Baling Hay

Discussion in 'Jobs I Have Had' started by Ken Anderson, Oct 17, 2018.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    Hay1.jpg

    How many of you have baled hay in the summer? When I was twelve, my cousin and I took a job baling hay for someone who was related to me in some way, although I'm not sure just what the relationship was.

    First of all, hay season comes in the hottest part of the summer, it's itchy work, and the bales are heavy. He drove the tractor, which towed a baler, and then the wagon behind, very much like that which is pictured here, except that the bales were a lot tighter than the ones in the picture appear to be, and the wagon was a whole lot bigger. These lazy bastards have a light load, three of them to do it, and they're older than twelve.

    As the rectangular bale came out of the baler, one of us would catch the bale and pass it back to the other, who would stack it. That wasn't so hard until the stack got to be five or six levels up, or more.

    The guy doing the stacking would, at first, just have to pass the bale to the stacker, who would put it in place. As the stack got higher, he'd have to catch the bale and pass it up to the stacker, who would put it into place, just in time for the next one.

    The tractor didn't slow down when the pile got higher. We had to work harder because if no one was there to catch one bale before the next one came along, it would jam, and then we'd both get yelled at.

    That was two weeks of hard work because he baled a few 40s of hay. There was always a big dinner, but that was the only break we got from dawn to dusk, except for the ride to the barn once a load was full, unless something went wrong with the tractor or the baler.

    Then, when we were all done, he said thank you, and that was it. He didn't pay us. My. cousin eventually got paid because his dad interceded for him, but my dad just told me I should have worked the wages out before I agreed to do the job.
     
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  2. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    Well that was a hard lesson learned Ken. I'm sure you never took on another job in your life before negotiating the wages.

    Anyway, no I've never baled hay... but of course I watch it go on around me all the time here...
     
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  3. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Veteran Member
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    No, I never baled hay but I have picked corn, picked and topped onions, picked grapefruit and oranges, but no hay.
    The guy who I picked corn for (Mr. Rostenbach) paid me 200 Yankee Boy firecrackers and a good lunch and when I picked onions I got a whopping 50 cents but to a 5 year old, that was a lot of money at the time.
     
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  4. Beatrice Taylor

    Beatrice Taylor Very Well-Known Member
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    I helped or maybe just got in the way.

    It used to be hot in the top of the barn too when we took turns stacking the bales for storage!

    When I was a kid it seemed like barn fires due to spontaneous combustion of high moisture hay were common.

    I have not heard of many recent incidents, I wonder if they use some modern testing equipment to determine moisture content prior to storage.

    My grandmother eventually enrolled her farm in the federal soil bank and was paid by the government not to produce crops, only in America!!!

    The program required her to plant the farm in hay, mow it once a year and let it rot in the field.
     
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  5. Tim Burr

    Tim Burr Very Well-Known Member
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    I've never baled hay, but helped my friend replace the hydraulic pump
    and hoses on his baler.

    When I finished, I sat in his nice air conditioned truck and watched
    them complete the job. My work was done...

    This probably doesn't count, but I have driven a Combine in the field.
    It had GPS steering, so all I did was watch TV and monitor the machine.

    [​IMG]

    Does anyone see a pattern here? :rolleyes:
     
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  6. Hoot Crawford

    Hoot Crawford Well-Known Member
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    Summers of 1961 & 1962. Baled hay for "Kingfish" Swisher, a local 85 y/o farmer. Got paid sixty cents an hour (penny a minute!). Haven't done any honest labor since then.
     
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  7. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    I know that would happen with grain silos every now and then, and people would also be suffocated sometimes in silos. I hadn't heard of spontaneous combustion being a particular problem with hay barns but I can see that if the hay were to get wet, that could occur as it composted.

    My dad had a barn that included a hay mow, with an area large enough for the tractor in between two hay lofts. My uncle would cut whatever 40s my dad grew in hay each summer, filling both hay lofts and the area between the hay lofts up nearly to the ceiling, and then sell the rest of the hay that he cut. He wasn't the same guy I worked for, without pay, above. I helped him cut hay quite a few times but not as a job. His son, my cousin Jerry, was about my age, so another cousin and I would help get the hay in sometimes so that Jerry could get off early, if we had something planned. I didn't mind working for my uncle for nothing because he was easy to get along with, and usually wasn't in the field with us anyhow, as he trusted us to drive the tractor, so we could switch off on jobs. He'd give us a few dollars but we didn't consider it to be a job.

    In the winter, after my dad's supply of hay was depleted to the point where it didn't reach to the ceiling, we'd re-stack it to build tunnels and rooms in the hay when I was younger, and sometimes sleep in there in the winter. Dad had a bunch of horses, so he went through a lot of hay in the winter. Otherwise, they ate mostly pasture grass and drank from the river. We did have to walk about a quarter mile through the field every morning before school, in the winter, to break a hole in the ice for them, and that was a pain in the butt when it snowed during the night because we'd have to break a trail through the snow. We didn't have to shovel a path because the horses could break through the snow but they wouldn't usually do that until after we had broke the trail. There was a water trough but it was usually frozen solid all winter.
     
