We gotta feed the cows somewhere. Why not where we want some mulch next year? So right now we’re putting out hay along the keylines where we plan on digging swales and planting trees in the spring. They keylines are oriented just slightly downhill from the valleys to the ridges so that water will flow out toward the dry ridges in large rain events. Instead of using steel bale feeders to minimize hay wasted by excrement and trampling, we don’t mind the mulch that will help suppress grass competition and will provide carbon to our soils and nutrients for our baby trees come spring. The keyline swales should then transport fertilized water out to our dry infertile ridges! Our neighbors think we’re crazy for letting the cows “waste” a little hay, but we see it as an investment in soil fertility and future fruit.