Making Hay

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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#1
On a very small scale, I currently have an acre of grass that's taller than me, I daren't let them loose on it as they will a) stuff themselves, b) trash it and c) eat the nice bits to the ground and leave the less nice bits which in this drought (still no rain here) will stress it even more, so I was wondering if there is any reason not to make hay, just cut a bit by hand and turn it a couple of times before feeding it?
 

Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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#2
No idea on the metabolic side / calorie content etc but very interested in how it will be cut. Do you have a hand scythe? How exciting if you make your own!
We are having ours done this year for the first time, a local contractor is making hay for us, I am ridiculously thrilled about that:)
I think he said he would turn it four times and that's what my neighbour mentioned too. But if you are cutting then drying out - and then giving there and then I don't see why not?
 
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Jessey

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#3
Its pretty baked dry as it stands :p but I guess it will need 24-48 hours to dry still. I have a sickle or garden shears, so it definitely won't be a fast or mass production process :p I was meant to cut it, and its now so long and stalky that it really needs to come off before winter as they won't think much of foggage like that so it would be good if I can use it rather than just compost it.

I wonder if I could use the strimmer to cut it...? A quick google says you can :p https://homeguides.sfgate.com/cut-grass-hay-58487.html
 
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chunky monkey

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#7
I would use the strimmer. It's alot less back braking than sything. Then turn with a pitch fork. Use a rake to make rows, then you can just put the fork in to pick up to carry to the shed or put out on track. I do this with a few areas of grass that are outside my property. The council don't cut it so I just strim it when it gets long then let it wilt. Then I put in the hay racks for the sheep/cattle if I have some in.
In the years before we had tractor we used to cut our field with an allen sythe and turn by hand. Load on a trailer to take to the shed. As long as it is bone dry when you put it in the shed it will keep under cover for a bit as well.
I cut my top paddock which was full of nettles a few weeks ago. I left them to wilt and then let the horses on the area. That was only nettles as the sheep had eaten out the grass. But they loved them.
Could you cut a strip leave to wilt/turn, then let the horses onto the strip to eat it.
 
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Mar 4, 2008
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#8
I did this a few years ago. I cut with a scythe, spread it out with a big wooden rake, raked it up for overnight then spread it out again before filling a few dumpy bags with it. It didn't last very long but it was lovely, lovely stuff and very satisfying to make. Go for it. :)
 
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Jessey

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#9
Could you cut a strip leave to wilt/turn, then let the horses onto the strip to eat it.
They would just eat the stuff underneath :rolleyes: so a, b & c would still apply. I'm quite happy to cut it and then pop it into their hay boxes, it just nice for them to get a little bit of something fresher than last years hay.
 

Trewsers

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#10
image.jpeg We had our small spare field cut this morning. Apparently he is making it into hayledge for us instead of hay. Mentioned something about there being too much on it? Wonder if he meant it had gotten too long and thick?? Ah well it's novel and also of course will be most welcome this winter.
 

Jessey

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#12
View attachment 94361 We had our small spare field cut this morning. Apparently he is making it into hayledge for us instead of hay. Mentioned something about there being too much on it? Wonder if he meant it had gotten too long and thick?? Ah well it's novel and also of course will be most welcome this winter.
That's super, how many bales does he think you will get? it always surprises me how much hay you normally get per acre
 

Jessey

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#13
Would someone not cut it for you and bale it?! Even if you only get a small amount of bales??
Me? they would but unfortunately my 9ft wide gates with steel girders sunk into concrete for posts (if it were wood and dirt I would move them) means I can't get anyone with the equipment in there :(
 
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Trewsers

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#14
That's super, how many bales does he think you will get? it always surprises me how much hay you normally get per acre
He reckons forty bales (small ones) but I don't know? It's bad to judge. I'll be happy with however many, it all helps. I honestly don't know if I'll be able to buy hay or not this winter. We might be back to the bagged stuff (dam there goes my budget for a quad bike:rolleyes:)
 
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MrC

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#15
Me? they would but unfortunately my 9ft wide gates with steel girders sunk into concrete for posts (if it were wood and dirt I would move them) means I can't get anyone with the equipment in there :(
Awww that’s pants :( I wasn’t thinking the gates was thinking maybe the ground was preventing someone doing it :(
 
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newforest

She's not fat, she's too short :-)
Mar 15, 2008
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#16
What about searching around the small holders. They would have smaller tractors etc. You might get 50 bales off it that you can store/ feed.

I don't know why I am thinking about the sugar content. Hay is just dried grass. Was the grass too rich to have been grazed down or is this set aside for winter?
 

Jessey

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#17
What about searching around the small holders. They would have smaller tractors etc. You might get 50 bales off it that you can store/ feed.

I don't know why I am thinking about the sugar content. Hay is just dried grass. Was the grass too rich to have been grazed down or is this set aside for winter?
There is only 1 chap close enough with a small tractor and he wanted 200 quid just to top it! I can store a hundred or more so that's not the issue.
Hay still has sugar content, that's why Jess can't tolerate rye hay. She doesn't cope well on grass in summer, gets very fat and all 3 struggle with their weight and I do think at least part of Jess' lameness problem was LGL. I normally wait until it's very dormant after Xmas then strip graze it. This is so long because my mower packed up and it was too long to mow then, normally I keep the whole lot down until about august so it stays leafy for winter. Though its actually likely a god send, the half I did get mowed is now totally brown and crispy from the heat, at least the long stuff has protected itself a bit and there's still some green to it.
To the left of my 3 you can just see the long stuff
37146853_10156462107672246_7839264816505028608_n.jpg
Compared to the half I mowed
36508087_10156429950837246_3028111999931252736_n.jpg
 
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newforest

She's not fat, she's too short :-)
Mar 15, 2008
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#18
Yes it was a weird godsend for us that they didn't top the field before we moved.
She's pretty much eating straw grass but they are eating something and she's not lost weight due to any nutritional changes.
In fact she's buffer than she should be because it's too hard to canter anywhere. My school is even hard!
 
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