Earlier this week, I took advantage of the fact that I had few moments to take some pictures. So, out to the alfalfa pasture I went to take some photos of them mowing.
Making alfalfa hay isn’t quite as simple as making regular grass hay.
Sure it gets cut and raked and baled like regular hay, but to properly bale alfalfa it’s got to have some moisture in it, whereas with regular grass hay you’d prefer it have no moisture in it when you bale it or it’s likely to catch on fire and make a mess. Not to mention it gets moldy that way and I’m gonna say if I were a bovine or an equine I’d just as soon not eat moldy ol’ hay!
When baling alfalfa, typically it’s done in the middle of the night into the early morning (when there’s dew on the ground), and since I’m not that gung-ho about taking photos when I should be sleeping I don’t have any of them baling it. But that’s ok, because there will be some photos of them baling hay later this year, when they’re baling during normal business hours.
First, we’ll look at the the rake. This particular rake is called a dump rake. I believe this is a 40 foot rake.
It pulls behind the tractor, of course, and you rake up the hay, until the rake is full, and then dump the rake, making “windrows” of hay.
It is really green in the alfalfa pasture.
And like most years around here, we didn’t get the alfalfa cut before it bloomed. No worries. It’s still yummy.
We also do our absolute best to cut each patch from the inside-out. The reason you do this is to give any animals that have made their home in the cover of the grass, a chance to get out, instead of being chased into the middle, which is what happens as you cut from the outside-in.
Here’s what “windrows” look like:
And here’s what has been cut today next to what has been cut and raked from the day before:
I love that alfalfa is still always green after you cut it, because there’s little off-shoots that are too low to the ground to be cut by the mowing machine.
See the bits of green under where it’s been raked, as opposed to what hasn’t yet been raked?
Ah, the smell! There’s nothing quite as yummy as fresh cut alfalfa!
Isn’t it purty?
It’s not amber waves of grain, it’s tall grass with purple flowers!
And let’s don’t forget that we bleed “Green” around here!
The mowing machine sits out to the right of the tractor and cuts as you drive by. Maybe I’ll get some close up photos of that in action this year!
I hope you enjoyed our little adventure!
Happy Trails and Happy Friday!