orchard grass

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This hay season is turning into the best harvest conditions I have seen in some time. Not in terms of tons per acre or early harvesting, but rather for outstanding hay quality. The cooler spring temperatures and rain are causing the growth timing of our alfalfa and grasses to perfectly align — meaning they are all at peak harvest stages simultaneously.

Each species of forage in a field needs to be harvested just as they first begin to flower. Harvest before this stage, and you compromise the long-term health of the plant. Harvest after this stage and the hay quality declines dramatically.

As a plant begins to flower, it’s energy stores are used to begin the reproduction process — leaving less energy and nutrients in the hay. Late harvesting reduces nutrient density, energy, and palatability, and leaves the hay physically coarse and stemmy.

The trick is to achieve a hay stand in which all the species in the mix reach the perfect growth stage at the same time.

Here are a few samples of perfect growth timing taken from one of our fields today:

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This is one of the few alfalfa flowers just beginning to bloom in the field. If more than 10% of the buds have flowered, the hay is past peak harvesting and will be increasingly stemmy. This field is <1% in flower today.

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The long and slender Timothy grass seed heads are just beginning to emerge from the flower stem.

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Barely ahead of the Timothy grass, the Orchard grass is also in early boot stage with its unique flower just beginning to emerge.

We carefully select our plant varieties to help achieve good growth timing and buy the highest quality seeds to ensure consistency. But nothing is more impactful than the blessing of good seasonal weather patterns!

The hay pictured above was harvested today, and we hope to have it baled early this coming week if the weather holds.

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The following two lots of hay are in the barn and available for immediate pickup.

SOLD OUT 200 bales of 25% alfalfa with Timothy and orchard grass. $7 per bale. Posted here: http://indianahayonline.com/2014/05/26/lot-525142/

SOLD OUT 180 bales of 100% Timothy grass hay. $7 per bale. Posted here: http://indianahayonline.com/2014/07/06/lot-705144/

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Lot 601145

SOLD OUT

This lot is approximately 30% alfalfa with orchard, Timothy, and EF fescue grasses from field #5. 50 pound bales, sisal twine. $6.00 per bale.

Contact us to arrange your order.

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Lot 525142

Field #2 was baled yesterday. Possibly our best hay of the season — alfalfa between 20% and 40% with orchard grass, 50 pound sisal tied bales, 9% moisture, young growth and weed free. $6.00 per bale.

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Lot 801132

This lot consists of 3rd cutting alfalfa with orchard and Timothy grasses. Alfalfa content is approximately 50%. Sisal twine, small square bales weighing 50 lbs. Quality is good, but not on par with our premium hay — $5.00 per bale.

Contact us to arrange for your order. Thanks!
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Lot 622132

This lot consists of 80% alfalfa with orchard grass. Sisal twine bales, that are very tight. Average weight is 60-70 pounds (heavier than our typical bales).

$6.50 per bale. Contact us to place your order and arrange for pickup or delivery.

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We cut field #2 today, and if all goes well, we will have it in the barn this weekend.

This cutting consists of 80% alfalfa with orchard grass. Cut at only 10% bloom for good nutrient density and palatability. No chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides have ever been used on this hay field.

Contact us if you would like to reserve an order.

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With Indiana’s hay harvest fully underway, market prices have fallen modestly with increasing supply. We are adjusting our prices accordingly:

All hay mixes we produce are now priced at $6.50 per bale.

Current hay prices apply at the time your hay is picked up or loaded for delivery.

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Lot 530135

Today we baled the hay pictured earlier this week. 50 pound bales, sisal twine, consisting of 25% alfalfa with Timothy and orchard grasses. Drying conditions were about as perfect as they get, with low humidity and high winds.

Available for pickup or delivery. $6.50 per bale.

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We cut one of our main hay fields today, and expect to be baling on Thursday. This is usually our most popular lot, with alfalfa down in the 25% to 35% range, and healthy orchard and Timothy grasses. Contact us to reserve. Pricing is $6.50 per bale.

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