Last Hay Down

‘Round these parts, perennial hayfields are good for only two cuttings each year.  Three cuttings are possible if you are lucky or if you make baleage, but we don’t have much experience with luck or baleage.

The last hay fields were raked into windrows this afternoon and should be ready for baling by tomorrow.

We only take the first cutting for winter feed.  We buy in the remaining hay needs from neighbors and use what would be the second cut as late fall stockpiled grass for grazing. My goal is to have the cattle drop most of their forage as manure back onto the field it came from to keep the biological nutrient cycling running in higher gear. There are other ways to manage grazing and haying, but I’m not out to pick any fights or to judge anyone else for doing something different.  Forage management seems to be a topic some farmers take personally.  Just saying that’s how we do it.

Grazing Down to the Nubs
Meanwhile we cycled the cattle back through the field recently seeded with millet to temporarily stun the grass just before the millet emerges.  That’s the plan anyhow.  You can see slightly discernible seed drill furrows in the right side of the picture.  With the gentle rains over the previous days the furrows have become almost invisible throughout the field.

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