Make hay while the sun shines

by Jill Dickie

Landowners are capitalising on the flush of growth in their paddocks after the unseasonal wet, and agricultural contractors are working long hours baling the hay to take advantage of optimal conditions. The most challenging part is getting that hay delivered safely into sheds in the event of rain being forecast.

For many, haymaking season is a part of life, and they have the implements on hand for making the process fast and effective. In the case of making conventionals, tractors lift bales from the tidy pile left by the  accumulator onto the truck for offloading at the hay shed.

On a smaller scale, the contractor will most likely drop them individually behind the baler for you to laboriously collect, though creating opportunity for getting a few friends around to help, bribed by promises of cool beverages and a barbecue afterwards.

One thing to ensure however is appropriate storage, additionally if the bales have had a shower of rain, or the hay hasn’t been completely dry. Retained moisture will create heat within the bale, which may develop mould or eventually cause the bale and its neighbours to spontaneously combust.

The volume of the bale stock may be a contributing factor to heat generation, also bale density and ventilation or air flow around the stacked bales.

Add into that picture a tarpaulin over the top, and you have a recipe for disaster and wasted time, effort and money.

It’s a big job, making hay, and it’s a responsible job for the contractor in charge, but with careful management and ensuring it isn’t baled too green, a healthy full-looking shed will be the result!