Hay Days | TSLN.com

Hay Days

Jeri L. Dobrowski

No matter which direction you travel in our neighborhood these days, you’ll find haying equipment running full tilt. Following on the heels of last year’s dismal crop – fed down to the last leaf during a Plains winter that would not go quietly – producers are reveling in record-setting yields. Alfalfa, tame grass, barley, oats… balers are churning out compressed bundles that polka-dot the landscape from creek to ridge; borrow pit to backyard.

Hay was nonexistent in Hollywood’s romanticized West. A movie cowboy spent his day in the saddle fighting the bad guy. No thought was given to what his horse or the cattle might eat. All was well as long as the hero was horseback and could ride off into the sunset in the end. In reality, all available hands are put to work during haying season. It’s serious business. How much hay you are able to put up for the winter – to supplement pastures and crop residue – determines how many animals you can “carry” or feed. Farmers and ranchers are joined in the endeavor by wives, sons, daughters, hired hands, nephews, city cousins, former classmates, retirees, banker friends…

No matter which direction you travel in our neighborhood these days, you’ll find haying equipment running full tilt. Following on the heels of last year’s dismal crop – fed down to the last leaf during a Plains winter that would not go quietly – producers are reveling in record-setting yields. Alfalfa, tame grass, barley, oats… balers are churning out compressed bundles that polka-dot the landscape from creek to ridge; borrow pit to backyard.

Hay was nonexistent in Hollywood’s romanticized West. A movie cowboy spent his day in the saddle fighting the bad guy. No thought was given to what his horse or the cattle might eat. All was well as long as the hero was horseback and could ride off into the sunset in the end. In reality, all available hands are put to work during haying season. It’s serious business. How much hay you are able to put up for the winter – to supplement pastures and crop residue – determines how many animals you can “carry” or feed. Farmers and ranchers are joined in the endeavor by wives, sons, daughters, hired hands, nephews, city cousins, former classmates, retirees, banker friends…

No matter which direction you travel in our neighborhood these days, you’ll find haying equipment running full tilt. Following on the heels of last year’s dismal crop – fed down to the last leaf during a Plains winter that would not go quietly – producers are reveling in record-setting yields. Alfalfa, tame grass, barley, oats… balers are churning out compressed bundles that polka-dot the landscape from creek to ridge; borrow pit to backyard.

Hay was nonexistent in Hollywood’s romanticized West. A movie cowboy spent his day in the saddle fighting the bad guy. No thought was given to what his horse or the cattle might eat. All was well as long as the hero was horseback and could ride off into the sunset in the end. In reality, all available hands are put to work during haying season. It’s serious business. How much hay you are able to put up for the winter – to supplement pastures and crop residue – determines how many animals you can “carry” or feed. Farmers and ranchers are joined in the endeavor by wives, sons, daughters, hired hands, nephews, city cousins, former classmates, retirees, banker friends…