Had to buy a tedder for the hybrid pearl millet hay

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Steve Wilson

Well-known member
May 29, 2008
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Mid Missouri
Dang, that millet makes a terribly thick mat when it comes out the back of the mower/conditioner. The no-till drilled Tiffleaf3 was up to my waist and not a seedstalk to be found, even down deep. We mowed the first third of the field last Wednesday; only to be rained on Thursday. The top half was dry Saturday so we single windrowed it with a side delivery rake in the afternoon. To get it off the ground and hope to aid the drying. Then we got a deluge late Sunday morning, at least an inch and a half. It rained again today, which killed our plan of flipping it over.

Enough of this struggle; it's time for bigger guns. I just got off the phone with the dealer and bought a new 2 basket tedder. Will tedder what's already down tomorrow and also mow the balance of the field before it has a chance to form seedstalks. Which will also be teddered right after mowing. I'm pulling out all the stops on this game. I can see already that you need to tedder this stuff right from the get go. I knew it would take at least 3 days of good drying weather but Holy Moly I don't know if it would ever have dried properly.

I'm going to bale it with a John Deere 24T square baler, raked in single windrows. There ain't no way in heck the baler could handle two rows of this millet. This is our first experience with baling it; we have always used rotational grazing in the past. We should be able to fit this first cutting in the barns, after they are full, the balance and future cuttings will be rolled up in round bales.
If it were mine, I'd roll what has gotten rained on. No use in putting that much effort and expense into square baling hay that has gotten wet more than once. Better luck on the rest. I wish we could swap weather.
Cough up the extra bucks and skip on the 2 basket and go with a 4 basket tedder. It will be more then twice as fast in the end.
I only have 11 acres of Tiffleaf3 planted for hay, so I'm going to stick with the 2 basket tedder. $2000 is enough of a cash expense for a tedder right now. I just spent another $2000 last week on a tractor repair and I just about refuse to have to make payments. But I truely appreciate the advise to buy a bigger one. I would like to tedder all the hay we put up; which only amounts to less than 200 big bales a year. I don't know that I could justify doubling the cost of a tedder for our use. The bottom line is that a little 2 basket model beats the living snot out of the "NO basket model" we've had until now. :lol2:

I haven't talked to the farm yet today to see if they had any rain but it poured here outside of St. Louis this morning. The farm is over in the center of the state by Jefferson City. If it rained there again, I'm afraid to think what kind of shape the downed millet is in by now. It's been on the ground a week today with 4 rains on it, if they got any today. I'm going to have to get it off the ground soon because it had already grown 5 inches from when it was cut Wednesday, till when we raked it Saturday. If it's junk it will be used to fill erosion ditches or for animal bedding, but it's got to get off the field.....one way or another. The plan right now is to get it dry enough to roll up in big bales. I asked around and nobody has the equipment to do high moisture bales or baleage.

Tytower, yes I'm very pleased with the millet, as always. I'll be way more pleased when we start catching a break in the weather and can deal with it properly instead of being in this current crisis mode.
You should have cut that Millet at 18" height (30 days after planting) > it grows fast doesnt it? I guess I should have warned you-- thought I did.............

I planted it June 1 and we cut the first of it July 8, so I was only about 8 days late. We had several good rains all through that time period. Wanted to cut it the week before but the rains didn't cooperate. We've been growing it for a few years now, so I sort of knew what to expect growth wise. But as I said earlier, this is the first time as hay, instead of turning the calves in on the smaller lots we grow when it gets up about 20 inches tall or so. That stuff really takes off once it gets its roots established and turns into a real plant. That's also the reason it regrows so quickly after grazing or mowing. The plant is growing at full throttle by then. Removing the top portion once it has a root system and has tillered out doesn't set it back at all, it simply blasts off again right away. I'll see how well the remainder of the field dries, with the assistance of the new tedder, and time the height of the second cutting accordingly. If I thought the rains would keep up, I would hit it with another 30 units of N or so after this first mowing is completed. Might still, after I take a look at our long term weather forecast.

I'm an absolute hybrid pearl millet fan; this stuff is mighty hard to beat. Depending on how the protien tests out, we are considering substituting it for the alfalfa portion of our ground feed recipie. Might have to tinker a bit with the soybean meal amount and will also have to see how well it breaks up as it goes through the grinder mixer.
Well Steve, you and I are the only fans of Hybrid Millet on this blog-- the rest of the CT Graziers tend to stick with the permanent pasture regiments and throw their profits away to the fertilizer co-ops-- I dont mind being a Millet fan if they dont mind being permanent pasture fanatics.
Good luck with you baling

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