The hay fields are mostly WW B-Dahl old-world bluestem, which is drought resistant, does not require much nitrogen fertilization, and is very palatable to cattle. We also have some Coastal, which requires more nitrogen fertilizer but also produces more hay when fertilized. We are currently using dairy manure for fertilization, and may use hydrolyzed fish in the future.
All bales are Certified Organic. Some are 4×5 ft net-wrapped, some are 4×6 ft net-wrapped. We are trying to find a square baler to make more people-manageable bales. Please let us know if you know of one!
- As of Summer 2022, we have no hay. The temperatures have been above 100F since mid-May and we have had little rain. If this continues, we may not have
enough hay for the winter to support a herd. Fortunately, mid-July brought some rain and the pivot seems to be working more or less again, so we will see.
- As of Spring 2023, we have no hay for sale. We did manage to harvest enough hay from one dry-land field to keep alive the animals we did not sell last fall,
but we did have to sell three-quarters of the herd. The pivot field's grass was needed just to keep the herd alive into the winter. So our plan is to keep our
hay until we have 18 months on hand. If we get rain and keep the herd smaller than before, we might be able to accomplish that in 2023.
The good news is that (a) better rain conditions are expected starting in mid- to late-2023
(climate.gov/enso and noaa.gov)
and (b) we are in the process of acquiring a square baler that will let us provide
40-60 lb square bales that are much more convenient to the small homesteader than the the current 800-1000 lb round bales.