Cutting our hay crop for a second time (second cut) is always difficult. It is generally near the end of August beginning of September and the weather is never really stable. This year we were able to get most of our second cut of hay off during the second week of August, which is another record for us at Pine Ranch. This is because we were able to get our first cut of hay off way earlier than usual due to our new rotary mower and the weather. (See my blog post from July 2014 titled In Record Time) This is really beneficial because you are not battling the weather in September and because it is cut that much earlier there is a longer period for the grass to regrow and therefore giving the cows more grass to graze when they come home. Therefore, ideally extending their grazing period (depending on the weather) and hopefully allowing us to start feeding them hay later.
We finished most of second cut early, but then it started to rain, so the weather held us up from finishing everything early. My husband and I just finished our last 50 acres this past weekend. I headed down to the field at about 11 with the rake and my fingers crossed it wouldn’t rain. This time of year us ranchers and farmers are constantly checking the weather updates, on Saturday morning both weather apps on my phone were telling me completely different forecasts. One clear and sunny and the other had a forty percent chance of thundershowers. We looked at the sky and debated for a long time, but in the end we went with the more optimistic forecast. As I was raking I kept watching the sky and about every hour a big black storm cloud would make an appearance, but it was very windy and the wind seemed to blow it east, so the rain kept missing us, thankfully. Once I was done raking Cyle, my husband, came down to the field and we decided the hay was dry enough to rake the other way and put 2 windrows into 1. Usually we leave it for longer, but we surmised because it was so windy it sucked the moisture right out and dried faster. Then we looked at the sky and decided if I was going to rake the other way he was going to come down and bale it. We had set out that morning with plans of only raking the one way and then going to our local rodeo that evening. However, we figured that our luck was running out with those big black clouds so we kept going and got all the hay baled before it rained. It never did end up raining that night, but we are sure if we left it and went to the rodeo it would have rained!
For a better explanation about raking read my blog post from July 2013 titled Bug Bites and Dirt Tans: The Haying Series Part II: Raking