NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Making hay while the sun shines  (Read 827 times)

Kiran

  • Joined Apr 2019
Making hay while the sun shines
« on: June 27, 2019, 10:05:44 am »
I'm just wondering if anyone (ideally in south wales, but all advice welcome) gets hay made from their fields? I had problems with the tractor and by the time I managed to fix it the grass is 2ft+. I have a topper mower (which is a bit of an old beater) and would have kept is cut down if not for the tractor problem. Anyway now that ship has sailed so I have about 14acres of grazing paddocks which dont have any animals yet so I was thinking about getting it cut and bailed. Does anyone have any recommendations or alternative ideas? Also, what kind of costs would I be looking at?

Any and all advice appreciated
Voss Electric Fence

sabrina

  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Making hay while the sun shines
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2019, 10:38:50 am »
Offer your paddock to a local farmer. That way you get the job done at no cost to yourself.

Kiran

  • Joined Apr 2019
Re: Making hay while the sun shines
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2019, 07:34:49 pm »
That's a decent idea but I dont know any of them yet. New to the small holding game and the area (albeit only by 3 miles but it's a different world, lol)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Making hay while the sun shines
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2019, 10:33:07 pm »
That's a decent idea but I dont know any of them yet. New to the small holding game and the area (albeit only by 3 miles but it's a different world, lol)


You could put up a card on the notice board in your local agricultural store - or several, and in newsagent's window, post office etc.  Make sure you write down and sign any agreement, especially as you don't know anyone.  Make sure they know it's for, say one month, with a date to leave.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

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pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Making hay while the sun shines
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2019, 11:31:46 am »
Have a word either at the local feed/supplies store, the local agri engineer. Neighbouring farmers came to say hello when we moved in anyway but when I was looking for soemone to shear my few pet sheep I went to the pub and in a  clear voice asked in anyone knew someone. Ther was a small group at a table that asked how many sheep.

My answer was four.
"Four hundred" they said, "Get a contractor in.""No four."
They fell over laughing but one guy said he'd help me out and has been a great friend ever since. He's (hopefully) due this weekend to do the current eight. I always give him and his son a bottle of booze each as a thank you. Everyone around here is playing catch-up after the rain - baling or wrapping through 'til late and startng early...

Kiran

  • Joined Apr 2019
Re: Making hay while the sun shines
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2019, 08:33:02 am »
I was talking to one of the neihhbours at the weekend and they have suggested I speak to the guy who owns the land next to them. Apparently he's quite handy and although he doesn't make hay off his fields he gets someone in to do it on his behalf so I'll get a reccomendation

Kiran

  • Joined Apr 2019
Re: Making hay while the sun shines
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2019, 08:46:46 am »
Just in case everyone is busy playing catch up and cant get round to my fields, what would you reccomend, cut and then drag the chains through it to collect it up and pile in a corner to rot down?

Sorry for all the, probably stupid , questions!

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Making hay while the sun shines
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2019, 11:57:50 am »
Just in case everyone is busy playing catch up and cant get round to my fields, what would you reccomend, cut and then drag the chains through it to collect it up and pile in a corner to rot down?

I think your suggesting cutting it and then harrowing? No I wouldn't do that!

Firstly I'd put a card in local feed merchants or local group on facebook and offer the grass free to whoever can cut, bale and take away within the next week. Failing that I would ask my neighbours if they would like to graze it for a few weeks, ideally with cattle, maybe with horses, or as a last resort sheep (they'll trample most of it).

If you cut it and leave it (or harrow), it will kill a lot of the grass underneath it and the field will become full of 'thatch' - dead grass that suffocates the grass underneath. If you tried to cut it later in the year it would be full of dead grass that would smell pretty bad and you'd have a pretty inedible crop of haylage.

Kiran

  • Joined Apr 2019
Re: Making hay while the sun shines
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2019, 01:42:55 pm »
Thanks, that's really useful to know.

Ok, looks like it's time to go and make some new contacts.

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Making hay while the sun shines
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2019, 02:03:10 pm »
Thanks, that's really useful to know.

Ok, looks like it's time to go and make some new contacts.

If you can find someone who's willing to cut, bale and take away locally (for themselves) that's a really good contact to make. It'd be worth asking them to come back later in the year and asking them to take a second cut for you.

Kiran

  • Joined Apr 2019
Re: Making hay while the sun shines
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2019, 10:29:17 pm »
So I had no joy finding anyone to cut and takeaway. I even tried to find someone who would do it for payment and they are all really busy.

So this leaves me in a bit of a quandary. I need to start clearing for beds and small livestock although nothing in the short term that can eat that volume of material.

Do I cut or leave for a couple more months and hope people get less busy?

cambee

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • High Peak
Re: Making hay while the sun shines
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2019, 07:52:13 am »
Have you tried advertising a couple of months free grazing for horses? A lot of people in our area move their horses in the summer to rest their field after the winter. Go in and speak to your local equestrian / livestock feed merchants and they may know people. Horses do damage the ground if it’s wet but for a couple of months over the summer they would eat down a fair amount of the grass.

Kiran

  • Joined Apr 2019
Re: Making hay while the sun shines
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2019, 12:22:15 pm »
I struggled to make any contacts but to be fair time has been tight split between other commitments that need wrapping up asap.

I have met a number of people who know people who "could be interested" just not getting over that hurdle.

We are trying to put in place plans for next year to avoid the need for reliance on others.

In the meantime I've actually had reasonable success with a new topper cutting on the highest setting and then going back a week or so later and knocking it down to about 3 or 4 inches. Not sure this is a legitimate technique but it seems to he green again after a rain shower

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Making hay while the sun shines
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2019, 01:38:14 pm »
Good to hear you've had sucess with the topper, I think if yo keep it mown to a decent level all the cut grass with help fertilize the field, like with a lawn. I think you get problems when its left totally alone and it falls, smothers the grass below and creates 'thatch'

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Making hay while the sun shines
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2019, 09:37:03 am »
There's bit of my flat field edges and of course the slopes that donlt get cut and baled which I just top - often when they're really thick and high. The thick layer of dead grass rots down quite quickly and just gets chained the net spring. It doesn't thatch. But then this is wet wales.

 

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