Hay harvest reaches peak in North and Middle Park | TheFencePost.com

Hay harvest reaches peak in North and Middle Park

Tony BruguiereThis gives you a good idea how narrow Middle Park is. A river runs along the line of trees and just beyond the trees are hills. I am standing on the road and behind me hills rise up. Less farm land than North Park, but the same outstanding horse hay.

It is haying season in Colorado’s North Park and Middle Park. Hay is one harvest per growing season at this altitude. It has been a very wet year in Colorado’s high country and the harvest has been delayed. Right now everyone is in the fields working to get the crop in before more rains come again.

In Colorado, a ‘park’ is a high mountain basin or valley and we have three of them – North, Middle and South. North Park and South Park, are wide flat basins at the headwaters of the North and South Platte, respectively. Both are well watered and outstanding for ranches and hay production. Middle Park is a narrower basin, allowing for less agricultural use as pasture lands, but the Colorado River runs through Middle Park and although the areas for hay growing are smaller, the quality of the hay is equal to that grown in North Park.

Some of the best horse hay in the country is grown in North Park and Middle Park. Many of the flat bed 18-wheelers heading east with large square bales are on their way to the Thoroughbred horse farms in Kentucky. The hay is known as Mountain Grass Hay and is primarily a mixture of Timothy grass and Clover.

Traveling along US 40 near Granby, Colo., you will still be able to see a few Beaver Slides on ranches along the road. The device harkens back to a time when hay crops were put into a hay ‘stack.’ The hay was dumped on the bottom of the high incline and horses were used to pull lines attached to a wooden ‘rake’ at the bottom of the slide. The ‘rake’ and hay were pulled to the top of the incline and the hay fell off the top of the Beaver Slide onto a pile at the bottom. Gradually, this pile became a hay stack.

The Beaver Slides functioned well for hay that was used on the ranch, but they were totally impracticable if the rancher wanted to produce hay as a marketable crop. For hay to be a modern cash crop, a better way to transport and store the hay had to be devised. Mobile balers that could gather and bale hay in one process came along in the 1940s and the basic concepts are pretty much the same today. The hay is first mowed, then mechanically raked into windrows, then gathered and baled by a baler that is pulled behind a tractor.

Bales can be small, which weigh between 70 and 100 pounds and can be handled by one person. Bales at the other end of the size spectrum are referred to as ‘large square’ bales, even though their overall shape is a rectangle. They weigh around 2,200 pounds, can be stacked and are easier to transport on trucks. In the middle of the size scale are round bales, which typically weigh 660-880 pounds. They are more moisture-resistant, and pack the hay more densely (especially at the center). Round bales are quickly fed with the use of mechanized equipment.

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Normally, the pace to get the hay baled and stacked is nonstop with no time to stop and talk. However, I ran into Justin Fosha as he was taking a forced break due to some mechanical problems. Justin was baling on the Sheriff Ranch just north of Granby, Colo. Justin needs a lot of hay to feed the 171 horses on his family’s Drowsy Water Ranch, so he contracts to cut hay on shares from John and Ida Sheriff, whose ranch has been in operation since 1881.

In case you are wondering about those 171 horses on the Drowsy Water Ranch, it is because the Drowsy Water Ranch is a dude ranch. And not just ‘any’ dude ranch, the Drowsy Water Ranch was chosen as the No. 1 All Inclusive Resort in the World by TripAdvisor in its 2010 Travelers’ Choice awards.

The Fosha’s also run cattle on their ranch, and they have those 171 horses to feed all winter, so they need a lot of hay. Unfortunately, they are located up in the hills at 8,000 feet – great for cattle, but on the wrong side of the highway when it comes to hay farming. Besides the round bales they cut on the Sheriff Ranch, the Fosha’s have their own hay ranch in North Park.

Hay is a very important crop in Colorado. According to state agricultural statistics for 2010, non-alfalfa hay production for Colorado was 1,700,000 tons on 780,000 acres. Jackson (North Park) and Grand (Middle Park) counties combine for 75,500 tons on one cutting a year. That is a lot of hay.

It is haying season in Colorado’s North Park and Middle Park. Hay is one harvest per growing season at this altitude. It has been a very wet year in Colorado’s high country and the harvest has been delayed. Right now everyone is in the fields working to get the crop in before more rains come again.

In Colorado, a ‘park’ is a high mountain basin or valley and we have three of them – North, Middle and South. North Park and South Park, are wide flat basins at the headwaters of the North and South Platte, respectively. Both are well watered and outstanding for ranches and hay production. Middle Park is a narrower basin, allowing for less agricultural use as pasture lands, but the Colorado River runs through Middle Park and although the areas for hay growing are smaller, the quality of the hay is equal to that grown in North Park.

