In addition to the hay which we bale ourselves, we also get a paddock made into silage/baleage each year. We don’t have the equipment needed for this – so we get in the pros! Here’s what the process looks like, and a flash-forward to us in winter feeding out the delicious “sauerkraut for cows”.
A stellar example of Murphey’s Law. Smack bang in the middle of haymaking (the busiest time of year for us), our waterwheel pump decided to pack a sad. When the summer days are long and hot, our one-hundred-eighty animals are thirsty drinkers. So, behold the fiddly and time-sensitive process of us troubleshooting through trial and error to get this darn thing operating smoothly again before the troughs dry up!
For the more technical-minded: This is a Davies B1 series pump. It’s about 80-100 years old, and you can see the various parts being serviced herein, which are still manufactured to this day – a testament to an enduring product. It is designed to run fast, putting out about 200 gallons an hour. A very common relic to find on old farms in New Zealand.
Every summer we mow, ted, windrow, and bale 500 – 600 conventional hay bales over two paddocks (10 acres/4 hectares), with gnarly old equipment we had to figure out how to use and maintain.
We sell about half the bales, and the other half feeds our animals over winter. We decided to document the whole four-day process this year, complete with drone footage for some unique and interesting perspectives! It’s a stressful time of year, but one of the most rewarding activities when it all goes to plan.
The equipment we use is 50 – 80 years old, some of which we bought from the old owner of our homestead, including a UFO Mini Twin (mower), PZ Haybob (tedder), and a McCormick International Harvester (baler). All powered by our trusty old Fiat tractor.
Make hay while the sun shines!