We have just walked the parkland to inspect how the grass is growing and where the nettles are. It never grows evenly, especially this year.
There are areas which are ready to cut and some which have barely grown. Much reflects on what the growing season has been like. Snow in March and rain in April has generally stunted growth and even putting on fertiliser to encourage growth does mean that we will be later in cutting than last year and with a smaller crop.
We have had a few ewes and lambs in pens grazing on the parkland grass over spring which is always a lovely sight to see but ultimately the grass, once dry and baled will be sent to a nearby farm to a herd of beautiful jersey cows.
The grass is cut by machine, which is followed by the baler, which then ‘eats’ up the cut grass and gathers it together to make a small rectangular bale. These are smaller than the large round bales that you might see in the fields. Although it takes longer to bale, the rectangular bales are easier to move around by hand than tele-porters.
If it rains between the cutting and the baling, one must wait for the dry day again to get a ‘spinner’ on the back of a tractor to turn the grass over so that it gets dry but if there is a delay between cut and baling, it means that the quality of the hay would deteriorate. Good quality hay makes delicious food for livestock.
So timing, as with most things connected to nature and farming, is everything. Three clears days of sunshine please and if nature and the weather allows us to have a second cut of the grass to produce more hay bales that would be even better. It doesn’t always happen but a little bit of rain with a little bit of sunshine would be prefect.