A new iron in the fire

Rocker 7 Farm Patch LogoFor years, we have longed to have a portion of our farm designated to open up to the public. This fall, we are finally getting to do that with Rocker 7 Farm Patch.

We’re hosting a full fall festival complete with a pumpkin patch, corn maze, sunflower field, hayrides, and lots of entertainment and games to keep the whole family happy. During the week, we’ll also have engaging educational opportunities for school groups that include a curriculum-based lesson delivered by a certified Arizona educator.

We are thrilled to finally offer all of this to the far west valley, in a convenient, yet still rural location. We hope to see you this fall, and be sure to follow along with us on Facebook in the meantime.

The new farmhand

Early this year, Rocker 7 Farms welcomed Leyton Dean Leister to the family farming operation.

While we have never been busier around here, life has also never been better.

Leyton Dean Leister

Born February 2, 2013
2:16 am
7 lbs, 14 oz, 21 inches
Proud parents: Brandon and Katie Leister

“Certified Noxious Weed Free” alfalfa now available

Were you looking for “Certified Noxious Weed Free” alfalfa?

We have good news:  look no further.

Rocker 7 Farms now proudly offers hay under this certification. Whether you just want to ensure quality in the hay you feed, or you work for an organization which requires it, we can now meet that need. We are able to sell directly to government agencies such as the National Park Service and US Forest Service, which we have done in the past, and are happy to meet the needs of individuals as well.

The “certified noxious weed free” designation means the field has been inspected, deemed free of any noxious weeds and approved for certification.

Just to be clear, we are actively engaged in weed control in all our fields, and take pride in having very minimal (if at all) weed issues in every load we sell.

If you order “non-certified” hay from us, it does not mean it contains these weeds. We’re just only certifying a few fields in order to have price and quality options available to you at every level – so you truly get to determine which hay is right for you!

Be sure to specify in your inquiry if you’re interested in hay meeting the noxious weed-free certification. We also encourage you to get in touch with us and get your order in place for certified hay to be sure we can have some headed your way when you need it.

Off to a good start…

The 2010 hay harvest is in full swing around here, so we thought we would give you a little glimpse of what’s been going on at Rocker 7 Farms to get our first few cuttings for the season under our belt.

We have all our fields in a rotation, which means once we start cutting, we don’t stop for about a week (as long as the weather cooperates).

First, we take the swather out to the field to cut some fresh, green alfalfa.

Cutting hay at Rocker 7 Farms

A couple days later, we bring out the rakes to “fluff” the hay and rake it all into “wind rows” to prepare for baling.

Hay rakes

Brandon's brother, Justin, on his rakes

Wind rows

The wind rows left behind by the rakes

The very next morning, we bale it all up.

Hay bales

And lastly, we use the roadsider to pick up all the bales and put into stacks. We usually move the stacks into the barn with the retriever truck, to be stored until they’re loaded onto a truck. We typically have eight or nine cuttings on each field throughout the season. It’s enough to keep us busy, that’s for sure!

Hay stack

Stay tuned through the summer for more Rocker 7 updates…

Why buy from Rocker 7 Farms?

We realize you have quite a few options when it comes to selecting hay. So what are a few things we think set us apart?

Ideal growing conditions
We’ve mentioned before how Arizona offers an excellent environment for producing high quality alfalfa hay, and it’s absolutely true. Since weather conditions are the same for most of the year, we virtually control every aspect of the growing process.

Covered barn storage
Nearly every bale at Rocker 7 Farms is moved right from the field to a covered barn for storage. Occasionally, when the barns are full, it might be temporarily tarped. But for the most part, we offer barn-stored hay year-round.

Wide selection year-round
We don’t just have any hay year-round. With the exception of about three months a year, we have green, freshly cut hay. We try to keep a well-rounded product mix on hand, too, to ensure you get just the right bale you’re looking for, from Number One Alfalfa to Cow Hay to Grasses and Mixes. And you can purchase by the bale, stack or semi load.

Delivery and shipping available
We are happy to offer local deliveries for a fee arranged at the time of purchase. We also ship semi-loads extending beyond the West Valley, including out-of-state customers.

Buy direct from grower
Instead of dealing with a middleman hay broker, you speak directly with the grower. This is our quality assurance plan. If we grow it, harvest it, and sell it, we know exactly what our customers receive.

