Monday, July 26, 2010


Over the years of growing up on the farm the ways of producing and the storing of hay changed somewhat.

My earliest memory of haying time was the cutting of the grass or alfalfa to become dried and cured for later use by cows, horses, and other farm animals.

My Father did the cutting of the grass or alfalfa with a team of horses and a Minnesota Model Mower. (they carried that name because they were made in some of Minnesota's Prisons.) Later on, Dad pulled the mower slowly behind a tractor.

The grass or alfalfa was left to dry out by the sun for 3-4 days and then put into neat piles to pe picked later and pitched into a hayrack. Once the hayrack was full, it was pulled into the yard and parked next to our barn. Our barn had a hay mow on the second floor and with a series of ropes and hay slings, the hay was deposited in the hay mow for safe keeping and out of the weather and for later consumtion by the farm's animals.

Later on the job of loading the loose hay was replaced by the baling of the hay into rectangular shaped hay bales or sometimes they were round bales depending on your choice or particular use.

The first rectangular bales were held together with baling wire. A baling unit consisted of the baling machine pulled by a man on a tractor and 2 men that threaded the wires through the hay bale and the machine twist tied the wire to secure the entire bale. These bales were very large and hard for one man to handle and load on to the flatbed trailer that was being pulled behind the baler.

**Note- One the good things about the baling wire was the fact that after the wire was cut and removed from the bale, the wire was used in many ways to temporarily fix things on the farm. As I mentioned earlier, there were some round balers being produced and used, but the rectangular or square bale as they were called were the most popular.

Long after my haying days on the farm the round bale made a come back and they are used today. These are huge round bales and have to be loaded on a truck or just carried to a stacking area by a large tractor or Michigan Loader. Some of these bales are now plastic covered and others are not depending on the wishes of the farmer in charge.

Yes, the hay operation has changed somewhat over the years, but the need for proper harvesting and storage is very important so that it is most beneficial to the farm livestock

To be honest... I really don't miss loading bales.

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