Making Hay
Week of June 27th, 2004 | The weather was dry and cool.

Loading hay on hayrack.

Loading hay on hayrack.

Happy summer! We have been very busy trying to get our hay made and stored inside of the shed before it rains again. We finished flaming corn after putting the flamer back together from last week's accident. After Dad finished flaming, he cultivated the corn. The corn is recovering from the flaming and the weed control improved a lot due to this.

Due to the floods earlier this spring, our corn is not in very good shape. It is very short. Our soybeans are up and look much better than the corn crop. The barley is not far from being harvested. The weather has been excellent for small grains. We are expecting very good barley yields this year. The corn will need warmer weather and sunlight to make up for the poor conditions so far.

We baled half of our first crop hay this past week. This operation is custom hired. Out of 30 acres of hay, we produced around 150 bales. We also cut the other half of the hay and will be baled early next week.

We have four hayracks to haul the large rectangular bales. Three of the racks can hold 16 bales each. The fourth rack can hold 19 bales. We can also haul three bales with the loader. This means that we can haul up to 70 bales to the hay shed at one time.

Since the corn crop is expected to be low yields, we purchased wheat and oats this past week. The wheat and oats were blended in with shell corn in a grain bin. The small grains will take place of corn, which will extend the corn supply. There will be very little organic corn available for sale next year.

Also this past week, Dad and I tried our new tine harrow on our soybeans. It works well with scratching small weeds out of the ground, but the soybeans were not quite large enough in size to be harrowed.

Dad's family had their yearly reunion on Friday night. Mom, Dad, his brothers and sisters and spouses had a great meal at the Hotel Winneshiek in Decorah. They enjoyed visiting with one another. It's hard for all of them to see each other, since three of the six live out of state. They make a point of getting together once a year.

I've been working on a new woodworking project. I'm making a wheelbarrow lawn cart for Mom so she can plant flowers in it.

After this week I'll be writing journal entries once a month. In between, other young Organic Valley farmers will share their stories. Thank you for reading my stories for the past four years. I hope all of you continue to read this column and get to know some of the other Organic Valley kids and their family farms. I know I'm anxious to hear and read from others. I'll write you a again the last week of July.

Farm Fact: Hay must be 20 percent moisture or less to be stored. If it is more than twenty percent, then the hay can spoil and create so much heat that it can start a fire.

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