First Cutting of Hay

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June 5, 2009.  Hay fields raked and ready to be baled.  These are the same fields that were pictured May 17 in the post, Contour Strip Cropping. 

I cut the hay fields Tuesday and Wednesday to hopefully be ready to bale on Friday.  Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were good drying days, (sunny, low humidity), so we baled dry hay Friday.  It is raining now, (Saturday).

Yields are lower than hoped for.  I kept my fields in hay for one year too many and the fields experienced some winter-kill.  Alfalfa is known to winter-kill as it ages depending on winter conditions.  Orchardgrass is also known to winter-kill, but we haven’t had any problems until this winter.  These fields were my first experience with an improved orchardgrass.  The variety is “Extend” from Lacrosse Forage.  It is less clumpy and matures later than the common orchardgrass.  I picked out and planted the seed and it did well for me. I guess I fell in love with it and didn’t feel like rotating into corn.  Curiousfarmer is sentimental.

27 acres yielded 65 big round bales of hay.  Each round bale weighs about 1500 lbs.  So the total yield was 97,500 lbs. of hay.  That is 3,600 lbs. per acre.  We hope to yield 4,000 to 4,500 lbs. per acre for first cutting, which is by far the highest yielding cutting.  I’m interested to see how our other hay fields yield.

We are about 20% done with first cutting.  We will cut again next week when the weather cooperates.

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