The last and final process in making good winter feed is to get it off the field and into a stack yard to help protect it as much as possible from the weather. After the baler has baled all the swathes and the bales are sitting out in the field we now need to remove them from the field and put them in the stack yard. This is important because we now need to get water back on the field as soon as possible because we want the grass mix (timothy, orchard grass and brome grass), alfalfa and oat crops to start re-growing as quickly as possible. This is important because in order for us to have enough feed to feed our animals during the winter months when snow covers the ground and they cannot forage, we need to take 2 cuts from our fields. So we try to get this whole process: swathing, raking, baling, stacking done as quickly as possible.
Last year we started using chicken manure as fertilizer and we have since doubled our hay production. On this field, the above picture,last year we got 60 bales first crop and this year after fertilizing with chicken manure we took off 114. That is pretty exciting for us because if we can produce all the hay we need that means we do not have to buy any and with the price of transportation that saves us a lot of money! The chicken manure works out so well because we are only about 2.5 away from Abbotsford and Chilliwack where there is a lot of poultry production and poultry producers need to get rid of the manure, so we only have to pay for the trucking to get it here, which works out for both parties, the beef producer and the poultry producer.