In the early days, hay was often cut with hand scythes, pitchforked onto a wagon and then stacked in a barn. This was common in wetter parts of the country, but in the arid West, ranchers learned that the hay did not need to be covered. Ten inches of annual precipitation, including melted snowfall, wasn't enough to cause hay to mold.
Once they no longer needed to haul hay off to distant barns, ranchers started looking for the best way to build haystacks right in the fields where the hay was cut. In 1908, the "beaverslide hay stacker" was invented in the Big Hole Valley in Southwestern Montana. It remains in use on many Montana ranches today.
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Cattle drives rarely went more than ten or twelve miles a day. The cattle had to be given time to rest and graze. A drive from Texas to Montana could take up to five months. Kohrs bought two-year-old steers and brought them north to graze on the rich grasses of eastern Montana.