Things are really busy on the Jamison Family Farm. Today is May 2nd and as early as Memorial Day weekend, we will be cutting and baling hay. Much preparation is in order. Work has been done, work is ongoing and will continue right up to the day we begin cutting and then the REAL work begins...
We have fertilized our fields and sprayed for broadleaf weeds. With the exception of a handful of buttercups here and there, the hay is very clean.
May the Hay Dog thinks the fields look right fancy...
Our 50 plus year old Lely fertilizer spreader was retired this year..
We replaced the old Lely with a new Kubota fertilizer spreader.
While Kubota is a Japanese company, the origin of this spreader is from the UK and Europe. There was a company called Vicon that made hay and forage equipment for many years; round balers, hay cutters, rakes and fertilizer spreaders, etc. This company was purchased by another European company called Kverneland. At some point, Kubota wanted to get into larger row crop tractors, tillage equipment and hay tools; they bought Kverneland, painted the products orange and badged them Kubota.
In the UK and Europe, the type fertilizer spreader I bought is referred to as a "Wig-Wag" spreader.
It does not have a traditional spinner to throw the fertilizer, but a tube that oscillates back and forth like a horizontal pendulum, hence the nick name, "wig-wag".
On a farm such as ours, we need to hit a home run with every piece of equipment we buy and use - new or used. I tend to study these things like an exam - I think it drives Joan crazy... I'll learn everything I can about what we are going to buy and when a deal comes along, I'll buy the item like an impulse buyer - only fully informed. Often I will know more about the item than the sales person selling it. There is a global problem in that people who may not know the answer to a question, instead of saying, "I don't know", they will give you a line of BS instead. In the course of buying tractors or equipment for the farm, I will ask questions that I know the answer. If the sales person spews a line of BS rather than just telling me he/she doesn't know - I'm very careful going forward with them, if I do at all.
When I bought this Kubota spreader, I spent many hours learning everything about it - good, bad and ugly. The internet is the buyers friend and in as much as these spreaders are rare in the United States, I went to online forums in the UK and asked questions.
What I found is - these Kubota (Vicon) spreaders are very reliable over long years, they have stainless steel parts in the bottom of the hopper, the hopper itself is a plastic/fiberglass make-up and calibration of the spreader is most easy.
One of the goals with this spreader was more capacity. Our old Lely could hold about 800 lbs of fertilizer. This new Kubota (with hoper extensions - which I have ordered) can hold 2,200 lbs of fertilizer. This means instead of handling 50 lb bags of fertilizer, we can buy bags of fertilizer that weigh one ton. Further, when we buy these large bags of fertilizer, we can have it blended. N, P, K stands for nitrogen, phosphorus and pot ash. Previously we made three trips out on the field putting down individual amounts of NPK. The Kubota fertilizer spreader will allow us to make a single trip onto the field - speeding up fertilizing and eliminating the hand labor that came with 50 lbs bags.
So with fertilizing out of the way, we have been working on some additional kicker wagons. My brother George and I replaced a broken spindle on a wagon gear I have. This required grinding out the old welds, driving out the old spindle with a sledge hammer and welding a new spindle in place. George is a crack metal worker and welder.
Back to the banjo and string tight...
On the Jamison Family Farm, we know a little something about "Tight as a banjo string."
2021 marks 41 years of me playing a 5 string banjo.
Regarding baling twine (string), we use only the strongest. 9600/210. A bale of twine has two spools; each having 4,800 feet of twine for a total of 9,600 feet. 210 is the knot strength. When a piece of baling twine breaks, it is usually at the knot. Other twine knot strengths that are available are 130 and 170. Since we changed to 210 knot strength twine, we literally have zero twine breakage. This is important because if the twine breaks in the baler, it can take 15ish minutes to rethread the knotters and make sure everything is working as it should. If one were to have four twine breaks an afternoon, they have lost one hour of baling. That is not good - especially if rain is looming in the distance. If you are a customer, who wants to unload their hay and have twine breakage.
I mentioned 41 years playing a 5 string banjo. 38 of those years have been with the same banjo - my William Hyatt.
If you come for hay sometime, perhaps we can pick you a tune!
We're getting close to haying. If you are interested in forage tested First Quality horse hay - shoot us an email at FirstQualityHay@icloud.com or call (or text) us at (304) 667-4753. We are located north of Roanoke near Paint Bank VA.
Take care - The Jamison Family Farm!
This blog entry is checked and edited by May the Hay Dog - WOOF!