Friday, April 12, 2013

Baling Hay

Country Life Week continues with this picture of a young man Baling Hay. After being cut, hay is fed through a machine that turns it into Bales. The bales are compact and can be transported and stored easier than loose hay. Back when I was growing up, bales were square, about 3 ft by 1 ft by 1 ft. They were stacked and stored in the barn, and used as feed in the winter time. Now, the big round bales are much more popular. The round bales are about 5 ft high and five foot across, and weigh over a thousand pounds. I am not sure why the big round bales became so popular, as to me it would seem they would be much harder to store in a barn.


  1. Most of the time, at least in the south, round bales aren't stored inside. The rounded shape sheds water pretty well. That's one benefit. The other is labor cost. One man with a tractor can move an entire field of round bales in a fraction of the time. Round bales work pretty well for larger scale cattle operations. Not so well for small lots or horses.

  2. Before the invention of the baler and storing piles of hay in the barn loft, farmers used haystacks. The hay was cut and stacked in the field in large stacks that were carefully constructed to shed water (this is a dying art). Then the stacks were left in the field and because they shed water only the outer layer would rot and most the interior would be fresh and good for cattle and sheep.

    The large round bale is similar to the old haystacks in that they can be left out in the weather and because it is tightly packed and round it sheds water and stays mostly fresh in the rain. So you don't need to put them in the barn at all.

    Of course this doesn't work for modern sickly horses that can't handle a bit of mold. But that was not an issue 100 years ago when horse were bred for work instead of for show.

  3. I don't believe that the man is baling hay. What he is doing is feeding shocks of grain into a thresher, which will knock the grain off and return the straw stem to the ground. If you look at the shocks you will see twine that held the shocks together for feeding into the thresher and at the very bottom you will see the grain berries that are being harvested. Sometimes the straw is baled for storage and used as bedding not as fodder (which is what hay is).

    1. Good eye, spotting all those details.

    2. I believe you are right. If you look at the bundle on the pitchfork, you will see heads of ripe grain, which certainly does not appear not on hay.


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