Hay Making during unsettled weather


Occasionally we get a long spell of settled weather when we can make hay at full pace.  Our early hay making was like this, with about 1.5 acres in the barn by the end.

Right now we are in a patch of unsettled weather, a few dry days interspersed with showery or rainy days.

Using various techniques, such as hay racks and haycocks, we can continue getting some hay in.

Here is a typical day’s work in the field (17th July 2017), just at the end of a few days of good weather.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) has just begun flowering

7am Mowing

Phil and I went out to mow at about 7am and scythed for about an hour.
A similar amount of mowing was done by one or both of us the preceding four mornings.

10am Spreading the Hay

By 10am most of the overnight dew had dried off the ground and mown grass. I began by spreading the freshly mown windrows.

I then spread the mowings from the previous days. When the weather had been sunny, this hay had been spread in the morning then rowed up the evening. On dull days with a risk of showers it had been kept in rows as this presents a smaller surface area and protects it more from potential damage. Some of the driest hay had spent some time made into haycocks (small piles of hay) to provide even greater protection.

I worked my way through the progressively drier rows and finished up with the hay that was almost cured. This is the lightest and easiest to spread and should be ready to bring in by the evening. The spreading took about an hour in total.

Spreading the morning’s mowing
Spreading the driest hay

7pm – Bringing in the dry hay

Rowing up the dry hay, ready for carting
Dumpy sacks are an easy way to move loose hay
Hay work began again after supper. We began by gathering and bringing in the driest hay. The hay is first rowed up, then gathered with a pitch fork, then transported to the barn in dumpy sacks

Making the rest of the hay safe

As the weather forecast was set to deteriorate we knew that there wouldn’t be time for the remainder of the hay to dry on the ground. We built all but the morning’s mowing into two hay racks to hold them over the wet weather.The freshest cut hay was rowed up for the night. It will get one more day of drying the following day then be put up on racks as well.

Finishing the second hay rack
The mowing from the morning is put back in rows. Fresh hay rack, with older hay racks beyond

More information about hand hay making can be found here