Making your own hay can be a very cost-effective endeavor for farmers who have a large herd to feed. Rather than being held hostage by the high prices of purchasing hay from suppliers, or if you’re already growing hay and simply want to take the harvesting operation in-house, the purchase of hay equipment be a great investment for your farm.
There are a few important pieces of hay equipment that you’ll need to be able to get the job done well.
- Mowers – Sickle bar mowers are most often used by smaller farms, as they take more time to get the job done but can prove to be a little less expensive. Disc mowers are faster and more efficient, but require a heavier tractor with hydraulics to be effective. Drum mowers can be a great solution as they don’t require high horsepower or hydraulics.
- Tedders – Once you’ve cut your hay, the next important piece of hay equipment is the tedder. This machine will pick up the hay and redistribute it so that the underside of the pile can dry thoroughly. These come in a variety of sizes, making it easy for all sizes of farms to find the right equipment for the job.
- Rakes – There are several types of hay rakes. Wheel rakes will get the job done quickly, but the quality of the hay can be lower due to dirt and stones. Bar rakes are the simplest, but have become somewhat antiquated. Rotary rakes can manage both wet and dry hay, making them more versatile than other options. Belt rakes are also a great choice, as they are more compact and get the job done with higher quality.
- Balers – Round balers and square balers are the two main choices and are often a matter of personal preference. Some find that round bales are the easiest to transport, while others prefer smaller square balers for ease of use with day-to-day feeding tasks, stacking, and more.
With the right equipment, your investment will pay for itself in the money saved by not purchasing the hay you need for your livestock, and ensuring that you are able to control the quality of your harvest.