A Cowboy’s Faith: Better to rain than no hay

“The hay’s getting wet.”buchmanhead

As upsetting as that remark might be when a shower comes on freshly mowed grass, it’s still better than what we were thinking a few weeks ago.

Before the moisture started coming in most locales, serious concern was if there would be any grass, let alone hay to bale.

However, things have changed considerably with frequent reports of record tame grass hay yields.

Weather forecasts are listened to almost minute-to-minute from every weatherman in the Midwest to plan hay cutting, “so it won’t get wet.” Nobody except the One above really knows and controls when it’s going to rain.

Certainly, it’s better to have grass for hay to “get wet,” before baling, than have none to mow.

Again, bugs in alfalfa have been costly reported menaces, but there is hay, and  prospects of several cuttings this year.

Looks to be a couple weeks before native grass will be tall enough for any sizeable production, but already there are those baling Bluestem, looking for higher quality, rather than number of bales.

Interesting, we’ve watched baling of fescue grass that raised considerable controversy a couple decades ago when it was seeded into Flint Hills pastures. Our knowledge of that grass is limited, but, despite what we hear are technical management issues, it seems to work well for off-season grazing.

Yet, major downpours stopped that fescue hay harvest, and after the windrowed pasture was baled, equipment was moved, and majority of what some have defined as “rank” grass continues growing.

Unless one has calculated pasture for year around grazing, which is possible in certain areas, with cooperative weather, most of us need additional hay to keep livestock for 12 months.

Even with what hay is put up on the ranch, it is necessary to acquire feed from other sources.

Earlier last week, we were remembering as a teenager harvesting every little patch of grass around town for hay. Roadside ditches were even mowed, raked and baled for hay. Larger landowners generously allowed us to come in and put up hay on shares.

Reminds us of Psalm 104:14: “You make grass grow for the livestock, hay for the animals.” Then, Proverbs10:15: “Make hay while the sun shines. That’s smart.” However, Proverbs 27:25: “When the hay is gone, the tender grass shows itself.”

Frank_BuchmanFrank 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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