Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Paradigm Farms State of the Nation Report

(post by Jason) This is the time of the year when farmers tend to look anxiously at the inventory in their hay sheds and begin to make predictions as to whether or not they have enough forage to make it to green grass time. Thankfully we bought quite a bit of forage before the worst of last summer's drought.  Our limiting factor with hay is storage.  We have two large hay barns and between the two of them we can store about 25 semi loads of hay. In an ideal world we would have enough hay storage to store a year's worth of hay.  Having too much forage on hand is never viewed as a problem on working farms. There is no such thing as too much forage.

So far this winter we have emptied out one of our hay barns completely and are about halfway through the other one.  We are in the process of refilling the empty hay barn and have already unloaded a few semi loads of hay into it in the last couple of weeks. Since predicting the arrival, departure and extent of dry spells is about as accurate as predicting anything to do with the weather, it is always wise to have at least half as much again as you could possibly use laying in reserve in your hay barns.

While I won't make any predictions about spring's arrival in this area I can say that so far this winter has been a lot more spring like than would be normal even at this low latitude. Our coldest morning arrived two months early on the day after Halloween. Many of our early spring shrubs and flowers have begun to bloom with some of the earliest daffodils and shrubs making blooms on or before February 1st. Normally daffodils make an appearance in mid February and the earliest shrubs start to blossom late in the month. Our cool season grasses are more green than not but they have not yet started making any growth. Last year we stopped feeding hay in mid March and if the exceptionally mild weather continues we may best that by a few days. We can get significant cold snaps and even snow well into March so we are not out of the woods by a good stretch yet.

As you can see from my State of the Nation Report at Paradigm Farms we are highly concerned with the weather, with ample hay supplies, and the state of our pastures !

the daffodils on February 5th


Cuffie and Norman

Darby, B-Rad and Alex

George, Gus and Asterik

Romeo and Asterik being playful


Fabrizzio and Walden

Photobomb!  I was all set to take a fabulous picture of Lighty galloping in full stride, instead I ended up with Sam's head!


Murphy and Dutch


Lori Skoog said...

Jason...you are so right! I too am thinking about how much hay is in the barn and is it enough. This happens every year. Can't believe you have flowers blooming already.

Boy, you must go through an incredible amount of hay! How many horses are you feeding?

RuckusButt said...

25 semi loads per hay barn?!? I know there has been a lot of hay talk over the years but somehow this unit makes the ridiculously large amounts of hay you store/need tangible to the mind's eye. Wow.

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

RB, 25 semi loads total between the two barns!

Lori we do go through a lot of hay in the winter but we feed free choice, and of course some of them like to pull the hay out of the feeders and make bedding out of it!