Monday, August 31, 2015

The Back Field Fence and Hay Project





So far this Summer the fences I planned to get finished got severely stalled and now that it finally dried up enough to get started again I have had to work on emergency fencing not the stuff I had planned.

As you know the sheep finally figured out that if they suppressed their natural fear instinct and traveled to the very back of the hay field they could escape into the neighbors yard. So I been back there the last three days getting everything ready to put in the new section of fence.

I rolled up about 700 feet of smooth wire. I pulled up 30 some odd T-posts and laid a good strand of barbed wire to the side and today I brush hogged the field edge getting ready to put post holes in tomorrow.

Now I have to wait on the friggin government because there is a cable next to the gravel road that borders our property and of course right where I need to put in a corner post.

Since I had the brush hog out anyway and I am planning on mowing the Alfalfa field as soon as I get the post holes drilled with the diesel I decided to brush hog about a quarter portion of the hay field to see how much hay brush hogging rather than sickle mowing will yield up.




The problem is this hay field has not been taken care of the last few years. I had been giving all the hay off of it to my mother for her horses and the sheep and she had been letting her Ex cut it and bale it. Then last year he just decided it wasn't his so why bother without mentioning anything to me about it. The end result was it got roughly two years worth of weeds and trash growing in it and now my sickle mower won't really cut it well.




So I am going to try brush hogging it and then raking and baling that. I know the yield will be way down but anything is better than nothing I guess and frankly the field needs to be brush hogged a few times to get the trash weeds out of it. It probably needs to be disc'd and re-sown with some good grass too but I don't have the implements for that project yet.

I decided to do this brush hog hay experiment in sections too since so much Goldenrod has grown up out there and is almost ready to bloom. That way I can at least give the girls a huge Goldenrod crop to forage before I cut it down.

The sheep like weedy hay anyway.

Walking the section over after I mowed it made me raise my eyebrows a bit. There is a lot of nice hay cut there. It will be interesting to see what is left after I rake it up and how it comes back next year. A lot of stemmy weeds in there too though but the brush hog seems to do a better job chopping that stuff up than the sickle mower of course.

Sometimes it seems it's just three steps forward, two steps back around here though.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!




10 comments:

  1. Sheep eat golden rod, my goats wouldn't eat that stuff! You are lucky. My fields are so overgrown that you could lose a herd of sheep in there, I have no working tractor or implements if I did have one working. There was a day when I kept it cut with a scythe. Sheep must be a good thing, they seem to be expensive when I see them for sale here.

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    1. Sf - The sheep will eat Goldenrod mixed into hay. They prefer the weedy hay over straight grass but I imagine it's because they are Forb browsers and prefer the wide leaf weeds more than anything else.

      I think Sheep are better overall than Goats but I am biased of course. I have seen some commenters get mouth foaming mad when I try and make that claim in a post :) Generally speaking though sheep seem easier to keep fenced in, easier to herd when you get up to 30, 40 or 50+ animals, and easier to feed as sheep will eat anything and be happy about it. My opinion is Lamb being the best tasting meat out there too but that's just my personal taste I guess. The downside is the shearing thing and that is an understandable deal breaker for many. It's almost impossible to find a shearer in many places.

      Sheep generally bring less market price than Goats around here though. Individually I rarely if ever sell a sheep or lamb for anything other than butchering though as Sheep don't have the popular every body needs a few allure that Goats do.

      Goats are more personable too which I think adds to their popularity. It takes your average sheep a much longer period of time to take on a personality and be friendly than a Goat.

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    2. Oh and the Goldenrod is for the Bee Girls not the sheep. The annual Goldenrod flow is one of the (if not THE) most important honey flows of the season here. The girls will literally be working themselves to death over the next month or so bringing in all the Goldenrod nectar. The hives will smell like dirty old socks when ya get near them but the honey taste good.

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  2. We could use some goldenrod around here! It's getting pretty dry for the girls and the yellow jackets are thick.

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    1. MV - It's been drying up here nicely but I am betting the goldenrod flow is going to be one for the record books this year.

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  3. I do like goldenrod, thanks for the reminder we havent go any here so will have to do something about that :-)

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    1. DH - The Goldenrod flow here is probably the most important seasonal flow of the year. It grows everywhere there is a piece of dirt not mowed all Summer.

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  4. Sounds like it will work out anyway, as the critters will at lest have food to eat. I too am behind it my plans. Last weekend I wanted to due A, B, & C But got side tracked. If i'm not careful I will be up to my assets in snow.

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    1. Rob - Ya I wish it was just sidetracked though. This back fence was an emergency must be done thing so I can let the sheep and horses back out there soon.

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  5. Bush hogging is an acceptable method of cutting hay, it doesn't work very well on delicate forage like alfalfa or clover but is fine for grass. Some mowers have a panel you can remove so the forage basically some straight out the back/rightside rather than directed across the width of the cut. Slow down the rpm's a bit too.

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