Thursday, April 28, 2011

Crunch Time...

Yesterday was crunch time.

On Monday, Jim had mowed the rye  fields, and was trying to decide whether to bale the rye at high moisture, or chop it for in the silo...

The forecast was for rain yesterday, with the possibility of showers in the morning, and more rain in the afternoon.  The sky was already looking threatening, and Jim was determined to get the rye in without it getting wet.  After weighing the options, the decision was made to bale.

So...yesterday during morning milking, Jim headed out to rake the rye into windrows. Now we needed to wait for the round baler to arrive.  Many farmers do not own all of the equipment that is needed in the farming operation, but hire in custom work for some things, such as harvesting.  In this case, a local Amishman owns this round baler and wrapper.  He was busy yesterday!

This baler would normally be pulled by a team of six horses or mules, but since we are "English", we are permitted to pull it with a tractor, which Jim is driving.  The platform the Amishman is standing on holds the diesel engine, which powers the baler through a PTO shaft.  He rides on the platform, and when the bale is complete, he yells for Jim to stop, and pulls a lever which opens the back of the baler, and the bale rolls out...

(just pretend that picturesque tower isn't right behind the baler!)

Because the rye was baled at high moisture, after the baling was finished, each bale needed to be wrapped tightly in plastic to keep out any oxygen and to cure properly. 

I enjoy watching this process...the bales are scooped up and placed on the platform to be wrapped.  The bales spins and rotates until it is completely covered with plastic...

...and then it is lowered into it's resting place in the great "marshmallow" line...awaiting consumption by those hungry cows and heifers!

We are very thankful, that the rain held off until this particular job was finished.  The sun actually came out in the afternoon, and other than strong winds, we ended up with a beautiful day...the rain held off until this morning.   Now we will wait for about two weeks until the rye bales have cured, and will hopefully have some good forage for the cows and heifers to eat!

I'm linking up today with Farm Friend Friday and Farm Girl Friday


  1. Alica we have never wrapped our bales but I do most of our baling with the round baler. I love it driving in circles alone with your own thoughts. Great post. Thanks for the good photos very informative for those who do not know.B

  2. The farmers up here either don't wrap them and put them in the barn or they wrap a line of them in a big cocoon.

    Very interesting! :)

  3. What do you do with the plastic once you use the bale? I made a hoop house for my spinach and greens to get started in. It works just fine and it's recycled. Our neighbor chops his rye and I think they bank it.

    God Bless

  4. I've never seen them wrapped like that! How cool.

  5. Thank you for posting your photos of baling. I love to see stuff like that. And ya, they do look like giant marshmallows...that's funny! Glad the rain held out for you.

  6. I am really enjoying reading your blog. Tonight, I was looking for something to read before I signed off and I thought, "I'll read something from Happily Married to the Cows". It gives me a neat connection to life on the farm for someone who's never lived it (but would love to).


I enjoy hearing what you have to say! Thanks for your comments!