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Main site home page.

Intro to Country Living
Some of my experiences living in the country.

Fix And Repair More

Hay Farming
Hay farming process.

Step 1- Tilling
Working the soil.

Step 2 - Planting
Planting the seed.

Step 3 - Irrigation
Watering the crop.

Step 4 - Weed Control
Dealing with weeds.

Step 5 - Fertilizing
Fertilizing the soil.

Step 6 - Cutting
Cutting the hay.

Step 7 - Baling
Baling up the hay.

Step 8 - Stacking
Stacking the hay bales.

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What's Involved in Farming

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to farm, I'll share a little of my own experiences.  I did not grow up farming.  I do not have a farming background.  Typically, a "real" farmer is one that grew up in this kind of lifestyle, and it's often passed down from generation to generation.  Of course, there are exceptions to this general rule, with me (the Fake Farmer) being one such exception.

Hay Farming 

Freshly Cut Alfalfa Hay Drying in the Field

As I confessed on an earlier page, when I used to drive through farm areas and I'd see the fields, I'd think what an easy life farmers had.  Plant some seed, sit around doing nothing for a while, then when the crop is ready, just harvest and sell.  Easy money.  NOT QUITE!  Ignorance is bliss.  One of the things I've learned in life is that it's easy for a person to assume and think things are a lot simpler than they really are if they do not have any personal experience in that area.  It's always easy to be an expert when it's all just based on assumptions.  It can be a very different story once you actually get involved in the process from A-Z!  Let's take a look at a little bit of that A-Z farming process.  Below you will find an overview of some of the basic steps to farming.  Since my experience is limited to hay farming, these steps and pictures will be specifically geared toward a hay crop.  There are different crops, different farm equipment needed, and some different specific details, but there are also many similarities in farming processes. 

If you are interested in more details of each step, then click on the photos or hyperlinks to go to pages that shows some more detailed photos and information on each step of the process.

 TILLING - After deciding on the type of crop (alfalfa and grass hay, in my case), the soil needs to be prepared.  Tilling is the part of the process where the ground is worked with tillage equipment (typically plow or disc) in preparation for planting. 

     PLANTING - After tilling, this is the part of the farming process where the seed is placed in the soil.  In some crops, it might not actually be seed.  For example, sometimes root stock is planted as in the case of crops like mint.  Also, flowers can be planted as bulbs or tubers.  However, seed is typically what is planted. 

        IRRIGATION - Once the seed is in the soil, it is necessary to ensure that the soil has sufficient moisture to stimulate the seed to begin to germinate and grow.  Some regions have enough rainfall to suffice, but there are many places that require supplemental irrigation to ensure adequate moisture in the soil.

     WEED CONTROL - This is one part of farming that can be an ongoing battle.  Just as the crop is trying to grow and get established, the weeds are doing the same.  Thankfully, there are ways to deal with these troublesome weeds.

       FERTILIZING - This is something that is done to help make up deficiencies in the soil.  It is possible to farm without fertilizing if the soil is fertile enough, but oftentimes it is advisable to replenish nutrients in the soil to ensure maximum yields.

    CUTTING - Also known as swathing, this is the first part of the harvesting process for hay farming.  A swather is used to cut the crop and lay it in the field to dry.  In essence, the swather is like a big mower that is specially designed to carefully cut and handle the hay crop to minimize damage.

  BALING - After sufficient drying time, the cut hay is ready to bale.  The exact amount of time needed for drying depends on the type of crop, field conditions, and weather.  The baler picks up loose windrows of hay and forms it into a bale. 

    STACKING - After the hay is baled, the bales need to be removed from the field so that it can be sold.  Typically, the bales are stacked in barns, sheds, or outdoors where they can be tarped and protected from the rain.