Winter is almost here (no snow but +6in on the mountain) and I'm so thankful to look down and see the hay bales all packed and ready in the barn. With the crazy weather we had across the country this summer - drought in many areas and waaayyy too much rain in others it's been a difficult yr for many.
Weather here was pretty good. Steady rain up until late summer kept things green and growing much longer than usual. I know most farmers were able to get 2 good cuttings this season, and get things stocked up for a while. Prices stayed manageable. Ranging from about $25 - $40 a bale, depending on size and quality. We were lucky to find a new "hay guy" when our friend decided to increase his herd and not sell this year. The new bales are a little smaller but on the upside the hay is better and the Dexters are really enjoying it.
that is really cheap must be smaller bales that we have here. bad drought here. We have plenty of hay here but not selling any this year. I have several people wanting hay already but I dont want to run myself short. I think I did about 150 this year. about 50 short of previous years. I had one neighbor earlier in the summer that was chopping his corn to feed to cattle so he could save all his hay for winter.
Yes, I think the bales we have this season are probably around 4 x 4 1/2. Smaller than last yrs, but luckily we are not getting the waste we had with them. Seemed like they dug through and wasted about 1/3 of it - Used it for beds.
These are Easier on the tractor too. We like to use the small 8N on these hills when we can. The heavy bales can really work it.
Good to hear you all will be alright. I've heard it is pretty scarce in some areas. People couldn't get enough made for their needs. We had a terrible drought here yrs ago. Back before Dexters and we had a few angus and a jersey. Everything dried up early and there was no pasture or hay available.
I should have all the hay I need in storage here, but it is all small square bales. I thought it would be convenient to have a few round bales to put out at times, so I wouldn't have to haul square bales so often.
When I took Cujo to a neighbor's farm to breed his two Dexters, I discovered that he had baled his own hay fields in 5' round bales. I made a deal with him to knock $25 off of the stud fee in exchange for one of his round bales. With the grass I have in the pastures, I guessed the round bale would last a month for the 7 Dexters left behind.
Wrong! It turned out that they really liked the grass in his bale. So much that they stayed with it for 8 days, until they had reduced it to near nothing. Now I'm back where I started, with no round bales.
It's just as well, for I finished last spring with about 250 square bales left over. I'm feeding them now. I'll probably end up with a lot left over again, so I don't need to be buying round bales.
We have seen very little sun for the last few weeks here. As a result my solar fencer I built has not been working. The cows figured it out and took down the poly wire around the hay. They sampled about 20 bales. No much volume lost. But it will deduce the shelf life on them. I will need to feed those first.
Every year I lose a few like that. I don't have electric guarding the bales downstairs in the barn. Those talented cows can stick their noses through the gate and grab a few blades of hay. No big deal until they pull out so many blades that the bale collapses and lets the stack topple against the gate. Then they feast.
I learned to stack the front row of bales on their sides, so the cows couldn't get to the strings. Once they get a bite on the strings, that bales is drawn to the gate and consumed.
It's actually funny, trying to outwit the Dexters. I hate to tell you, but they outsmart me more times than I outsmart them. I figure it into the pre-season plan, when I'm figuring out how many bales to put away.
How could youy be mad at cows that are so friendly?
Mike, my solar fencer starts with a 45 watt solar kit from Harbor freight. They sell a 100 watt kit now for $149. I use that to charge and keep charged a 105 amp hour deep cycle marine battery that cost me $130. That runs a battery powered fence charger and a few lights around the barn that we use every evening when we are locking the chickens up after dark. My Parmak charger will operate for 22 days from this battery without any solar input at all.
One thing that could hurt you is if your solar controller does not have anti-feedback protection. That lets the battery drain back into the panels every night and any sunless days. Controllers can be found on-line for under $10 that do have this protection.
I needed something that could charge miles of overgrown fence( I hate cleaning weeds off of the fence). I do not have electricity on my grazing land. I run a parmak super 5 16,000 volts and I think about 4 joules If I remember right. I have a 100 w panel and a digital charge controller and a pure sign wave inverter( cheap inverters do not work and will burn out electronics). I also have digital timers that shut it off during overnight hours to prevent the battery from going to low. It will run about 5 days with no sun but anything beyond that is pushing it.
I have 2 of these units running on 2 different farms.
Each one has 1 full size 100 w panel. 1 more would sure make it better but may not be enough for the long stretches without sun. I am almost done with grazing for the year and will be hauling all the Dexters back to my house for winter. I currently have portable fencers protecting the hay. Not as much bite as mine but better then no bite