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From The Barnyard: The Great Hay Dilemma

Our hay season started out with a visit from a fantastic fertilizer man in October. He is an older gentleman – who does not just try to ‘sell’ you what product of his might make him the most money – he tested our grass, root systems, soil and knowing we were running horses on one half of our property and cattle on the other – mixed up a 100% organic fertilizer to suit our needs!

All was going well, the grass was growing with a few nicely spaced rains, and just about ready to cut and by mid Dec we touched base again with our hay contractor (who we had booked months before hand) to see about cutting dates.

This is when the saying “when life gives you lemons” started to come into effect….with our hay contractor apologizing to us but he was not going to be able to cut our hay at all ’til end of Jan….when it would be rank, ruined and no way fussy horses would touch it! I’m sure many of you can relate…

So, in what felt like hundreds of calls to local hay contractors that were all so swamped they couldn’t help, we managed to find one who was cutting locally to us the following day and said he would add ours on….miracle!

But that wouldn’t be an interesting story at all, if the hay was simply baled before Christmas and we could get it in our barns…instead we had 3.5 days of perfect sunshine and dry time….and then it started to rain, and rain, and rain….for days on end….the likes of which we hadn’t seen since we moved from the North Island of New Zealand.

The Monday after Christmas we headed away to teach our 2 fully-booked Station Clinics (5 day clinic on a high country station with Ben)…with the hay soggy on the ground after 10 days of rain and no idea if it was salvageable.

Then Wednesday morning, Nat’s Dad (who was looking after our property while we were away) got a text from the contractor that today was the day and he was expecting 700 bales! We of course had had a team arranged to help us before Christmas with the pickup, but they were all now away on vacation for New Years.

With this final challenge at hand, it was true friendship that turned the “lemons” into “lemonade”- and when Nat messaged a friend about the 700 bales and Dad by himself – her friend came to the rescue and arranged a team of 7 strong who ended up being absolute machines and finishing the 748 bales from the paddocks into the barns in 3hrs!!! We really appreciate our friends, neighbours and family who jumped in and helped us out with our hay – while we were not even around!