January 22, 2014
Of all the crops grown here at Chilefarms in Nogales, alfalfa is lowest in maintenance. Prepare the soil, plant it, water it. It has been cultivated as livestock fodder as far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans.Through one growing season, October to March, it will yield six cuttings. Ricardo hires a neighboring farmer to mow it and bale it. He stores the bales in his barn as winter feed for his horses. If the market is high, he has the option of selling some during the winter.
The farmer, dressed in red coveralls, is a real pro, has a system for mowing the field so he has to make as few passes as possible. The sweet smell of cut alfalfa wafts behind the tractor, a land-based vapor trail.
Thursday, January 24, 2014
Farmer returns,rakes alfafa into neat rows, will return soon with his baling equipment.
The farmer returns with his baling equipment attached to his tractor rig. Next step, storing the bales.
VIDEO Hay baling operation
Juan Vila drives the tractor, Julio and Christian load bales onto the wagon. They haul several loads to the storage barn. VIDEO Hay wagon1, one of several trips to offload hay into the storage barn.
The bales weigh about 50 pounds each. Christian, Ricardo's nephew who occasionally works for him, asks me if I can lift a bale. Juan Vila, who throws them around like seat cushions, tries to stifle a laugh while I try to lift one. Within a few hours, the crew loaded 168 bales into the barn. I took photos.
Photos and videos by Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.