The hay operations start up pretty early on in the year. During the later half of March we are spraying the fields for bugs, fertilizer & weeds. Then for the next couple of weeks the work is mainly getting all of the last minute stuff finished up like getting sprinklers repaired, servicing the pivot and all the rest of the equipment we use. By the end of April we will have all the irrigation systems turned on, as we have them running pretty much 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week.
The wheel lines we use on the small fields will run for a few days then be off for about a week then back through the same cycle again. The watering will go on till the alfalfa has gone about tall enough to cut, then we will turn the water off for a week or so to dry things out before cutting.
Most summers we will get 4 cuts up here, on average about 1 cut a month during June, July August and September before it gets to cold at night to grow much again. By then everybody has about had it anyway and is looking forward to fall and day or two to relax a bit.
Most of the time we had been putting up small two string bales which run about 75 lbs each. On a normal year there would be about 5,000 of those to deal with during the summer. But the last couple of years we have been baling up more of the 4’x4’x8′ one ton bales and selling to the feed lots and dairies in the area. This cuts down a lot of the time and work in handling the same amount of hay tonnage wise since there might be around 24 of my small bales in each one of the big bales. Sounds good to me!
Due to the size of these big bales there is not much in the way of hand work there. Its all done with equipment to handle and move them. They may take a few more hands to deal with them but you can sure move a lot of hay in a hurry with those big bales.
Its been a lot of fun and a good learning experience for me to be able to help with some of the baling and hauling of hay when I have time with Tom Jenson and the rest of them at TC Farms. A good bunch of folks to deal with and be friends with.
Due to some Federal changes in what we can use to spray the fields now for bugs, we had to have a plane come in and spray a second treatment. It was fun to watch him make his passes across the fields and only be a very short distance off of the ground. My pivot sprinkler in the background is about 12 feet tall at its tallest point. Most of the time he was level with it or just below it , pretty cool.