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How long to make hay?

I know this is almost how long is a bit of rope, but how much sunny weather should I aim for to make hay? There looks like a good week coming up, and I am tied to baling at a weekend, simply because I have a vast, cheap labour force available when they're not at school.

Cut, turn, turn, turn, bale. Any rough suggestions, please?

We used to get it all in if we had 3 days of good weather.

As quick as that? Excellent. I have the under 15 rugby team on standby for a rapid deployment (hence the requirement for weekend collection!).
Rob R

Depends on the thickness of the crop too, four days of good weather is usually needed to make really good stuff, or three days of really good weather.

OK, but a week is loads. Thanks.

Don't do what I did. One year, Bodger the village cub master had the entire cub pack helping him with his haymaking. Most of them were farmers sons and they had a whale of a time but two of them had the most terrible hay fever and ended up looking like rabbits with Myxy ! Oops. Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed

There is also the subtlety of how wet the ground is. If very soggy, you might want to leave a day or so of sunshine to dry it a bit before you cut, so it is not lying on wet ground.

Otherwise, yes, if you have a week of sun you should be fine.

Ours is usually three to four days(tops) because we live in a windy place and a good breeze makes a big difference. Also it is not that lush - wild flower meadow.

Our field is most lush at the bottom of the slope. Once it has been cut, we have loads of "fun" picking up great armfuls from the thick piles at the bottom of the field and carrying it part way up to the thin bit to spread it out to dry better.

You've not said if you've done this before. If you are talking rectangular bales and not the big plastic covered cylinders, then once it is all baled, put it in one stack in your storage place, not lots of little ones. It cures a lot better for being in one block.

In years before 2010, we've found that the bottom of the stack was not so good as the rest of it, and our sheep tended to turn up their noses at it, but the neighbours cattle stuffed it down. 2010 crop, which was very dry due to the hot June - less in quantity but superb quality. Every single bale was fragrant and the sheep ate every bit.

Looking at the temperatures forecast for next week, they are not particularly high.

So although it may be sunny, I would have thought the hay will take longer to make if the temps are lower. It will take longer if top temps are 15 degrees, compared to the low 20's.

Cut Thursday, baled and stacked yesterday, is the answer. 600+ square bales.

Better than money in the bank.

Well, it could even be that, as a proportion of them are in the paper for sale tomorrow at a ridiculous price. We've made enough to last us 3 years, with conditions similar to the last two winters, even allowing for 2-3 extra mouths.

And sold. Smile

we cut ours on a sunday lunch time and baled mid day tuesday.
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