A Cowboy’s Faith: Modern hay methods leisurelier

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Life’s easier in maturity.”

Of course, many disagree emphatically, and there are plenty of downsides certainly.

However, when it comes to hay season, there’s sure lots less labor required than half century plus ago.

Well, first off, a younger generation is in charge of the task. If the hay doesn’t get put up, it’s their fault – definitely not getting in the way.

Never had the ability to do much except lug the square bales, and tried the best to get out of that whenever could. Haven’t lifted a single bale this year, and won’t because the small square baling is completed.

As with majority of today’s producers, bulk of the hay goes into big round bales. It’s much easier and more convenient all the way around.

Still reflect having no baler, mowing with a seven-foot sickle mower, and operating a dump rake. After grass dried, manpowered-pitchforks went to work piling hay onto the pickup.

To the shed, it was pitched off and into stacks. Never was but only a few acres, yet enough to know the hard work required in large haying operations.

Work slackened when a small square twine baler was acquired. However, for years there was no hay wagon, let alone an accumulator and frontend tractor loader for stacking.

Bales were dropped on the ground while pickup followed behind and each bale loaded manually onto it. Many times that was one man driving, stopping, loading and going to the next bale.

About 36, or the most 40, on a load that had to be stacked into the hot hay mow. Just the thought makes sweat run.

When big round balers were introduced in the late ’70s, a cowgirl friend got one to do custom baling. First on her list, a battery-powered big bale attachment was purchased for the pickup. Workload decreased markedly.

After hiring a custom baler many years, it seemed a ranch baler was needed, so one was purchased. What a dumb thing to do, because it required a big tractor for power, and there wasn’t one. The implement sat idle, before being loaned to a farmer friend for life of the machine.

Still today, custom operator is hired to bale the big rounds.

Reminded of Exodus 18:22: “It will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.


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