48 hours in 6th Gear

The weather is something we cannot control, and something which can make or break you in farming. We follow the forecast daily, if not hourly, and the latter is certainly the case when hay making. With such short recent bursts of dry weather, followed by downpours, I could have been waiting and waiting for weeks to make my hay. Typically you are looking for a week of dry weather.

There was no sight of a lovely long dry spell to come anytime soon. Last Sunday I took the risk and went for it, knowing at the forefront of my mind that 48 hours later, heavy rain was expected. 

Sunday afternoon, contractors cut 20+ acres of grass. It’s lush and green. Sunday evening, I turn it, exposing new sides to the sunshine. Monday, I turn it twice, accelerating the drying process as much as I can. I also race about in between sorting lambs. On Tuesday, it’s market day. I’m up at 5am and dash to market with a trailer-load of lambs. It’s the first time I’ve had to leave them at the market before being sold. For the first time I rely on the auctioneer to do a promotion job alone. I’m back turning the hay by 10am. I’m then raking it up into rows ready for the baler, when I get the call from Elwyn, Hobbs Parker’s auctioneer breaking the news. My lambs made top price for their weight category. Relief. The forecast still says rain is due in a few hours time. I call the contractor baler in. He bales 110 big bales (8 foot by 4 foot) by 6pm.  The quality of hay he says is excellent, despite rushing the process through. I stack them in the field, 6 high by 10pm. There’s no time to cart them to the sheds but at least this way, most are protected by rain and with a few hours of dry weather tomorrow, the top layer will be dry again. To bed.

Laying in bed at midnight the heavens open.  That’s when I breathe a very big sigh of relief and a wry smile appears. A big day is when you get top lamb price and at the same time make top quality hay. The weather didn’t break me after all.  

Haymaking at Hare Farm

Written by Stuart

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