Just mow the hay, Renée

The cows are out in the Colorado paddock eating the mixed old lucerne and volunteer grasses, which have been changing over the last year and a half from mostly bent grass to dactyle/orchardgrass and now ryegrass, which is a bit of a surprise. People pay money to seed dactyle and ryegrass and it is taking over my paddock for free. I guess the mob grazing helps promote the taller grasses.


While the girls are out munching it is time for the first lucerne hay cut of the year. In future these newer lucerne fields will be grazed much more than hayed, but still we need the food for this winter while we figure out our extended grazing season.

Here we have some cut lucerne (alfalfa). There is a little insect damage but not the skeletal remains you see when the little black worms have had at it. There are a couple of blooms, maybe 1%-3%, which makes it a good time to cut with a balance between food quality and root reserves.

We’ve served up the grass. France has served up the weather. So now, it’s on.


There’s a little paddock out the back where I sowed some oats last winter. It was supposed to be an experiment in grazing the oats in grass form but it has been too wet to directly graze so it has now been cut as hay. Although the oats mostly affect our lives as the punchline to Jean’s humor.


After mowing comes the tedder which fluffs everything up to make it dry faster and more evenly. Today this should be dry enough for raking into lines with the baling happening tonight. We will see.


The tedder is a fun tool to use. Note some of the old vine posts we’ve cut and pushed into the ground at the edge of the hay field to make fence posts so we can graze this field later in the year. Once it is fenced and able to be grazed we can improve the fertility of the soils with the cows and feed the hay back on it.


The Just mow the hay, Renée post title is my mangling of The Four Tops Just walk away, Renée song that was playing while I cut some hay. Pick of the Pops is a great show to listen to while spending hours driving a tractor, although they often skip the best songs in the charts. Maybe because they don’t fit the usual Radio 2 audience? Like this amazing, influental, awesome PIL song skipped from the 1978 show.

That was 1978? Wow.

9 thoughts on “Just mow the hay, Renée

  1. Jean Curtis says:

    Damn it, Brent. Didn’t you know that if you serve France and France serves you back, it’s on?!

  2. Joshua Goodspeed says:

    “the tedder which fluffs everything”

    I can’t stop reading that as “the teddie which fluffs everything”. Who is this girl? Why is she in her knickers in a field? Is this what 70s French porn films were like?

  3. Susan Lea says:

    So much green! So amazing! Thanks for the look into your haying. One question, do the farmers’ fields around you look so good or are yours better due to your rotational grazing?

  4. bc says:

    Susan, I think we’re all doing pretty well this year. It hasn’t rained a huge amount but we have had regular rain, which is more important. It is hard to tell how well the neighboring fields are doing since they are all newly hayed. They pretty much hay everything in spring then chase grass the rest of the year. The fields that aren’t hayed are stocked with cows and are green.

    I will say the undergrowth in our fields is doing much better with our mob grazing. There are a few tall seeded stems with a rich mix of new grasses underneath. That’s the totally odd thing – it’s all new plants down there. There are many more plants per square meter than last year. Things seem to be changing faster this year either through more cows or being higher up the fertility curve.

    This year we have twice the cows as 2011 but we seem to have four times the grass. Most of it is the extra rain. Some of it is a buildup of fertility and strength. We’re trying to get our pastures to be irrepressible.

  5. bc says:

    Josh, now I’ve thought a minute I think Jean is the one who uses the term fluffer but when I type it I do see you misreading it.

  6. ceciliag says:

    You guys are hilarious! Don’t you just love the smell of hay, and when it is all in the barn it is like an air freshener! c

  7. chris says:

    Four Tops…oh yeah…didn’t think folks in your age (b)racket, listened to old stuff like that!! I am from Flint, Michigan originally, (Buick town…right next to Motown) and was in early high school in 1968 and one of my first (albums) huh? was the Four Tops!! Somehow I like that song with the new lyrics better…Just mow the hay, Renee!! Even the name is French…who knew?? 🙂
    BTW..I live in your old stompin grounds now…Washington state..right down the 5 from Seattle!!
    PSS. LOVE that lil guy you found in your pasture!!

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