St Peter's College
Erinwood Farm

Making hay

Here is how hay was made on the farm up until the 40's.

In the summer all the farmers around in Taikorea helped each other out in making hay. With about 20 farmers in the paddock, everyone with their own job. One man raked the cut hay into rows; two men dumped the rows into heaps with dumper sweeps, others driving sweeps, some forking hay on to the stack and some standing atop the stack feeing hay to the stacker. The stacker was the most important person, he had to do a good job or else the stack would leak. As the stack grew, the shafts of a dray would be a rammed into the side for use as a platform. The whole time the women would keep the men filled up with sandwiches and tea all day.

John Hehir:

On Erinwood farm the Hehir's had help from Kirk Gray and his horses, the Prebbles, Mephams, Algars, Hancocks, Johnstons, Hills, Sextons, Carrolls and Creaven families.


The hay was then taken from the stack to feed the animals in the winter.

milk cart:

With mechanisation coming into widespread use there have been big changes in the way hay is made. The advent of tractors and hay balers meant that more hay could be made by fewer people.


The first cabbed tractor on the way to the hay paddock.

This was a boon during the war years when labour was short. Christie and Jimmy would make extra money during the 40's & 50's by hay contracting.

Making hay was very mechanised now but stacking the hay onto trucks, carting them to the haysheds and then restacking the hay into sheds was a very hot, dirty and labour intensive job.


Kippy loading up the truck with bales on the front-end loader.

This job was often done in a race against oncoming rain, if the bales got wet they could have to be cut open, tedded, dried, raked and baled again.


Cows eating hay

The latest evolution of haymaking on the farm was been the purchase of a round baler in 1984 by Tim and Chris.

The hay bales produced by the round baler are relatively waterproof, so no longer is it a race against the weather to get bales stacked safely in the shed. Ironically this race was easy to win now, because with the big round bales being the equivalent of 14 conventional bales, one man on a tractor with a front-end-loader could stack away as much hay as it took six men with two trucks to do previously, and he could do it in half the time.


The paddock ready to be cut for hay-making

They are on their 4th baler now with the last one able to make baleage too. This has also seen the purchase of a bale wrapper to further enable them to make the best use of all available surplus feed.