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Hay Help Talk


 
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ChampagneNBeer
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Joined: 05 Jul 2020
Posts: 418


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2021 8:47 pm    Post subject: Hay Help Talk Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Hi All,

I am located on the west side and in far
upper north of Upper Michigan.

Our growing season is short with long days
and relatively high humidy. We average
around 3ish inches of rain per month during
the growing season and temps usually top
out around 80 with a sprinkle of 90's once
or twice throught the season.

We can have snow on the ground in late may
or as early as mid september - with frist
frosts thereabouts as well.

Most guys up here get 1 cutting a year of
hay and grow a timothy mix - but this is
for just lowish value hay for livestock.

A couple specialty hay guys a little south
of me do it right and get a great product
which is shipped all over the country.

With that backstory, I am looking to learn
more about growing high quality hay.

I am turning an old field back in a
(hopefully) profitable hay field.

I have been debating between a straight
crop, say alfalfa vs a horse pasture mix
with only 20ish percent alfalfa and grasses
etc...

Also debating between sickle cut with
tedder and rotary followed by bailer vs
mower vs conditioner.

Finding windows where hay cat lay to dry
can be a challenge, but also want to avoid
losses that conditioning can bring for the
increased dry down, if not necessary.

Any sage advice out there?
 
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Matt in Oz
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Joined: 05 Mar 2009
Posts: 98


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2021 3:56 am    Post subject: Re: Hay Help Talk Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Hi Champers and Beer I am on the other side of the world so will not offer direct advice save for this, I learnt from other local very experienced hay makers. It takes time and be ready to make mistakes. When you do get it right it is a very satisfying pursuit. All the best.
 
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ChampagneNBeer
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:29 am    Post subject: Re: Hay Help Talk Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Hi Matt,

It does seem an enjoyable persuit.

Sadly, very few, if any folks around me make commercial farm/hay products any more.
 
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David Snipes
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Joined: 29 Jan 2016
Posts: 709


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2021 12:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Hay Help Talk Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I would get in touch with the hay guys you mentioned. They might fill you in on hay in that area. You could even offer some free labor for them so you can gain first hand knowledge.
 
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Northvale PA
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Joined: 17 Dec 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 9:35 am    Post subject: Re: Hay Help Talk Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I can tell you a few things we do here in SE PA. It is humid here too but sounds like our growing season is two times longer. We use a NI disc mower conditioner. Open the shields wide. Use a four star tedder. Will tedd as soon as crop is wilted to get the tire tracks out and 2 hours later if possible. We grow for horse people and use the poorer hay for sheep. We grow alfalfa/ orchard grass mix and Timothy/ orchard grass mix. The straight grass is easier to dry and bale, costs less to fertilize, can be sprayed for weeds easier but doesnt grow much in dry weather. So we do both. I think you are going to have a challenge growing alfalfa as sounds like two cuts is all you will get. I would try a straight grass to start. We did. Weather is your biggest challenge with making dry hay. Your equipment choices need to be about speed and dependability, period.





 
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showcrop
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Joined: 13 Dec 2000
Posts: 30869
Location: Chester NH

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2021 12:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Hay Help Talk Reply to specific post Reply with quote


I have been producing horse hay in NH for 33 years. You don't mention ground moisture which is a huge factor here. Due to the ground moisture we have to condition and then we ted twice. I have not heard of "losses that conditioning can bring" Also due to ground moisture we need to mow it into a narrow swath so that we are not driving over it and pressing the fresh cut grass down into the soft ground. After mowing we let the hay and the ground dry in the swath for 4-5 hours before tedding it out. Stay away from alfalfa and clover you just don't have the drying time for them. You should stay away from bailing and stick to baling instead, LOL.
 
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