A Cowboy’s Faith:Grass makes livestock hay – Osage County Online | Osage County News

A Cowboy’s Faith:Grass makes livestock hay

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“The brome grass is all wrapped up in bales.”

Well, that’s not completely accurate, but the 65 acres of brome grass around the ranch homestead has been baled. There’s a lot more brome grass to go into bales at other ranch locations and cooperating with neighbors in haying.

“How did your brome hay make?” is a common question wherever one goes. Answer isn’t too easy to give.

Certainly, “Better hay crop than it could have been.” Or “A lot more hay than before it finally started raining.”

Still, “Not nearly enough hay especially for all of the investment in fertilizer.”

That doesn’t include the other sharply increased input costs for the brome crop. As everybody knows, this time uptown consumers aware as well, fuel expense is at the highest level ever.

What can anybody do about all that? It’s either pay the bill or let all the work and other expenses go down the drain. “A rock and a hard spot,” somebody accurately said.

Another thing, if a rancher has livestock, it must be fed. However high the expense baling hay on the ranch, with few exceptions, is less costly than buying feed.

Complain all that’s absolutely necessary, but still count the blessings for what there is. If it hadn’t started raining and many receiving moisture in amounts that came in time, there wouldn’t be what hay there is. There would still be the high bill to pay for all of the fertilizer.

While belly aching that really isn’t doing any good whatsoever, it is interesting to recall how much easier haying is than it used to be.

No experience haying before machines? Just think if it had to be done with horses and pitchfork manpower!

Even after tractors came on the scene, haying was still a major ordeal. For decades, grass was cut with a seven-foot sickle, then had to be raked into windrows. A baler dropped bales on the ground for hand pick up and barn storage.

Accumulators and front-end tractor loaders made small bale handling and storage much easier. Then thankfully came big round balers which modern generations cannot imagine not having.

Always work, harvesting hay for livestock feed is definitely better than not having any grass to bale.

Reminded of Psalm 104:17: “Grass grows to make hay for the livestock feed.”

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

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