Local says it’s the height of hay farming season

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A local hay farmer said it's the height of hay farming. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

A local hay farmer said it’s the height of hay farming. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Hay farmers are busy this time of year.

Karl Brown, who lives 17 miles south of Andalusia and eight miles above the Florida line, said right now is the height of hay farming season, which lasts from May until October.

Brown said hay grows during the warm season, which starts in May.

“Usually, warm season grass starts in May,” he said. “Cool season grasses are planted in the fall.”

Brown said farmers will typically bail hay up to five times a season depending on the weather.

“You need it to be hot and wet, and then you need it fair and dry when you’re trying to cure it,” he said. “You have to dry it out before you bail it. It takes three days to cure it down to 15 percent moisture. Sometimes you can bail it quicker. It depends on the humidity.”

Bailing hay is a process, he said.

Brown said a machine cuts or mows the hay, and then a hay tedder fluffs the hay and spreads it out.

“Then, after that, you let it dry down and you’ll rake it up into windrows, and bail it,” he said.

A windrow is a row of hay rolled up to dry before being bailed or stored. Windrows are formed by a hay rake, which rakes hay that has been cut.

Once the hay is fluffed in rows, the bailer scoops it up and forms it in a big round bail.

Brown said the hay is bailed for livestock, horses and cattle, and is also gathered for the winter months, when the season is over.