Making Hay while the sun shines.

Making hay used to be a hot tiring task. The haybine would be used to cut the grasses and legumes, this piece of machinery was prone to getting plugged up with grass and it was a time consuming job clearing it out. The hay would be allowed to dry for a day or two, then raked into windrows so the old square baler could lift all the dried vegetation and form it into bales of hay. The bales would be loaded by hand onto the hay trailer and then unloaded onto the elevator, which took the bales up into the loft of the barn. Someone would be in the hot dusty barn stacking the bales as they came off the end of the elevator. All this was done in the summer months. If it rained there was a good chance that the hay would be ruined, so the weather was always a major concern.

Mowing the hayfield with the old haybine. It often got plugged up and was time consuming to clear.

I'll never forget the hot July day when I took the trailer over to the field
and loaded the hay single handed.

Eventually the haybine had a bearing go in it, when we starting to mow the neighbor's fields. The weather was perfect and the time factor involved in having the haybine repaired at such a busy time of year made the decision to replace it with a new discbine an easy one to make. This machine cuts so much quicker and does a much better job leaving the fields looking almost like a mowed lawn.

Our new [25 year old] Same tractor. The New Holland 1411 discbine.

Another new "toy" we purchased to make haying an easier task was a Vemeer round baler, it makes large round bales up to 5' in diameter. These bales are handled with loaders, which makes haying a much less strenuous job. With the large round bales weather is of less importance, once the hay is baled it can weather a bit of rain with little loss of quality. The way the bales are formed helps them shed rain as opposed to small square bales, which just soak it up and get ruined.

The Vemeer baler making hay. Here it is ejecting the bale.

We used a bale lifter on the back of the tractor to lift the bales onto the trailer. Then they would have to be tied in place so that we wouldn't loose any in the creek as we crossed it. This involved the use of two tractors, one with the lifter and one to tow the trailer and while still a lot better than the old fashioned method was not ideal.

Backing the tractor up to a bale. Then lifting it onto the trailer.

Then Nathan transported them home. The girls in the hayfield.

So with so many bales to move we invested in a MacFarlane bale lifter/transporter. It has four hydraulic cylinders and it goes down to almost ground level and slips in under the bales of hay. As you add more bales they push the others forward until it is fully loaded with six bales. It is very maneuverable and is easy to position. We didn't loose even one bale, which I think we may have done if we had to load them onto the trailer on some of the hills we were working on.

The MacFarlane bale transporter is in the lowered position to slide under the bales of hay. Here's Dick heading home with the last of the year's hay.

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