Traditionally, haymaking consisted of mowing certain meadows at the beginning of summer. The hay was dried in the sun and then stored in millstones or barns to be used as cattle feed during the winter.

Parallel to the development of animal husbandry from the 19th century onwards, artificial meadows of clover, alfalfa, sainfoin or rave appeared in rotation with cereals in the more productive medium and large properties. However, these fodder crops were greedy for limestone improvers and industrial phosphate fertilisers.

After 1918, the scythes, forks, rakes and millstones were gradually replaced by mowers, tedders with forks, rakes with animal traction and then with tractors and boot presses.

Illustrations :

– Postcard of the village of Le Pizou with a group of farmers leaving to forage with their rakes and scythes around 1910 (©Collection Henri Brives)