Grown With Love: How We Deal with Weather Fluctuations When Growing Timothy Hay

Growing Hay. It's all about the weather!

Welcome to part one of our Grown with Love campaign, where we are taking you on a multi week journey from farm to feeder and show you how Andy and Anderson make hay while the sun shines.

This week, we will talk about how weather impacts growing timothy hay, the gold standard for rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small pets.

As you likely know, Timothy Hay is an exceptional roughage and fiber source that has specific climate requirements to thrive. It is a late-maturing bunchgrass with relatively low protein and high fiber content.

We grow our timothy hay in the Pacific Northwest, where the soil is rich in part because of cold winters, cool springs, and warm summers. Timothy seeds are planted in the late fall. While they sit dormant through the winter, the snowfall creates a quasi-insulation layer over the soil, protecting the seeds. In the same way an igloo keeps us warm.  Once spring arrives, the melting snow slowly adds moisture into the soil, which helps ease the transition into regular watering cycles. Like when a snow-cone melts creating a drink vs a cold crunchy snack.

We monitor the weather conditions closely and adjust our planting and harvesting schedules accordingly. We use weather forecasts, soil moisture sensors, and generations of experience to understand the ideal timing for all phases of the hay growing process.

But let’s talk about RAIN for a second.

We love the rain during the growing period. Not all the time, because bright, warm sunshine is how the crop really grows.  Once the hay has been cut, every grower including Anderson Hay, is crossing our collective fingers that the forecast is right.  No Rain For the Foreseeable Future. (NRFFF) Magic or wishing doesn’t always happen though.

So, if it is going to rain, we want it to be within the first 24-48 hours or so after cutting, as the moisture content of the cut Timothy hay is closer to its precut levels. 

The worst possible scenario is that it rains the day before it is supposed to be baled.  We’ll get into why this is a problem later in the series and how we solve for it.

In part 2, we will talk about how we time our cutting to capture the optimal nutritional value.

Okay, that's enough for now. Don’t forget to visit to enter the giveaway and win a year supply of hay for your small pets.

Thank you for choosing Andy by Anderson Hay. We appreciate your support and love for your small pets.

Jared is a curious creature seeking to curate creative collections through crafty language without the use of awful alliteration.

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