Landing a haymaker 

Jennifer Theurer

In boxing terms, a haymaker is a forceful blow. Hay season in agriculture can sometimes be described the same way. It takes time to learn the finer points of growing and baling hay to produce quality livestock feed that translates into more pounds of protein.  

Those finer points can often mean getting up in the middle of the night to start baling before the dew sets on. They can also mean missing family events because there’s rain in the forecast and the hay needs to be cut or baled before that happens. When you factor in pests, bloom stage and equipment breakdowns, hay season can leave a producer feeling like he or she has gone 10 rounds with a heavyweight champion. 

All of those rounds have to take place before a bale, be it square or round, is fed. In this week’s cover story, Field Editor Kylene Scott talks about choosing the size and shape of hay that an operation can handle. High Plains Journal urges producers to always handle hay, feed and any grain safely. 

In some areas, producers don’t unroll their round bales with their bale bed but rather let them roll down a hill until they unroll themselves. This is all fun and games until the round bale is bouncing across the interstate highway. I’ve heard a firsthand account of such happening as friends of mine traveled through the southeastern part of the United States.  

In the winter when contending with ice and snow, frozen net wrap and the laws of physics can produce unintended, Olympic-style tumbling. There’s no need for particulars but that was the one time I was thankful for frozen cow patties.  

An electric fence coated in ice still has a bite if your boots are rubber and your cotton roping gloves are wet from taking frozen net wrap off. There was a lengthy discussion in the pickup about this before I had to push the wire down so my dad could drive over it. I could hear him laughing even with the windows rolled up.  

One winter, as the snow and ice had melted, my dad may have told me that I was riding home on the back of the pickup if I fell in the mud while we were putting round bales in feeders. My sense of self-preservation kicked in as I noted temperatures in the mid-30s and I stayed up at the gate for the sloppiest pen. My mom said she would have never gotten away with that.  

So as you hay makers are going round and round in the hay field think back on all of the fun times to be had while feeding the hay later on. Also share this week’s Homemade in the High Plains recipe for Cheeseburger Sliders. It is also from Scott and it can be ready to eat in less than 30 minutes. Unlike the hay that is still drying in the field. 

Jennifer Theurer can be reached at 620-227-1858 or [email protected]