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Country Discussion Topics
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Finer points of haymaking?
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Tom A    Posted 05-24-2001 at 05:22:33       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Long question, but please bear with me!

Only been making hay for a year now, last year's turned out pretty decent. But I'd like to hear different opinions on the best way to handle rain that shows up after hay is cut but before it is baled. During the week I can only work the farm after work...a few hours of light this time of day.

I don't have a crimper or tedder and can't afford either right now. I have a very basic setup: 40+ year old sicklebar mower, rake, and square baler.

For example, yesterday (Wednesday) after work I cut a field. In places it is fairly heavy grass hay. The weather forecast is calling for showers tomorrow. So am I probably better off raking this evening, and letting it finish drying in windrows and bale it Saturday after the possible Friday rain....OR should I let it dry as it fell an additional day today and either let it get rained on Friday or windrow it Friday if no rain and bale after it is dry again, hopefully Saturday?

thanks for all opinions and explanations!

Canadian Cowboy    Posted 05-25-2001 at 18:39:07       [Reply]  [Send Email]
here's a thought,
Get a hold of local weather records and look for a pattern, If your cutting hay now, i would think you will be getting several other cuts over the summer,

Im willing to bet that you will discover a pattern, that every 30 days or so you will get a break of good weather in bettween bad, do you follow. when good cutting weather comes along like now, you can expect it again in 20-35 days time all through the summer.

Take not of what the local dairy men are doing, when there cutting silage or hay, talk to them about it, bet you discover they wil have found the pattern,

It dosen't cost you nothing but a bit time waiting for good days. Find out your local cutting days cycle.

rhudson    Posted 05-24-2001 at 20:59:22       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Tom, i've been cutting hay the way you are for about 25 years now. i cut fescue and clover and live in virginia. our humidity is very high. it takes about 5 good days to dry my hay, unless there is low humidity and a good breeze. find a good internet weather site with 5 day forcast and good radar images. i cut what i think i can rake the afternoon and or morning of the day i bale. it would help if i had someone to rake while i baled but i don't. rain the day or day after cutting not a big problem. rain after windrowing, problem. i considered looking into the chemical additives that allow you to bale damp or green hay, but switched slowly to round baler and larger, wider, faster cutting and raking. so i can put hay into a bale faster and can relax some before getting it out of the field. i put up about 200 tons a year with hay equipment i spent about $2500 and a lot of elbow grease on. one man hay aint easy, but i like it.

Wolf    Posted 05-24-2001 at 18:52:35       [Reply]  [No Email]
Like the others have said, leave it lay until after the rain has passed. Not only will you have a chance of mold and mildew if you rake it before the rain, but if you have to re-rake it, it'll be tough. And that mold and mildew inside the bales is what causes barn fires....spontaneous combustion.

Mike Taylor    Posted 05-24-2001 at 09:13:13       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hey, my dad bailed 1000's of tons with such a 'basic' setup. He had a John Deere square baler. I still have muscles caused by hauling the stuff!

Let it dry before raking. Winds probably would destroy the windrow anyway, forcing you to have to rake it again. Make sure its good and dry before baling.

Also, keep your hay meadows fenced and don't let cows in. Every cow pile will sprout weeds!

LazyHorse    Posted 05-24-2001 at 06:08:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hay will cure better if you leave it laying flat until after the rain has passed then rake it, and bale after it's dry. If you put it in windrows, then it gets rained on it is harder for it to dry properly, and will promote mold & mildew in the hay.

eleri roberts    Posted 07-14-2002 at 10:50:12       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Do you have any problems with mould dust during the feeding process of hay during winter? Have any of you farmers develope Farmers Lung as a result of exposure to hay mould during the handling and feeding stage? Do you have a risk assessment for the handling and feeding process? If you have any information at all on the above, I would be very greatful, I am doing a project on Farmers Lung in the UK for a collage course.

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