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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Farming can suck sometimes.

If you read one of my early posts you would have learned about my adventure in getting my hay field planted.  We put in alfalfa, orchard grass and oats.  The field was planted late, going in on 6/3/11.  We promptly got scads of rain that created ruts and washed a small portion of my field down a slope, leaving a sparsely seeded area on the high side and densely seed area on the downside.  Those torrential rains were followed by...nothing but a few light sprinkles over the next ninety days.  Now, granted, it wasn't nearly as bad as TX has been this year with their draught, but I watched at least three storms barreling towards our farm veer to the north or south and completely miss us. 

I watched the field over the last three months go from a stand of oats with strong potential to a weed laden field full of oats smothered out by fox tail and other unwanted growth. 

I asked a friend a couple of weeks ago if they would be willing to bale the field into small squares for me.  They came to look at it and felt it was to weedy to make use of as small bales.   They suggested I put it into large rounds.  I contacted Steve Ory (remember Steve from my AI post earlier?) and he put me in touch with his nephew Dan Ory.  Dan took at look at it and said they weren't interested in baling it on shares (they keep 1/2 and I keep 1/2) but they would do it on a custom basis, which means I'd have to pay them in cash to bale it.  They suggested a few names I could call about doing the hay on shares.  Since there's so much weed seed in it the hay would best be used by someone with a feedlot. Nobody wants to put that much weed seed on their pastures.  I made three calls.  Two never called back and the third didn't have a use for the hay either.  I'm out of names and I need to get the hay cut to expose the alfalfa and orchard grass below so that they can grow a bit before the first frost which is coming soon most likely.  That pretty much means I'll need to pay to have it baled and hope I can sell it all, and quickly.

My venture began with the hopes that I could raise a nice stand of oat hay that I could feed to my livestock. If harvested early enough we might then even have a second cut of nice alfalfa/grass hay that I could sell with the proceeds used to pay off the ag loan we took earlier in the year to pay for all of the field work.  Due to my ignorance I managed to let the fox tail go to seed and the oats get over mature which has reduced the value of my hay by probably 50%.    That's going to be an expensive education. 

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