We started haying about a week and a half ago. The hay crop is poor this year. While we have started early enough to have good quality, we are only getting about a bale an acre, which is way down from a good year. Usually we hope to get 2-3 bales per acre, so we are getting less than half of what we’d usually get. This is all due to a dry year last year, and not enough rain this year. Thankfully we have had some timely rains this spring though to keep the grass growing in the pastures. But so far, it’s not really enough to sustain them well into fall, which is what we would like our pastures to do.
We implement rotational grazing on our pastures, which divides them into smaller paddocks and we rotate every few days to weekly. This helps to rest parts of the pasture so that it has a chance to grow back before the cows get to it again. It’s a great practice to have on the ranch because the cows are forced to eat everything, even the grass that they would usually pass on, which helps utilize all the grass in the pasture.
Clarence and Adina have helped in the hay field this summer – Adina for the first time. She has the job of raking, which is easy for a kid to catch on to. There isn’t much that could ever go wrong for her. Clarence can rake or bale depending on where Matt needs him at the time. He’s asked me to be out there, too, but with little extra people around, it just doesn’t work right now. Plus, the 2 little boys have been sick this last week, and they just needed time at home to rest. So he’s making use of the kids, which is great because they learn what it takes to feed our cows and a bunch of responsibility.
There is a good chance of rain today, so we are hoping for a shot. It’s awfully hot and humid, and there’s something brewing out west, so I’m sure we’re in for something. The pastures and hay fields and other crops in the area sure need it!
And it’s fair week, so hopefully we can get the rain out of the way because it’s no fun to be at the fair and have our activities rained out. The kids are involved with things every day, and we haul the camper in to stay there to take care of the animals. It’s the highlight of the kids’ summer.
Continue to pray for rain for our area – we really need the moisture.