Need Hay Making Advice

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MiCarl
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Need Hay Making Advice

Postby MiCarl » Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:17 am

At the educational farm where I volunteer we cut a small field (6 acres) of alfalfa hay Thursday. We turned it Friday afternoon and raked into windrows Saturday afternoon with the intention of baling Sunday. On Sunday after 20 bales our baler broke down and the part will be in Tuesday with the baler ready to work again on Sunday.

We'd like to salvage the hay.

The windrows have been raked with a wheel rake which I understand packs the hay rather tightly and inhibits drying. What we're trying to decide is whether it would be best to leave the hay untouched or if it would make sense to rake the windrows together to further reduce drying.

Any input would be appreciated.
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Re: Need Hay Making Advice

Postby v w » Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:41 am

Your hay quality will suffer being cut that long. Has there been any rain? Rain will drive the hay down and I would immediately rerake (or ted which is better). The hay will lie for over a week. The new growth will start to grow into the windrows and reraking will pull it back to the top and help with drying. I would not rake the windrows together unless they are small. If you are able to ted the hay that would help. Then rerake I would do nothing to reduce the drying. There is no such thing as hay too dry to bale. Baling wet hay is dangerous and a fire hazard. Vern

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Re: Need Hay Making Advice

Postby MiCarl » Mon Jul 27, 2020 7:07 am

We know we're losing hay quality. I'm also sure the hay on top of the windrows will get pretty sun bleached. We were at 18% moisture when we raked it. We are making small square bales.

We were supposed to get rain today/tonight but that's been reduced to a slim chance. We will rake again if we get rain. We only have a wheel rake which can be set up to spread or turn, no tedder.

Our baler has a pretty narrow pick up so we don't rake big windrows. If we were to rake two or more together we'd probably have to spread/rake again to get windrows that would work with the baler.

The way I see it the hay on top is going to get pretty severely sun bleached. By raking together we'd have less exposed to the sun but we'll be mixing it around so hay that's been protected will get exposed. Also I don't want to excessively handle and knock all the leaves off the alfalfa.
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Re: Need Hay Making Advice

Postby tst » Mon Jul 27, 2020 7:38 am

the sooner the better that it is baled if it is going to be feed hay, loses its nutrients laying around, rake it again to keep the bottom from rotting, ok for a cow but would not feed to a horse

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Re: Need Hay Making Advice

Postby Eugene » Mon Jul 27, 2020 9:00 am

How long is the baler going to be down?

Neighbor with round bailer and wraper?
I have an excuse. CRS.

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Re: Need Hay Making Advice

Postby Jim Becker » Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:54 am

If it is on the ground too long, it will not only bleach out but the leaves will be so dry that most will fall off while baling. You will end up with just stems, maybe it will make straw. Don't rake it into big windrows that you will need to respread -- again you knock all the leaves off.

As tst said, if it gets wet and starts to rot, it is no good for horses. On the other hand, if it overdries and the leaves fall off, it is useless for cows even if it doesn't get wet. If it is on the ground for a week, it is likely to both loose the leaves and get wet. You might as well harvest it directly into a manure spreader as that is what you will have.

Find somebody with a working baler and get it baled before it deteriorates any more!

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Re: Need Hay Making Advice

Postby MiCarl » Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:30 pm

It looks like the rain is going to pass us by. The humidity has been high and today it's been mostly cloudy so that is probably working for us. The city has grown up around this small farm so it's unlikely there is anyone close by with a square baler (we don't have storage for round bales). We only expect to get about 200 bales.

We're feeding horses, sheep, goats and one cow. I know it won't be the best hay but it will be better than no hay.

Unless we get rain we don't plan to touch it until we bale. We expect to have the baler repaired Wednesday and will bale then. It will have been cut for 6 days and in windrows for 4 of those days.
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Re: Need Hay Making Advice

Postby tst » Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:03 pm

would not feed it the horses, they need no excuse to get sick as it is

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Re: Need Hay Making Advice

Postby v w » Tue Jul 28, 2020 6:54 am

[quote="MiCarl"].......................deleted............ The city has grown up around this small farm so it's unlikely there is anyone close by with a square baler .................deleted...............

You might be surprised if you know any farmers in the area. Small squares are seldom seen here but I know of two within a mile of me.

Let us know the outcome.

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Re: Need Hay Making Advice

Postby SONNY » Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:47 am

chop it up with a bush hog and call it a loss! ----IF you feed that crap to livestock--it would be like feeding them sawdust!--IF you care about your animals do NOT feed this crap to them!
Another thing hay laying this long does is pick up deadly bacteria from the dew and from the dirt itself making it not fit for any livestock.


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