Intern Jedidiah Hewlett learned the hard way how much goes into cutting and bailing hay this past week at the Perry Cattle Company. A few parts and operator errors later, he got the hang of things, and was able to finish off the week horseback with some cattle herding.
This week we started haying. I cleaned the swather off from being in storage and got it running. However, after about 5 minutes, a pulley seized and the belt started smoking! The sealed bearing in the center was worn out. We were able to get a new pulley from the equipment dealer even though the swather is an older model. After repairing the pulley and servicing the whole machine, we took off to the field. Mr. Perry taught me how to run the swather since I had never ran a hydro-swing one before. Although they are very handy for cutting around obstacles, it is a little tricky to run one! I accidentally cut off an irrigation riser which, I was told, officially initiated me on to the Perry haying team because everyone has done it. That made me feel a little better, but I was still disappointed in myself. Anyway, we got one meadow completely cut and baled this week. Having never been around alfalfa, that was a new experience. The alfalfa needs to have a little moisture on it to bale because otherwise the leaves are too dry and turn into dust, losing a lot of the hay’s nutrition value later. I ran around the field with the bobcat and set the bales in rows of 11 so that it would be quicker to load on a trailer. From my experience, it seems like a hayhiker would be a more efficient way to pick up all those bales, but it is another piece of machinery to add to the bill.
This week I also got to do a little cowboy work on horseback. We gathered the lease pasture which was very extensive and had gorgeous landscape. We took the cows back down the highway about 2 miles to another pasture. I also had to bring in a couple of bulls and doctor them for foot injuries. Thankfully, everything went smoothly.