Small Squares…

I have always loved horses.  As I little girl, I had a typical infatuation with the big beautiful animals.  I dreamed of one day having my own.

Matt and I moved to Nebraska more than 15 years after my first horse ride as a vacationer in the mountains of Montana.  As an adult, I put the dreams of having my own horse on hold for another nine years after changing my address to the Cornhusker State.  I had set my sights on learning how to manage a cattle feed yard, and that was no small task for the East Coast urbanite.

"The Boys" and I...

“The Boys” and I…

My favorite farmer grumbled quite a little bit when I brought “my boys” home the summer of 2006.  He worried that caring for them would add too much to my work load.  In addition, he lamented the amount of feed that was required to keep the boys in good shape.

Over the years, Matt has mellowed toward the horses.  He now affectionately calls them my “knot heads”, and does a great job growing the feed that they need.  I graze them on grass in the summer, and an alfalfa field in the winter.  When the winter weather gets especially cold, I supplement the boys with alfalfa dehy pellets and baled prairie hay.

We put the prairie hay up in small square bales that weigh 50-60 pounds.  Gathering the bales and bringing them home is always an interesting chore!

One of the places that we grow prairie hay grass is on pivot corners where we must grow a dry-land (non-irrigated) crop...

One of the places that we grow prairie hay grass is on pivot corners where we must grow a dry-land (non-irrigated) crop…

8 small square bales of prairie hay waiting to be picked up and placed on a trailer...

8 small square bales of prairie hay waiting to be picked up and placed on a trailer…

The tractor and hay implement picks up the sets of 8 bales and places them on the trailer...

The tractor and hay implement picks up the sets of 8 bales and places them on the trailer…

Megan and Matt helping to place the bales...

Megan and Matt helping to place the bales…

The pile got pretty high!

The pile got pretty high!

The horses will be well fed this winter, and some of this hay will also go to the feed yard...

The horses will be well fed this winter, and some of this hay will also go to the feed yard…

Baling prairie hay (grass hay) that we are unable to graze allows us to make good use of our resources.  Prairie hay is great feed for both horses and cattle.  It also provides a way for our farm to make a sustainable cycle.

2 Comments

Filed under Farming, General

2 responses to “Small Squares…

  1. Oh Ann we are so alike. I have always loved horse and had one as a young child, but when I got into middle and high school and had less time to ride due to sports, etc. My father sold them to a neighbor. I still get to see the one that is still alive when we visit KY and I usually get to ride him. I miss riding so much, but like your hubby, I worry’s we don’t have the money right now to properly raise them and get all the feed etc they would need (and my hubby agrees). I hope someday we will have horses again. Prairie hay sounds like a good solution for horses and cattle… is it less expensive then other hay?

    • I hope that someday you will have a horse again! I know that mine have truly enriched my life. I am lucky that my favorite farmer grows animal feed, so the logistics of my horses’ dietary needs aren’t hard for us (he just likes to grumble about it :)).

      Prairie hay is less expensive than other types of hay (at least in our area), although it seems that no animal feed is “cheap” right now.

      I hope that you are well,
      Anne

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