Making Hay

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LuckyJack

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I expect this question will get some laughs, but this is the "Beginners" board...and I am really a beginner!

How do you make hay? What are the steps? Equipment needed or desirable? I could really use a step-by-step from start to finish.

Thanks!
 

dun

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The bare bones would be first of all, suitable grass/or other forage. A tractor to pull the equipment and move the finished hay if round bales. Suitable hay cutting device, i.e. sicklebar, haybine, disk mower, rake, baler.
And the most important is good weather.

dun
 

Hawk

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I bet there are a bunch of farmers out in the hay fields there in Alabama right now. Why don't you go up to one of them and offer your help, for free. You will learn a lot about hay by the end of summer, probably more than you really wanted to know.
 

donnaIL

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and time...

it cost some just to buy good equipment...

its good to have an established field if not, add on seed, fertilizer and more hours...

the grass it grows so fast in the lawn...wish it was always the same...donna
 

Campground Cattle

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LuckyJack":1vgbogv5 said:
I expect this question will get some laughs, but this is the "Beginners" board...and I am really a beginner!

How do you make hay? What are the steps? Equipment needed or desirable? I could really use a step-by-step from start to finish.

Thanks!

Come see me I'll give you hands on experience. By the end of the summer, you might think anyone in the cattle business needs mental help.
 

CattleAnnie

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There's one thing missing from Dun's list that I don't bale without - a moisture tester. Never hit the field without it.

I don't know how it works in the States, but up here we have provincial Agriculture offices, and they are very obliging in the advice department. I'm guessing there is an equivalent in the US.

The suggestions involving advice from farmers in the area is pure gold. Most people that farm or ranch are more than willing to help out new farmers. Hence all the posts on this site.

I hope you're able to find the answers to your questions.
Take care.
 

dun

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I didn't include a tedder either. But that list is about as bare bones as you can get. Moisture tester, tedder, extra tractor, extra labor, those are all nice to haves and make the work easier, but hardly a necessity. I'ld almost be willing to wager that not 1 in 100 of people that put up hay have any of the above.

dun

CattleAnnie":3pfpuq85 said:
There's one thing missing from Dun's list that I don't bale without - a moisture tester. Never hit the field without it.

I don't know how it works in the States, but up here we have provincial Agriculture offices, and they are very obliging in the advice department. I'm guessing there is an equivalent in the US.

The suggestions involving advice from farmers in the area is pure gold. Most people that farm or ranch are more than willing to help out new farmers. Hence all the posts on this site.

I hope you're able to find the answers to your questions.
Take care.
 

jgn

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The way we test moisture around here is to grab two hands full off the ground and its either yep it'll bale or nope still to wet. Very seldom get a wrong reading.
 

dun

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Small world, that's how we do it too.

dun


jgn":25s049q7 said:
The way we test moisture around here is to grab two hands full off the ground and its either yep it'll bale or nope still to wet. Very seldom get a wrong reading.
 

dun

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Grass hay lends itself very well to the hand test. Legumes or anything that needs crimping to cure can make good use of a meter.

dun
 

dd

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I use the 2 hand method too but since we're on the subject a friend of mine got a moisture tester for Christmas and was asking what moisture round bales (mostly grass or grass/clover) should be baled at.
 

CattleAnnie

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Yes Dun, true about the grass hay, but up here the majority of what I wrap is alfalfa and the odd bit of clover, so I consider the moisture tester a real asset at haying time. You're right about the extra things a person can do without, personally I try not to rake if I can absolutely help it as it seems to lose a fair bit of leaf, but sometimes it's just got to be done. Extra help isn't an option here, at least not until the kids do some more growing. The way those guys eat it looks like it'll be sooner than later.

A question for you, what in sam hill is a 'tedder'? I've heard the word used in draft horse circles regarding horse drawn equipment, but it's something I've never come acros up here. Obviously since you're mentioning it in a post regarding haying it's something used for it, but what exactly?

Take care.
 

dd

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I'm not Dun but I'll try to answer your question. A tedder is basically a device to fluff up mowed hay in order to allow air to pass through it. Its basically 2 rotating (pto powered) sets of tines.
 

dun

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Good description. Think of an eggbeater with the beater part open at the bottom. Iy takes windrows of hay and scatters it so it can better dry. After a rain it's about the only way to get air to the hay so it can dry.
Legumes are realy prone to leave loss and we never raked it either. With brass we rake it to roll it to allow the bottom of the windrow to dry, or to combine multiple windrows to make larger "mouth fulls" for the baler. We put up 4X5, 5X5 and 6X6 bales.
It was a real education to start doing grass hay in round bales after having alwasy doing alfalfa in 130-160 lb 3-wire small squares.

dun

dd":dtjdwih5 said:
I'm not Dun but I'll try to answer your question. A tedder is basically a device to fluff up mowed hay in order to allow air to pass through it. Its basically 2 rotating (pto powered) sets of tines.
 

HandB

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We're baling hay over here up to 25% moisture on small bales, and 20-21% on 1 ton bales with no problem.
 

CattleAnnie

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Thanks dd and Dun. Sounds like an interesting piece of equipment.

We like to bale at as low a moisture content as possible, due to the fact that we feed hay right up till turn out in the end of May. Seems to store better. Usually 15% seems to be ideal up here. We'll go up to 18% if we have to, but prefer not to bale it too tough, especially if it's going to rain.

Have to admit that the in-tractor computerized moisture tester is one of my favorite toys...let's you know when you're hitting the tough stuff without stopping the tractor. Makes it easy to skip over to a dry windrow and leave the wet to dry longer. Kind of handy.

My favorite part of haying is running the disc bine. I just can't say enough good things about having that hydraswing. There's nothing like mowing the hay and breathing in the sweet smell of summer. Well, unless it's getting a chance to dip your line in a mountain river for some fishing when the haying's all done.

Take care.
 
A

Anonymous

make sure it is dry if your going to store it in your barn!! a co-worker of mine stored it rolled and to wet and it combusted!!! burned the barn to the ground and an additional 5 acres of pine trees and nearlly got his house. so be careful with that moisture content.
 

Campground Cattle

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jgn":34po121n said:
The way we test moisture around here is to grab two hands full off the ground and its either yep it'll bale or nope still to wet. Very seldom get a wrong reading.

Totally agree works everytime.
 
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Your baler will let know if you hittin it a little early. My New Holland square baler will start bustin strings as soon as it gets tough, and my Round baler makes a sound when baling tough hay, I just got to open the cab tractor window to hear it :D :D
 
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