Sunday, September 9, 2012
Second Coming of the Second Cutting
If you grow and hay and you are very lucky, you can get two cuttings off your fields. The first one is usually the best and the last one is about half as high. We have a farmer that cuts our fields. He does it for shares. Some for us, well for the horses, and the rest for him, well his cows. Different guys use different percentages, but he is always fair with us. We have always gotten enough hay from our share of the first cutting and he gets all of the second cutting. A win-win for us both. Plus, the more land we clear, the more land he mows for us!
The horses are currently up at a trainer and for sale, so the hope is I won't need any more hay for us. We have our share from the first cutting stored in the barn and we will give it to our friendly neighborhood hay baler if we no longer need it.
Our fields are usually the last ones cut. At least as far as the ones around here. It may be because we are up on a slope with mountains behind us and the hay matures slower. It may be because he has a schedule and we are last. At any rate our second cutting started a few weeks ago. He cuts a lot of fields near us and sometimes he just cuts half of our property on any given day.
I know that farmers have to keep an eye on the weather forecast. Rain can ruin, or at least lessen the value of a crop. So sometimes I think he only cuts that which he knows he can safely bale before it rains. It usually rains 3 inches every month here. You have to find a window where it is safe to cut and let it dry. Then bale the next day. On the other hand, if you wait too long, the grass is no longer as nutritious. So it is a juggling act every year.
And this brings us to today. There is a three day window when there is no forecast of rain. And now he is out there cutting grass. Now farmers around here don't just have one job. He works a full time construction job elsewhere. Then he raises cows. And cuts grass all over the county. During hay season he can be out cutting until dark. And then he gets to pick up the bales a few at a time and load them on a trailer, drive home and unload. Then do it again.