Mowing Hay

Now that the wheat has been harvested, we can turn our full attention to mowing and baling the hay. Hay is mowed each summer after the seed heads have formed. It is cut and allowed to lay for a couple days drying in the sun. Then it is baled, and will be fed to the cattle all next winter. Harland uses a swather, which cuts it and lays it in a nice neat row.

Here you can see rows of cut hay. Harland makes laps around the field going around and around, and leaving a long continuous row behind him.

Here, he is coming up a hill towards me.

When he gets to the top of the hill, he starts to turn around the corner of the field.

And here comes the swather around the corner.

Here’s the view from behind. You can see the row of hay left by the swather, and the tractor straddles the row from the previous turn around the field.

Here’s a view of the swather from inside the tractor.

Harland spends more time looking behind him when cutting hay, than looking forward.

Sometimes hay will bunch up in the swather, and if it does he has to get out and pull it all out of there and it’s a big mess. So he tries to watch for it and catch it before it happens. If he sees it clogging up, he stops, backs up a few feet, and then goes forward again, which keeps it from happening.

Here’s the view looking forward.

If it rains on the hay once it is cut, we have to wait for it to dry out, and the nutrient value goes down. Also, it could start to grow mold, and then we wouldn’t be able to feed it to the cattle. Since the hay has to lay in the field for 2 days after cutting before it is baled, we have to watch the weather forecast carefully for upcoming rains, and pick a time when there is no rain forecasted for a 3 day time period.

This is where the expression, “make hay while the sun shines” comes from.

I’ll have another post soon when Harland bales the hay.


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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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21 Responses

  1. Glenda says:

    I enjoy seeing the old barns and outbuildings in the background. Cutting hay now is a one man job with all of the modern equipment we have access to.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Glenda,
      Yes, like much of farming today, hay mowing can be done now by one person, where it used to take many people long hours. Easier and quicker, but lonlier, don’t you think?
      Take care,

  2. Kelly says:

    I am so hoping Harland is going to roll those big elephant bales!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hello Kelly,
      No need to hope any further – Harland is indeed doing those big elephant bales. Stay tuned- post to come soon. :o)

  3. That was a great post on swathing hay.
    I’ve wanted to ask, did you grow up around farms too or are you learning farming really well, really fast?
    I got your order for rain after the hay is in!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hello Gardener,
      Thank you for taking our rain order – much appreciated. While my family didn’t farm when I was growing up, we were surrounded by farmers as we lived in the country. I picked up a lot then, and have learned a lot from Harland.
      Take care,

  4. linda says:

    My favorite smell, freshly cut hay.
    I enjoyed this post, learning about cutting hay.
    Thank you.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Linda,
      Glad you enjoyed the post. Tomorrow, I’ll do a post about baling the hay.
      Thank you for your visit,

  5. Maeghan says:

    LOVE LOVE the blog. I found you through PW. I am married to a Kansas Farm boy but live in Kansas City. His family still has the farm in Newton, which where I hope to eventually raise my 2 sons. My oldest just got to participate in his first wheat harvest. Oh I will be back to read more.

  6. Maeghan says:

    what a great blog. My son just participated in his first wheat harvest in Newton KS. I will be back to read more.

  7. I love hay. I LOVE seeing hay bales. I guess I never thought about the rain aspect of it, I have been seeing a LOT of hay going up this past week!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hello Lana,
      I’ve been seeing a lot of hay cut and baled this week too. When it is ready, the farmers hurry to put it up, as it loses nutrient value with each passing day.
      Thanks for visitin’

  8. Stephanie says:

    Wow that’s a big machine. Hope it is not too noisy he he…

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Stephanie,
      It is rather noisy, but it’s not so bad inside the tractor cab.
      Thanks for visiting,

  9. You are a lucky lady. You get to live on this farm and experience all that goes on. I think it is so cool that I get to see a little bit of what goes on on a daily basis on a real farm. Plus, how cool is it that you get to ride in the big machinery! When I pass by a farm and see activity like this going on, I always wonder what they are doing! And now, I have your wonderful blog to read, which gives me a little insight! I love it! Keep writing!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Bonnie,
      While I grew up in farm country, my family didn’t farm themselves. So it is a lot of fun for me to ride on the tractor and combine, or get close to the calves during calving season. I watched all these things from a distance when I was a kid, and am now getting to live them. I feel very lucky indeed.
      Take care,

  10. Peggy says:

    Love, Love, Love the pics! You did a super job. This makes me really miss my family roots in Missouri

  1. July 2, 2010

    […] Mowing Hay […]

  2. July 4, 2010

    […] couple days after Harland mowed the hay in the field featured in my hay mowing post, he was back to bale it.  He makes those large “elephant-sized” bales, and uses […]

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