Some of the best horse hay in the country is grown in North Park and Middle Park. Many of the flat bed 18-wheelers heading east with large square bales are on their way to the Thoroughbred horse farms in Kentucky. The hay is known as Mountain Grass Hay and is primarily a mixture of Timothy grass and Clover.

Traveling along US 40 near Granby, Colo., you will still be able to see a few Beaver Slides on ranches along the road. The device harkens back to a time when hay crops were put into a hay ‘stack.’ The hay was dumped on the bottom of the high incline and horses were used to pull lines attached to a wooden ‘rake’ at the bottom of the slide. The ‘rake’ and hay were pulled to the top of the incline and the hay fell off the top of the Beaver Slide onto a pile at the bottom. Gradually, this pile became a hay stack.

The Beaver Slides functioned well for hay that was used on the ranch, but they were totally impracticable if the rancher wanted to produce hay as a marketable crop. For hay to be a modern cash crop, a better way to transport and store the hay had to be devised. Mobile balers that could gather and bale hay in one process came along in the 1940s and the basic concepts are pretty much the same today. The hay is first mowed, then mechanically raked into windrows, then gathered and baled by a baler that is pulled behind a tractor.

Bales can be small, which weigh between 70 and 100 pounds and can be handled by one person. Bales at the other end of the size spectrum are referred to as ‘large square’ bales, even though their overall shape is a rectangle. They weigh around 2,200 pounds, can be stacked and are easier to transport on trucks. In the middle of the size scale are round bales, which typically weigh 660-880 pounds. They are more moisture-resistant, and pack the hay more densely (especially at the center). Round bales are quickly fed with the use of mechanized equipment.

Normally, the pace to get the hay baled and stacked is nonstop with no time to stop and talk. However, I ran into Justin Fosha as he was taking a forced break due to some mechanical problems. Justin was baling on the Sheriff Ranch just north of Granby, Colo. Justin needs a lot of hay to feed the 171 horses on his family’s Drowsy Water Ranch, so he contracts to cut hay on shares from John and Ida Sheriff, whose ranch has been in operation since 1881.

In case you are wondering about those 171 horses on the Drowsy Water Ranch, it is because the Drowsy Water Ranch is a dude ranch. And not just ‘any’ dude ranch, the Drowsy Water Ranch was chosen as the No. 1 All Inclusive Resort in the World by TripAdvisor in its 2010 Travelers’ Choice awards.

The Fosha’s also run cattle on their ranch, and they have those 171 horses to feed all winter, so they need a lot of hay. Unfortunately, they are located up in the hills at 8,000 feet – great for cattle, but on the wrong side of the highway when it comes to hay farming. Besides the round bales they cut on the Sheriff Ranch, the Fosha’s have their own hay ranch in North Park.

Hay is a very important crop in Colorado. According to state agricultural statistics for 2010, non-alfalfa hay production for Colorado was 1,700,000 tons on 780,000 acres. Jackson (North Park) and Grand (Middle Park) counties combine for 75,500 tons on one cutting a year. That is a lot of hay.

It is haying season in Colorado’s North Park and Middle Park. Hay is one harvest per growing season at this altitude. It has been a very wet year in Colorado’s high country and the harvest has been delayed. Right now everyone is in the fields working to get the crop in before more rains come again.

In Colorado, a ‘park’ is a high mountain basin or valley and we have three of them – North, Middle and South. North Park and South Park, are wide flat basins at the headwaters of the North and South Platte, respectively. Both are well watered and outstanding for ranches and hay production. Middle Park is a narrower basin, allowing for less agricultural use as pasture lands, but the Colorado River runs through Middle Park and although the areas for hay growing are smaller, the quality of the hay is equal to that grown in North Park.

Some of the best horse hay in the country is grown in North Park and Middle Park. Many of the flat bed 18-wheelers heading east with large square bales are on their way to the Thoroughbred horse farms in Kentucky. The hay is known as Mountain Grass Hay and is primarily a mixture of Timothy grass and Clover.

Traveling along US 40 near Granby, Colo., you will still be able to see a few Beaver Slides on ranches along the road. The device harkens back to a time when hay crops were put into a hay ‘stack.’ The hay was dumped on the bottom of the high incline and horses were used to pull lines attached to a wooden ‘rake’ at the bottom of the slide. The ‘rake’ and hay were pulled to the top of the incline and the hay fell off the top of the Beaver Slide onto a pile at the bottom. Gradually, this pile became a hay stack.

The Beaver Slides functioned well for hay that was used on the ranch, but they were totally impracticable if the rancher wanted to produce hay as a marketable crop. For hay to be a modern cash crop, a better way to transport and store the hay had to be devised. Mobile balers that could gather and bale hay in one process came along in the 1940s and the basic concepts are pretty much the same today. The hay is first mowed, then mechanically raked into windrows, then gathered and baled by a baler that is pulled behind a tractor.

