Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The shape of things to come?

Vis-à-vis the farm part of Farmdoc, a recurring theme in this blog is hay. In the nine years my sharefarmer Sharon and I’ve been jointly farming our adjoining properties, we’ve used square hay bales [1]. (They’re actually rectangular but called square.) This is because they’re smaller and lighter than round bales – the hay in a round bale’s roughly the same as in 15 square bales – so we can handle them manually. (Lifting round bales needs machinery – which Joel Salatin derides as ‘heavy metal’ [2] – which we don’t have and don’t want.) As neither Sharon nor I is getting younger (and stronger), we’re seeking ways to make our farming easier. So we decided we’d experiment this year. Last Saturday we bought a round bale (pictured) (for A$50) which we rolled off Sharon’s ute into one of our paddocks where we have 36 sheep and 29 goats. Instead of feeding square bale hay to them daily, the round bale’s now available to them, buffet-like, 24/7. How quickly they’ll eat it, and whether it’ll be degraded by the weather or them climbing and then excreting on it, remains to be seen. But if you don’t ask the question you won’t know the answer. This aspect of farming’s fun. It intrigues me. Stay tuned.

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