If I had to sum-up our 2021 hay season, it would be chipping away. We have been very slow getting hay cut, baled and into the barn.
We had a great weather window to cut and bale hay in mid-May, however, we passed. Our Spring was cold and dry. It was apparent hay yield at that time would be low and of major concern, given the colder temperatures, was being able to get the hay cured. Other haymakers who I know - that cut hay, locked into yields of 50-60%. Most required hay preservative to combat higher moisture content and prevent dust and mold in their hay.
Since this mid-May weather passed, we have been in a continuous cycle of just enough rain to prevent cutting hay. We need three full days minimum to cut and bale hay and the weather has not cooperated, except for a few occasions and we are into July with hay yet to be cut. I was on the farm today, looking over our remaining hay fields and what I'm seeing is much undergrowth coming-in. Essentially going forward, our first and second cuttings will be the same cut. It is doubtful we will get any second cuttings this year beyond an earlier first cut.
Further aggravating our haying is the disappearance of timothy hay in mass. Our timothy has been devastated. We are not sure if it is just old age, damage from the herbicide we use to squish foxtail and horse nettle or we have an infestation of cereal rust mite. The bottom line is - there is very little timothy in our hay and we are fortunate that native orchard grass and fescue have come into our fields. This has been a challenging year to say the least, however...
We are not discouraged.
Our fall plans are to heavily overseed timothy into all of our fields. To assist in the germination, we are not spraying any herbicides on our fields after cutting them. Herbicides can act like a pre-emergent and we don't want that. We will clip our fields to keep them under control and in early September overseed timothy back into them.
The good news is - the hay we are able to cut and bale is selling briskly. 90% of all hay cut and baled to date has been sold. As weather windows present, we will continue to chip away at our haying.
I have a number of customers asking about hay and when. If you are reading this blog entry, know that I've got a list and will reach out to you as soon as we have hay available. If you would like to be added to our waiting list, please send an email to FirstQualityHay@icloud.com.
May the Hay Dog is keeping a close eye on the haying situation this year too.
When she is not sacked out on the couch...
That's about it for this blog entry. Hope everyone is having a great summer.
We will talk again soon.
This blog entry is checked and edited by May the Hay Dog - WOOF!