Bales can be small, which weigh between 70 and 100 pounds and can be handled by one person. Bales at the other end of the size spectrum are referred to as ‘large square’ bales, even though their overall shape is a rectangle. They weigh around 2,200 pounds, can be stacked and are easier to transport on trucks. In the middle of the size scale are round bales, which typically weigh 660-880 pounds. They are more moisture-resistant, and pack the hay more densely (especially at the center). Round bales are quickly fed with the use of mechanized equipment.

Normally, the pace to get the hay baled and stacked is nonstop with no time to stop and talk. However, I ran into Justin Fosha as he was taking a forced break due to some mechanical problems. Justin was baling on the Sheriff Ranch just north of Granby, Colo. Justin needs a lot of hay to feed the 171 horses on his family’s Drowsy Water Ranch, so he contracts to cut hay on shares from John and Ida Sheriff, whose ranch has been in operation since 1881.

In case you are wondering about those 171 horses on the Drowsy Water Ranch, it is because the Drowsy Water Ranch is a dude ranch. And not just ‘any’ dude ranch, the Drowsy Water Ranch was chosen as the No. 1 All Inclusive Resort in the World by TripAdvisor in its 2010 Travelers’ Choice awards.

The Fosha’s also run cattle on their ranch, and they have those 171 horses to feed all winter, so they need a lot of hay. Unfortunately, they are located up in the hills at 8,000 feet – great for cattle, but on the wrong side of the highway when it comes to hay farming. Besides the round bales they cut on the Sheriff Ranch, the Fosha’s have their own hay ranch in North Park.

Hay is a very important crop in Colorado. According to state agricultural statistics for 2010, non-alfalfa hay production for Colorado was 1,700,000 tons on 780,000 acres. Jackson (North Park) and Grand (Middle Park) counties combine for 75,500 tons on one cutting a year. That is a lot of hay.

It is haying season in Colorado’s North Park and Middle Park. Hay is one harvest per growing season at this altitude. It has been a very wet year in Colorado’s high country and the harvest has been delayed. Right now everyone is in the fields working to get the crop in before more rains come again.

In Colorado, a ‘park’ is a high mountain basin or valley and we have three of them – North, Middle and South. North Park and South Park, are wide flat basins at the headwaters of the North and South Platte, respectively. Both are well watered and outstanding for ranches and hay production. Middle Park is a narrower basin, allowing for less agricultural use as pasture lands, but the Colorado River runs through Middle Park and although the areas for hay growing are smaller, the quality of the hay is equal to that grown in North Park.

Some of the best horse hay in the country is grown in North Park and Middle Park. Many of the flat bed 18-wheelers heading east with large square bales are on their way to the Thoroughbred horse farms in Kentucky. The hay is known as Mountain Grass Hay and is primarily a mixture of Timothy grass and Clover.

Traveling along US 40 near Granby, Colo., you will still be able to see a few Beaver Slides on ranches along the road. The device harkens back to a time when hay crops were put into a hay ‘stack.’ The hay was dumped on the bottom of the high incline and horses were used to pull lines attached to a wooden ‘rake’ at the bottom of the slide. The ‘rake’ and hay were pulled to the top of the incline and the hay fell off the top of the Beaver Slide onto a pile at the bottom. Gradually, this pile became a hay stack.

The Beaver Slides functioned well for hay that was used on the ranch, but they were totally impracticable if the rancher wanted to produce hay as a marketable crop. For hay to be a modern cash crop, a better way to transport and store the hay had to be devised. Mobile balers that could gather and bale hay in one process came along in the 1940s and the basic concepts are pretty much the same today. The hay is first mowed, then mechanically raked into windrows, then gathered and baled by a baler that is pulled behind a tractor.

Bales can be small, which weigh between 70 and 100 pounds and can be handled by one person. Bales at the other end of the size spectrum are referred to as ‘large square’ bales, even though their overall shape is a rectangle. They weigh around 2,200 pounds, can be stacked and are easier to transport on trucks. In the middle of the size scale are round bales, which typically weigh 660-880 pounds. They are more moisture-resistant, and pack the hay more densely (especially at the center). Round bales are quickly fed with the use of mechanized equipment.

Normally, the pace to get the hay baled and stacked is nonstop with no time to stop and talk. However, I ran into Justin Fosha as he was taking a forced break due to some mechanical problems. Justin was baling on the Sheriff Ranch just north of Granby, Colo. Justin needs a lot of hay to feed the 171 horses on his family’s Drowsy Water Ranch, so he contracts to cut hay on shares from John and Ida Sheriff, whose ranch has been in operation since 1881.

