You get what you ask for

rich dairy farms in southern Chile

rich dairy farms in southern Chile

Recently we have been driving through farming country in southern Chile – lots of huge dairy farms with lots of plastic wrapped bales of hay in the paddocks and, needless to say, lots of cows. The drive towards Entre Lagos was no exception. As we drove, I found myself wondering about how they actually produced those big bales covered in plastic. I know all about how the old fashioned bales, tied up with string are produced, since I grew up in a dairy farming community where hay making was a part of the calendar. So I thought, wouldn’t it be great if we came across someone actually making them so I could check it out.

Once again we had chosen the road less travelled from Rio Bueno to Entre Lagos where we would meet Ruta 215 that would take us to Argentina. Along the way we came to a turnoff to a road going to Playa Mantilhue on Lago Puyehue. It was 13km one way, out of our way, but we had had some nice camping experiences by lakes recently, and decided to make the turn in the hope of repeating them. When we arrived at the lake we found that there was really nowhere to park our truck for the night. So we turned around and headed back the way we had come, keeping our eyes peeled for a likely spot. After a few kilometres we came upon a seemingly abandoned gravel dump for road building – no fence and no evidence of activity – so we drove in. It was not a particularly salubrious site, but it was fairly level and probably far enough off the road, so we parked.

Juergen always tries to park so that we have a nice view from our largest window which is by our table. This time he parked so that we could look out on the rural landscape and not at the road. When we were set up, we sat down at the table and took a look at the view. Suddenly I noticed that the huge paddock had 4 tractors in it and they were making hay. They had just started working on it, so there was mostly grass standing and only a few bales, but the tractors were cutting and raking, making bales and packaging them!

baling freshly cut hay

baling freshly cut hay

end of hay making for the day

Sunset view from our camper window, end of hay making for the day

I went back to my earlier musings and thought – it’s true, you do get what you ask for! We watched them, on and off, all evening until they quit for the day when the daylight was running out – probably around 9.30 at night.

We slept well and were not disturbed by barking dogs, street lights or even by traffic. When we woke it was raining lightly, and the day seemed cold, grey and uninviting. Since we were getting good internet, we decided we might as well stay and make use of it. (This temptation to stay another day is beginning to become a habit!) When the rain stopped, the 4 tractors again appeared on the paddock, doing their thing. A bit of drizzle didn’t stop them. During the morning, two large trucks with trailers arrived and drove off with full loads of bales – you could hardly see where all the bales had come from, since the paddock was so large and so many bales were being produced. This loading and removing continued all day, as did the cutting, raking, baling and packaging.

all hay harvested, ready to transport away

all hay harvested, ready to transport away

They worked very efficiently and finished making the bales before the end of that day, but there were still bales left to collect. What an amazing day – every time we looked out of the window, we were surprised at their progress. When we left the next morning, there were only a few bales left in a bare paddock that not more than a day and a half ago had been high with uncut hay.
And now I knew how they made those big round bales and packaged them in plastic.

Another bonus on this small part of our journey was the amazing sight of the volcanoes Osorno and Puntiagudo as we drove towards Entre Lagos.

plastic wrapped hay bales, with volcan Osorno in the back

plastic wrapped hay bales, with volcan Osorno in the back

Yasha

dare2go’s human navigator (we’re not lost because there’s nowhere particular we have to be) alongside our Nexus 7 tablet, writer and editor of our blog, first cook and loving wife. Teaching English as a second language when possible.

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