Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Hay, Hay, Hay - Goodbye!

Have any of you been watching Lego Masters on Fox-TV this winter? Randy was more a Lincoln Log kind of guy in his youth, and we had some Tinkertoys at the Moore house. But our granddaughters love Lego Friends, so we've been enjoying the Wednesday night TV series.

Randy does his own form of building and stacking when he loads hay to sell. But the hay bales don't have those handy connective pieces. 
 
During a couple of years of drought, we barely raised enough alfalfa hay and sudan to feed our own cattle herd. Because of a lack of silage we harvested last fall, we sold feeder calves earlier than normal this year. So we had some extra hay we could sell.

Randy negotiated a price with Sebes Hay near Larned. Last December, the hay company picked up the first six loads. At the time, we were busy with other tasks, so Randy helped load the trucks, but he didn't haul it.
Since the beginning of the year, Randy loaded five loads of alfalfa on our own hay trailer and semi and hauled it to Larned. The price this year is "middle of the road," according to Randy. Last year, the price was almost double because of both drought and flooding - too much and too little of a good thing.
 
Photo from from the County Line archives. It was taken from the combine for a bird's-eye view!
After the alfalfa is baled in the summer, we stack it in rows near the road.
 
When we're ready to load the truck, Randy goes to those stacks and removes the bales one or two at a time. Then he places them two-across on the flat-bed trailer.
 
It's kind of like building with Lego. You just keep adding "pieces" to the "design."
 After the bottom rows were in place, he added another layer, positioning the upper deck in the "groove" between two bales.
Randy straps down the bales so they stay in place. It's a good thing he's not afraid of heights!
 
He attempted to use the wind to his advantage, so it could help boost his throw. (It's probably good I don't have a video of this part!)
This series was taken when he was tying down the back bales before adding the top layer.
During the trip, these metal braces also help support the bales on the trailer. 
Randy added Wide Load signs to the front and back of the truck, along with flags on the front and back bales.
Once at Larned, he weighed the truck and then took it to the unloading area. Most of the time, a Sebes Hay employee off-loaded the hay. Then, he weighed the empty truck before returning home. (It didn't work into my schedule to go with him this year. Here's a link to a blog post from a trip to a Dodge City feedyard from 2015 that shows that process.)

Each truck averaged 25 tons, with bales weighing at at an average of 1,500 pounds apiece. Sometimes, we sell even closer to home. A neighbor who usually buys didn't need any this year. So we had a little more to sell.

Now that the hauling job is done, it's on to another project. And, hopefully, we'll again be stockpiling hay during the summer. 

4 comments:

  1. work in the field is hard but it gives us a crop to eat good luck on farm.

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    1. Thank you for taking time to comment, Agnes!

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  2. Another great read and photos. Such a contrast to the small fields of hay in England that I posted last year. I love the images that make Randy and his hay truck so small in comparison to the flat, vast landscape.

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    1. Yes, in our part of Kansas, we have a lot of wide-open spaces and views to the horizon. Other parts of the state are more hilly.

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