Brian Parkins releases a 4’x5’ bale at the Bennett Farm on Bowles Ridge on Thursday, September 21.
On Friday, September 22, the weather forecast called for four days in which hay could be cut, cured, raked and baled. It rained on Sunday. Making hay while the sun shines is the only way that it can be done. A 4-day window of favorable weather is necessary for typical hay fields.
The inaccurate forecast did not hinder the Grady and Parkins families who lease about 75 acres of hay field and 125 acres of pasture on Bowles Ridge because they began cutting hay on Monday, September 18, and had completed the baling before Sunday’s rain on the 24th.
Harvesting 75 acres of hay in a 5-day period requires more than one baler. The Dencil and Judy Grady and Brian and Jennifer Parkins employ three tractors, two for baling and one for raking.
The two families took advantage of a stretch of favorable weather in early June to harvest a mix of 75 4×4 and 4×5-foot round bales off the same fields. This last week’s second cutting produced about half that number.
The hay will be used to feed 25 head of cattle this winter.