A tightly knit bunch
Rocker 7 Farms is owned by third generation farmer Brandon Leister, and his wife Katie. Leister Farms, owned by Brandon’s parents Dean and Rayanne and assisted by his brother Justin, helps out with much of the harvesting. After the harvest, we combine efforts for retail and wholesale sales and marketing. So you’re supporting a true family farm operation when you choose Rocker 7 hay.

Pride in our product
Nothing makes us happier than delivering to a customer exactly what they wanted. We take great pride in growing, harvesting and selling high quality hay, and often take extra effort to produce only the best.

Why Arizona hay?

Rocker 7 Farms is proud to service customers across Texas and Louisiana, all of whom have access to hay with a much lower cost of freight.

So why are they choosing Arizona hay?

Of course, it all comes down to personal preference, but we have a few ideas on why these customers and many more are looking to Arizona to fill their need for high quality hay.

First, hay season in Arizona can last from February until November, averaging eight to nine cuttings each year. This means freshly cut, green hay is available almost year-round, with the exception of a few winter months.

Second, our hay only sits in the field three days after cutting. The desert climate is perfect for timely hay harvesting, ensuring we put green bales in the barn. Throughout the summer, hay is cut on day zero, raked on day three, baled the night of day three or early morning of day four, and in the barn on day four. So aside from the occasional summer monsoon hitting a cutting, most Arizona hay is typically rain free, eliminating concerns about mold and nutritional damage.

Third, all hay (at Rocker 7 Farms, anyway) is stored in covered barns, so once it’s in the bale, it’s safe from any weather concerns.

Fourth, in the long run, you save money feeding our three-string 100 pound bales, compared to the two-wire bales grown elsewhere.

Maybe the question should be “Why NOT Arizona hay?”

How do you farm in the desert?

Now that’s certainly a good question. And to be honest, it’s not easy.

In fact, after one long, hard day at work, I asked Brandon, “Is it this hard to farm everywhere in this country?”

He asked back, “Well, what did we do all day that made today so hard?”

I responded, “Irrigated.”

He said, “Well, I guess that answers your question. Dryland farms don’t have to irrigate, and irrigating is 90 percent of what we do. And irrigating isn’t as difficult when you use other systems, like pivots.”

Don’t get me wrong. I would never tell any farmer he had an easy job. But I do know ours would be a bit easier if we weren’t constantly having to irrigate our crops, and especially if our method of irrigation were something other than the canal- or well-fed flood irrigation system. But for now, it is.

All of our fields are located within the Roosevelt Irrigation District, so we pay them for every drop of water that goes on a crop, in exchange for use of their elaborate canal system, which is the only way for us to access water. That is, unless we wanted to dig a bunch of wells and pay to pump our own water. Not only is that an expensive option, it’s not really even an option in our case, since most of the ground available is leased.

Anyway, back to farming in the desert.

Some of our fields have ditches with “port holes”. We plant these fields in “borders” and each border gets watered by opening its respective ports to let water from the ditch flood the border. Depending on the size of the border and how much water we’re running in the ditch, we’ll move the water to a new border (through a system of “checks” placed in the ditch, opening new ports and closing the current ones) every one to four hours, or so.

Other fields do not have these “ports” or are growing crops which require to be planted in rows. In these cases, “siphon tubes” are used to siphon water from the ditch into the field.

Other than the irrigating, which can be tough work some days, farming in the desert is just like farming in other parts of the country. And often, we feel like we have an advantage with our weather pattern. If there’s anything a farmer can’t control, it’s the weather, but living in the desert, where it’s hot and sunny 360 days each year, you virtually have control over the weather risk factor.

Until a summer monsoon rains all over freshly cut hay, anyway.

Welcome to Rocker 7 Farms

Welcome to Rocker 7 Farms, a diversified Arizona family farm operation.

We’re glad you stopped by.

If you’re looking for hay, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got quite the selection to provide the precise intersection of quality and price you’re looking for.

You can learn more about what we grow, take a look at some cattle or get to know us. And if there’s a question we don’t answer here, never hesitate to get in touch.

We sure hope to hear from you soon, or better yet, see you down the road!