One of our hay fields is due to be rotated this year. It has been producing alfalfa-grass mix hay since 1998. Thirteen years of production is fairly substantial, especially considering that it was seriously damaged in flood of ’96.
It finally reached a point this year where the production fell below five ton per acre and it is inundated with undesirables; weeds that we are unable to spray to eliminate without also killing the alfalfa, the fescue or the orchard grass. Read more…
For those wondering about what it is like to put up hay on our ranch, I have tried to put together some short videos to give a sense of what takes place.
Swathing / Cutting
We wait until the dew has burned off the hay before cutting. It is important that the water has been turned off and that the ground moisture has dropped to a point so moisture does not transfer from the ground to the hay, preventing proper drying.
We rake in the early morning, while there is still dew on the windrow with alfalfa, so the leaves stay on the stem and the stems do not break. Grass hay is raked in the afternoon, with out dew, so it does not get trapped and cause mildew.
We bale grass and grass-alfalfa hay in the early evening and early afternoon, so it is soft, but not damp. Dew is not our friend when baling grass as it will cause the hay to mildew and mold. With alfalfa, it makes the best hay when baled in the morning as the dew is coming off, but we also bale in the late night/early morning as the dew is coming on when our windows for morning baling are short. We want the dew with the alfalfa, so we do not lose leaves off the stem and the stems do not shatter.
Arguments against Roundup Ready alfalfa are flying around the internet like “flies on stink.” Ironically, that is pretty much what the arguments against GMO alfalfa are…”stink.”
We have been growing alfalfa for more than 30 years on our ranch, for personal use and for sale, averaging roughly 6.5 tons per acre on 130 acres. I am very familiar with the attributes of alfalfa, its growing patterns, nutritive needs, life span and harvesting.
For some of those throwing out arguments against GMO alfalfa, it is very apparent that they have no understanding of the production of the forage. Here are two major points about alfalfa that need to be understood. Read more…