Best time to visit Mongolia

Hay Harvest in Mongolia

The actual gathering of hay is the most pleasant part of the otherwise laborious but vital hay making process

Best time: late August–mid-September

Hay Harvest

​Locals survive the harsh and prolonged Siberian winters mainly due to the practice of stockbreeding, and the livestock itself is maintained largely on hay which must be gathered and preserved in sufficient quantities during summer and early autumn. Thus, many natives leave their gers or yurts and set off to the Mongolian steppes which provide plenty of succulent grass for this purpose.

For months the farmers cut the grass, and dry it in the Mongolian sun. Women bring them food from home, however, often the mowers have to cook in the steppe on their own.

In late August through mid-September finished product is gathered – an especially odorous hay that resonates throughout the steppes. Finally, they may safely return home with the assurance they will survive the coming cold.

Hay helps to sustain Mongolians from November through at least March, but in case of bad wint​ers as late as April or even May sometimes.

Practical info

When is hay gathered in Mongolia?

From August to September, Mongolian locals set out to the steppes to gather and dry hay. Preserving the hay is essential and adequate amounts should last until March, and sometimes, as late as May. The hay season marks an annual event that signifies the start of the transition into wintertime survival for both livestock and Mongolian herders. Show more

What is the process for gathering hay in Mongolia?

Hay gathering in Mongolia is an odorous task that takes months to complete. During summer and early autumn, farmers cut the grass and dry it in the sun. Then in late August to mid-September, locals finish collecting the dried product to store it for the winter season. This thorough preservation process is vital to maintain the livestock's food source throughout the harsh Siberian winters. Show more

Where is the hay for livestock gathered in Mongolia?

In Mongolia, Mongolians gather hay from the Mongolian steppes, a fertile area filled with an abundance of vegetation. Mongolians cut, dry, and assemble enough hay to sustain their livestock from November to March, and sometimes in April or late May. During the hay gathering season, Mongolian herders and farmers leave their homes for the steppes to help gather the hay in this essential task of preparation for winter survival. Show more

What is the process for preserving hay gathered in Mongolia?

To preserve hay in Mongolia, farmers cut grass during summer and dry it in the sun. Mongolians gather hay in late August to mid-September and appropriately store it to remain odourless for up to six months. Sufficient hay is necessary for sustenance of herders' livestock in the harsh Siberian winter, and this process helps keep them well-fed from November to as late as May when winters are severe. Show more

Can visitors join Mongolian locals in the hay gathering process?

Tourists can watch Mongolian locals gather hay during the hay gathering season. However, because of the physical labour involved and the tediousness of the task, visitors usually do not participate. Tour agencies offer tourist farm stays and nomadic homestays for visitors to experience the rural way of life and observe the locals gather hay. This annual event marks the start of the preparation for winter survival, which holds significant importance to Mongolian culture and tradition. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin