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Learning to make hay

Learn when to make hay and what you'll need

Radio interview source: Betsy Wieland, Extension educator, University of Minnesota

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to the radio story here

An art, not a science

We bale hay every summer and it's no romp in the flowers. Good hay is hard to produce and takes careful management. The key is knowing when to do it and getting your equipment and labor in place.

Ag Extention Educator Betsy Wieland at the University of Minnesota says growing it yourself can be an efficient use of the land and you'll often save money by not having to buy your hay.

"However, haymaking isn't easy. It's more of an art than a science, and it can take years to get it just right," Wieland says. "The timing of hay is critical. You know the old adage, 'Make hay while the sun is shining' is really true. So if you're working, you might have a hard time getting home to get the hay cut when it needs to be cut, to put it up well."

Haymaking has to coincide with the right stage of plant growth and weather conditions. The old timers used to talk about cutting hay around the Fourth of July, when they said , "it was stout and had some bottom to it." You need several days in a row of dry weather so the hay isn't soggy.

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