Years ago, three friends from out-of-state, two gals from San Francisco and one from Baltimore, visited us at the Valley Falls farm. None of them knew anything about farming and had never been to Kansas. We took them on a tour of the countryside to see farms, fields, and cattle. As we drove by a field of big round bales, one of the gals from San Francisco exclaimed, “What are those big jellyrolls used for?” Bill and I hooted with laughter! Then he explained what they were and how they were formed. To this day, I can’t pass a field of round bales without thinking “jellyrolls!”
The pictures below show Bill catering a gigantic brome jellyroll to our current pasture residents:
- 11 bred heifers, aka prospective new mothers, due to have calves this fall.
- One cow/calf pair, Sleepy and her heifer, Snooze. Sleepy is one of the “Boomer Sooner Bovines” from my book. She suffered a post-partum complication last fall so we kept her at home over the winter for observation. (The rest of our 60 cow/calf pairs were transported to a ranch 30 miles away because we aren’t set up to feed that many cattle during the winter. See my post of 11/29/13, “Bon Voyage Until Next Spring!”)
- Cutie, a red white-face Hereford-mix heifer who didn’t stay bred last year but was given a second chance due to her genetics, so will calve in February.
- A Rent-A-Bull, the proud father who bred the 11 heifers.
The cutting and swathing step is the same for both types of bales.
The process changes beginning with the raking step. Instead of using the small side-delivery rake that throws cut hay to the side into a windrow (picture on the left), a hydraulic wheel rake is used, which combines two windrows into one. Here is a picture of the wheel rake “at rest.” I’ll have to wait until summer to get an action shot. The tined wheels you see in the air are lowered to the ground when in use.