End of Summer--or the last cutting of hay

  About this time of year, the last cutting of hay takes place here in the Western Treasure Valley. This is what it looks like on our farm. First the swather cuts it and arranges it into rows.

After being cut, it drys from one to several days in the field, depending on the moisture in the air. During the drying period hay is in the most danger of damage. Rain during this time can rot the alfalfa and make it unfit to be fed to the animals.
We have been in a drought much like the Mid-west, but we have reservoirs holding vast amounts of water saved from the winter snows. During the summer growth period we can irrigate the fields. When its dry, the baler moves in and makes short work of the large 3' x 4' x 8' bales.
 It takes a lot of practice and a talented loader driver to stack ten 1300 pound bales onto each flatbed truck. Fully loaded, the trucks carry over 13,000 pounds with each load.
 The thirteen tons of hay loaded on these two trucks is on it's way to the stack yard.
In the end, from this cutting, we have around 260,000 pounds of hay, finished and ready to be fed throughout the winter. Next spring, the cycle will start all over again. 
If you've never stood in a blooming alfalfa field, let me assure you those small purple flowers are among the most aromatic blooms in the world.