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  8. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Veteran Member
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    I have baled hay, tied the baling wire, stacked the bales in the top loft of the barn. The only thing I didn't do during the hay baling season is drive the tractor. I'm an old farm hand.

    From north of the rio grande, but my legs ain't bowed and my treeth ain't tan...
     
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  9. Harry Havens

    Harry Havens Very Well-Known Member
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    Haying was a summer ritual on the farm. I was a wee one when my brothers did the wire tie ride. Fortunately for me, or not... a twine tie baler came into the picture, about the same time as a corn picker, which coincided with my brothers leaving the farm. I noticed additional mechanical equipment once I left as well. Anything to do with tobacco, was my absolute least favorite job on the farm. As for pay, it was called food on the table, clothes on my back and a roof over my head.
     
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  10. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Veteran Member
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    Yup, those were some tough days alright. Walking to school uphill in 4 feet of snow with brother on my shoulders because he was only 3 feet tall and ................:)
     
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  11. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Veteran Member
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    That's what my dad always said when pay was mentioned for something. He said further, "you'll neveer pay for the salt that went into making your bread." Not sure what he meant there but assumed he thought I was worthless. Maybe I was, maybe Iwas in his eyes.
     
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  12. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Ive been on a hayride....does that count?
     
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  13. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    No. ;)
     
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  14. Beatrice Taylor

    Beatrice Taylor Very Well-Known Member
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    One other hay baling thought popped into my head!

    When I was a kid we had a three-legged feral barn cat. We assumed that he started out in life as a four-legged cat that got caught by the mowing machine one day when he was out hunting. It's amazing to me that the poor thing survived and thrived without any medical attention.
     
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  15. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Ken Anderson I wonder if you knew the guys on the wagon that well..........
    Frank
     
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  16. Tex Dennis

    Tex Dennis Well-Known Member
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    1000's of them squares and round mowed, raked, wind rowed, baled and stacked/hauled, they are now paying .50 bale to load squares, we have entire families in season working around here on hay. A big deal here. My trailer holds 300 squares or 14 big rounds. 2 tractors here a 50 and 100 hp 4x4.
    We don't see many wire tied bales anymore, all string on squares and netting on rounds a few wrapped.
    Horse squares are going for $7 and close to $100 for good rounds, speaking of coastal, cow rounds about $35 loaded. Plenty now for anyone who needs it dur to all our rain. We got 3 cuttings in some areas.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
  17. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Tex Dennis
    In Missouri, the round bales were said to weigh about 1000 lbs. The Ozarks area has poor ground, so what hay is grown is done so in small fields set amongst the "mountains", really, big hills. Limestone is so common, soil is in some places nearly non-existent.
    Frank
     
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  18. Tex Dennis

    Tex Dennis Well-Known Member
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    Frank I have had 1200# rounds the 6x4's the 5x4's are the popular ones here you can set your baler to that also you will bale more bales = $$$. We have had so much rain all we would need is a month of sunny days and some could cut again some, quite a lot of 3rd cutting last years still out there for cow hay still cheap.
    Just one bad cold spell with ice and snow will up hay usage 300% over night, I have all my winter feed all bought and stored by Sept every year. Or earlier. A load off my mind for sure.
    2010 drought there was no grass here, I was feeding winter hay in June/July so had to down size 75%, northern OK and eastern LA had lots of good cheap hay but the fuel cost to get it came into play big time. I did make several trips, we all did.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
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  19. Tex Dennis

    Tex Dennis Well-Known Member
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    One thing I have noticed is so many do not have a clue looking over a fresh cut pasture of bales just how much $$$ is laying there and what that tractor/baler cost to bale it and the cost to maintain it. My uncle used to have many true sayings that stuck with me and still do.
    Look at the fences, tractors, guns and their knife and you will learn so much about the person.
     
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  20. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    The hay bailers that I've worked with automatically compressed and secured the twine, which is probably why the bales were so tight.
     
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  21. Harry Havens

    Harry Havens Very Well-Known Member
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    Except for when they sheered a timing pin, the knotter refused to knot, the twine hung up and so on...:mad:

    This reminiscing has been helpful in reminding me of why I left the farm!!
     
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  22. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Tex Dennis
    Around here, with no frost and abundant water, the Mojave Indian Tribe has endeavored to raise an enormous amount within the boundaries of their reservation. They seem to have no problems with "PC", calling themselves an "Indian Tribe"!

    They raise alfalfa for the California dairy markets, probably a thousand acres or more, cut every 6 weeks or so, year-round. For a month or so in "winter", they bring down a couple thousand sheep, after putting up temporary fencing, and turn 'em loose! The babies are comical, frisking around, an occasional black one mixed in. I think they turn the ground then, and back to alf. again. Cotton is also raised south of where we live, and there are several private farms raising produce. This surrounded all around by Desert receiving 5-inches of rainfall a YEAR! Frank
    • [​IMG]
     
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