In case you are wondering about those 171 horses on the Drowsy Water Ranch, it is because the Drowsy Water Ranch is a dude ranch. And not just ‘any’ dude ranch, the Drowsy Water Ranch was chosen as the No. 1 All Inclusive Resort in the World by TripAdvisor in its 2010 Travelers’ Choice awards.

The Fosha’s also run cattle on their ranch, and they have those 171 horses to feed all winter, so they need a lot of hay. Unfortunately, they are located up in the hills at 8,000 feet – great for cattle, but on the wrong side of the highway when it comes to hay farming. Besides the round bales they cut on the Sheriff Ranch, the Fosha’s have their own hay ranch in North Park.

Hay is a very important crop in Colorado. According to state agricultural statistics for 2010, non-alfalfa hay production for Colorado was 1,700,000 tons on 780,000 acres. Jackson (North Park) and Grand (Middle Park) counties combine for 75,500 tons on one cutting a year. That is a lot of hay.

It is haying season in Colorado’s North Park and Middle Park. Hay is one harvest per growing season at this altitude. It has been a very wet year in Colorado’s high country and the harvest has been delayed. Right now everyone is in the fields working to get the crop in before more rains come again.

In Colorado, a ‘park’ is a high mountain basin or valley and we have three of them – North, Middle and South. North Park and South Park, are wide flat basins at the headwaters of the North and South Platte, respectively. Both are well watered and outstanding for ranches and hay production. Middle Park is a narrower basin, allowing for less agricultural use as pasture lands, but the Colorado River runs through Middle Park and although the areas for hay growing are smaller, the quality of the hay is equal to that grown in North Park.

Some of the best horse hay in the country is grown in North Park and Middle Park. Many of the flat bed 18-wheelers heading east with large square bales are on their way to the Thoroughbred horse farms in Kentucky. The hay is known as Mountain Grass Hay and is primarily a mixture of Timothy grass and Clover.

Traveling along US 40 near Granby, Colo., you will still be able to see a few Beaver Slides on ranches along the road. The device harkens back to a time when hay crops were put into a hay ‘stack.’ The hay was dumped on the bottom of the high incline and horses were used to pull lines attached to a wooden ‘rake’ at the bottom of the slide. The ‘rake’ and hay were pulled to the top of the incline and the hay fell off the top of the Beaver Slide onto a pile at the bottom. Gradually, this pile became a hay stack.

The Beaver Slides functioned well for hay that was used on the ranch, but they were totally impracticable if the rancher wanted to produce hay as a marketable crop. For hay to be a modern cash crop, a better way to transport and store the hay had to be devised. Mobile balers that could gather and bale hay in one process came along in the 1940s and the basic concepts are pretty much the same today. The hay is first mowed, then mechanically raked into windrows, then gathered and baled by a baler that is pulled behind a tractor.

Bales can be small, which weigh between 70 and 100 pounds and can be handled by one person. Bales at the other end of the size spectrum are referred to as ‘large square’ bales, even though their overall shape is a rectangle. They weigh around 2,200 pounds, can be stacked and are easier to transport on trucks. In the middle of the size scale are round bales, which typically weigh 660-880 pounds. They are more moisture-resistant, and pack the hay more densely (especially at the center). Round bales are quickly fed with the use of mechanized equipment.

Normally, the pace to get the hay baled and stacked is nonstop with no time to stop and talk. However, I ran into Justin Fosha as he was taking a forced break due to some mechanical problems. Justin was baling on the Sheriff Ranch just north of Granby, Colo. Justin needs a lot of hay to feed the 171 horses on his family’s Drowsy Water Ranch, so he contracts to cut hay on shares from John and Ida Sheriff, whose ranch has been in operation since 1881.

In case you are wondering about those 171 horses on the Drowsy Water Ranch, it is because the Drowsy Water Ranch is a dude ranch. And not just ‘any’ dude ranch, the Drowsy Water Ranch was chosen as the No. 1 All Inclusive Resort in the World by TripAdvisor in its 2010 Travelers’ Choice awards.

The Fosha’s also run cattle on their ranch, and they have those 171 horses to feed all winter, so they need a lot of hay. Unfortunately, they are located up in the hills at 8,000 feet – great for cattle, but on the wrong side of the highway when it comes to hay farming. Besides the round bales they cut on the Sheriff Ranch, the Fosha’s have their own hay ranch in North Park.

Hay is a very important crop in Colorado. According to state agricultural statistics for 2010, non-alfalfa hay production for Colorado was 1,700,000 tons on 780,000 acres. Jackson (North Park) and Grand (Middle Park) counties combine for 75,500 tons on one cutting a year. That is a lot of hay.