Making 'Hay' from pasture grassesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
We don't own a farm tractor- just a 20hp lawn tractor with a sweeper. Since we don't have any animals on the pasture( approx 2 1/2 ac) the grasses were getting long, so I mowed it but wondered about using the grass for 'hay' bedding. I know that grasses,hay & such will/can overheat when stacked in a hay mound or enclosed barn. I don't want to set the barn on fire by trying to store the grass improperly. How would you suggest storing it? Would I need to put some sort of venting in to keep it from overheating? Any suggestions or has someone ever done this? Thanks, Kathy
-- Kathy Aldridge (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 02, 2002
Rake into windrows (long snakes of piled grass) across the pasture.
Turn every day for three days.
It will STILL heat up some when you put it in the barn.
YES.... VENTILATION IS VERY IMPORTANT
-- Rose (email@example.com), May 02, 2002.
Once it's VERY dry you can make a home baler thingy (simply a box with two strings coming out of it) to secure your hay. Just make sure it's VERY dry. I think the home bale thingy was covered in a CS issue or maybe even here. Excellent idea on using whatcha got... And yes, I've used dried lawn stuff before. The animals love it!
-- Gailann Schrader (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 02, 2002.
Kathy........we put our hay up by hand for several years with a sythe. I am concerned with doing it with grass "clippings" as you would have with the riding lawn tractor. I would suggest that you could spread the clippings out on a large tarp and be sure they are well dryed before putting in the barn. I would also think that if you mowed without the sweeper you could dry it quite well in the field and then sweep it up and dump it in the barn, being sure to spread out well and having ventilation while it completes the cure.
-- diane (email@example.com), May 02, 2002.
When we make hay we'll use a tedder and flick the hay out of windrows to expose as much surface area as possable to the wind. As it's cut now I'd think it should be fairly dry on top and green under? I've never tried this with a garden tractor, but I'd remow the clippings with the deck raised, just to lift and blow them around. Then let them dry again. I have used a 9 foot flail mower as a tedder though! If the weather's on your side sweep and then spread the clippings out as much as you can inside. Good ventilation at this point will make a world of difference. If this was feed you could salt it with some loose salt, as bedding or mulch I wouldn't want the salt. Once the stack is finished you might try pounding a steel electric fence post in as far as you can. Leave it 4-8 hours and then pull it out to check the inner temperature. If it's very hot you will have to get that grass out, or risk a fire. If it's very dry it shouldn't heat much.
-- Ross (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 02, 2002.
Hay in the barn catches on fire because it is bailed too green or wet. Let the grass dry thoroughly and put it anywhere you want. I have assked my brother-in-law to cut the grass, let it dry, then go back over with the bagger to collect it. Works great if you can do it. I usually just let it dry, rake it up, and bag in in garbage bags or whatever I have. I haven't tried the bailer box on clippings, but it should hold together pretty well. Good luck.
-- Robin Downing (Southpawrobin1@aol.com), May 02, 2002.
Thanks to everyone. I knew there must be a way but wasn't sure about the fire danger. I will try making the hay box as well as letting it good & dry. Even if it's overly dry the first couple of times it shouldn't be a problem since it's just going to be used for chicken bedding. Trial & error will teach me how dry is just right but at least now I know how it should be done. Thanks again Kathy
-- Kathy Aldridge (email@example.com), May 02, 2002.
I don't believe you will ever, ever, get 'too dry' with the hay. Worry about it too wet, not 'too dry'.
-- paul (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 02, 2002.