The never ending job of hauling bales. It can seem like someone is hauling bales all summer. From when baling first starts the end of June until well into September. First it is hay bales, first cut, second cut; then greenfeed bales; then after harvest straw bales.
What’s it used for?
First cut hay bales tend to be lower quality and maybe used for cows. Second cut tends to be the highest quality and will be used for the calves. We usually grind second cut hay and mix it with the greenfeed bales for the calves. However, this year we silaged the barley that is usually greenfeed. So it will be silage mixed with chopped hay in the ration this winter.
While in a mild winter, the cows can graze stockpiled forage (see Year Round Grazing), we can never count on having a mild winter. Cows can handle a lower quality hay supplemented with a pellet or grain in most years.
The straw bales are used for bedding in both the background lot for the calves on cold days and for the cows as weather dictates. We only bale as much straw as expected to be needed each year. As it does not keep over multiple winters very well.
Depending on what the hay will be used for determines where it will be hauled. Calf feed comes to the yard, while anything used for the cows will go to a number of different wintering grounds.
We use a tandem truck (which holds 11 bales) for short hauls and when available the semi (which holds 29 to 38 depending on if we double layer and use tie downs for each row) for longer hauls.
We typically bale berween 3,000 & 5,000 bales depending on our hay production and we haul these bales from 1/2 a mile to 15 miles depending on how far the field we baled them is from where we are stacking them to use in the winter.
Technology has brought us a long way! This is how we hauled hay in the 1940s.