see the baler stop and discharge a big round bale.  Then it carried on.  Meanwhile, the other tractor and wagons was coming straight toward me as I was parked on the lane into the field.  I waved and drove on, glad to see this little vignette of the hay harvest (and not have to do any of the work myself)!

This vignette shows a totally different way of harvesting a forage crop.  We saw these two tractors pulling big wagons and the harvester working a field considerably south of the valley as we returned from Kitchener the other day.

The harvester is picking up the hay from the swath, chopping it, and blowing it into the deep wagon.  This will be stored in a silo or big silage bag rather than baled.

The wagon looked about full to me, and sure enough the first tractor pulled away, and the second pulled up beside the harvester.  It`s a totally coordinated operation!

The first tractor is headed back to unload.

And the harvester and second tractor-wagon combo continues down the field.  Since I drove by this field two days earlier, I know it`s not a conventional hay field, it was a field of spring grains, probably oats and barley, being harvested before it was mature as grain, as forage for cattle next winter.  It provides a more nutritious forage, and is probably destined for dairy cattle.  I`m learning quite a lot as I chase pictures of crops this year!

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21 comments:

  1. This hay making process was interesting to see! I often see the round hay bales on fields but i never saw how they were made and now I know. The bales are nice and portable. I did not think anyone made haystacks any longer but I did see some large ones in Montana last year.

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  2. I love to be out where I can smell the new hay...nothing smells any better! I remember my brothers doing hay when it was the square bales. It was sure a hot and dusty job.

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  3. I love seeing photos of bales. I have never seen this scene in person.

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  4. It's getting to that stage over in the UK with the hay being cut in places

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  5. It's always interesting watching the haying process and the countryside looks so beautifully scenic with straight and curving rows of hay rolling over the hills.

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  6. Hello, pretty views of the hay fields. Interesting process to watch! Happy Tuesday, have a great day!

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  7. Suzie's Brother is a dairy farmer and we have helped him a few times over the years with the harvesting, moving the wagons around etc. And yes it needs to be harvested at the right time, no matter what.

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  8. Being a farm girl from a waaayyyy back, this brings memories of my Dad, my brother and farm hands loading and off loading the rectangle bales from the wagon onto the elevator that went into the barn. Great story here, thanks!

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  9. I learned something from this post. Around here, because of rain chances I guess, the round bales are covered with white plastic, making them look for all the world like enormous marshmallows! :-)

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  10. I love seeing the rolled hay. On todays walk I saw some of the cut hay, maybe tomorrow I'll see it rolled.
    A very interesting and informed post with wonderful pictures.

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  11. The same is underway here now as well. Hay has been harvested for a month or so now.

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  12. It's a busy time of year for them. I remember the hay being harvested at the farm across the road from us, sometimes late into the night.

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  13. i enjoyed this!! in "these them parts" they make big squares. i like when it's rolled like this!!!

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  14. Lovely scenes :) It's raining over here this week but two weeks ago hay making was in full swing as we had a warm and sunny spell!

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  15. Nice captures of the farmers working the fields . Back in my day of haying on the farm we didn't have tractors with cabs that were air conditioned like they do now no we were in the sun and heat with a silly little umbrella for shade lol ! My how times have changed and how much better the farm equipment is now . Thanks for sharing , Have a good day .

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  16. Same thing going on here. It's hustle time for the hayers but there is no rain in sight here but they keep moving. It's a pretty sight I think and it smells good too.
    MB

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  17. I'm old enough that the bales we got were rectangular, not round. We also had fewer machines and more manual labor. So much for the 'good old days'!

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  18. I love seeing those round hay bales scattered throughout a field.

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  19. A lot different than when the first European settlers arrived and cut hay with a scythe, handled it with a fork and threw it loose into the barn by hand.

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  20. I love harvest time, although it does also remind me that summer is approaching it final month or so

    Mollyx

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