The Avondale Historical Journal
Volume 5 Issue 30
to be pitched first onto the plat-form, transferred and pitchedhigher. The hoist can get the haymuch higher still.
The sweep brings in the hay. Alarge metal grab picks up a pileand a horse or a vehicle pulls thewire rope in its pulley lifting thebundle to the stackers up top. Thestackers have worked their wayup in stages – literally from theground up. The outside edges aregiven special care and made asfirm as possible. A platform mayfollow, then the hoist is used. Theoutside edges are always the partto concentrate on. Once they aresecure the centre is easy.
In comes the grab and the control-ler at the base swings the grab 90 degrees to dump thehay on the top. Then the stackers fork it into positionand stamp it firm. The stack should be a little widerthan the base as it rises, then topped off by making agable shape roof that will shed the rain.
There could be problems with haystacks if the hay wasnot perfectly dry and ready. A damp or green patchcould start to heat up and cause the stack to smoulder.The only remedy then was to break into the stack andget that part out again. The cattle loved it but it was aloss to the farmer.
The man on the pull had a tedious but important job.And as the stack rises so the distance out increased ateach stage. Out, in, out, in. Up, down, up, down.Sweep, grap, hoist, lower, grab, hoist, lower. On andon.
The pitch forkers are hard at it, steady, systematic andhard at it. Break for morning tea, break for lunch. Itwas hot and exhausting work all round, even for thewomen baking, packing, brewing, serving. But a greatsocial event too. A happy time if the weather is right.A worrying time if there is rain threatening.
There was a lot of skill in the estimating, judging theweather, adapting to what it turned out to be, estimat-ing the size of stack from the amount of hay, and get-ting the job done in the hours available. All the timethe job has to be completed and the milking has to bedone at the end of the day.
In the winter when the grass is not growing, the haywill provide feed. The same if there is a drought andthe grass is not growing. The number in the herd hasto be matched to the amount of feed. In extremity thefarmer has to buy hay from other farmers or other dis-tricts.
It was the backbone of New Zealand they used to say.
A grab load being raised. Stack, feeder pile and renewer pile.
The stack is clearly very high – not one to fall off. Wasthe hoist used to get the men down? Estimated height of stack is8 metres. Clearly only possible with a hoist.
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