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contents : From 1870 - 1914 : Farming

Summary: Hay

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The great increase in cattle numbers in the second half of the 19th century forced farmers to sow more grass. In winter, hay which had been harvested in the early part of the summer, was commonly used as cattle fodder. Hay making had originally been introduced by the Normans, but Irelandís damp climate made the timing of the harvesting a tricky task. Once the crop had been cut by a scythe or a reaper, it was turned using a hay fork. If the weather was fine, the crop would dry quickly and could then be transported back to the farmyard. It was stored in great haystacks to keep the hay as dry as possible. The saving of the hay crop made co-operation between neighbouring farmers who would share their labour very important. By 1900 hay was the largest crop produced in Ireland.

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