Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hay Day(s)

So another thing we had to do this week was to harvest our alfalfa plots. Here is a picture of the test site on Wednesday. It is just starting to flower. It looks really nice, as it was just seeded last year. It is 300 feet long and the plots are 15 feet wide. The actual harvested width of each plot is 13 feet. On Thursday, Stephanie excused herself from the Farm 7 spray job to get Ron started cutting the plots with the haybine. We use the gps guidance here which is very handy when looking at a solid field of alfalfa.Late Friday morning Ron begins to bale the alfalfa with the round baler. This has been a great system for yield determination. The plots are long enough that you can get enough alfalfa picked up to make a bale.

I haven't had a picture of Ron for awhile, so enjoy this one of him working in the plots.

At the end of each plot, Ron gives birth to a baby bale. This being the second cutting, the bales are smaller than at the first cutting.

Then Friday afternoon the weighing of bales commences. Below Jeff picks up a plot bale with the "claw" as we call it, and places it on a small wagon with a digital scale attached.

Amanda records the weight while Stephanie grabs two samples from the bale. One is weighed right away on a small scale. Then it will be re-weighed a few days later after being dried in our dryer. This is to determince per cent moisture. The second sample is sent to a lab for quality analysis. Results of these samples will enable determination of treatment effects on both yield and quality. What becomes of the bales, you ask? They are given to a neighbor dairy with whom we are friends. So no hay is wasted in this operation.

I pretty much stayed out of the way and took pictures, so the operation was flawless.