We are about to enter a season known to people who live in town as Winter. Out here in ranch country it’s known as “hayin’ season”. Everything changes now. If you are using square bales, or forking hay out of a bobsled, there is a daily schedule. Regardless of cooking, school, board meetings, or off the farm job, there’s the feeding schedule. One or two hours of every single day you will spend putting out hay. We have converted to round bales or “rolls”. These weigh around half to three quarters of a ton. We put them out with the John Deere 4040 which has a front end loader fitted with forks. Every few days around four o’clock, a few hours will be dedicated to hauling rolls out of the bale yard to different pastures so that the cows and horses can have hay.
It is interesting to note a couple of things about cows and horses during hay season. First, you must put enough rolls out so that every member of the herd has access, otherwise dominant cows will starve out less pushy herd mates. Fuss all you want, it’s their world. They’re living in it 24/7. You’re only out there part of the day. The other factor is that cows who wouldn’t give you the time of day a month ago will be waiting for you at 4 o’clock once haying season starts. Self-reliance is fine when there’s an abundance of grass, but once the welfare tractor starts up – here they come!