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A tedder is a farm tool used to make hay. The tedder has been around for over a hundred years. The exact year it was invented is up for debate, but the consensus is that it was developed sometime in the late 1800s.
The Function of a Tedder
Tedders spread and turn loose hay out in the field. By turning over loose hay, it’s aerated. Aeration means it exposes the underside to the sun and air, which helps speed the drying process. The machine grabs the hay using a rotary motion and also rakes it into columns. Once the hay has dried and is in columns, it is made into hay bales.
Originally, the tedder included two wheels attached to a spur wheel and a pinion, which drove a set of rake wheels. The rake wheels had several rakes that dispersed the hay. Early tedders were pulled by a horse. The invention of the tedder helped farmers and ranchers work faster and more efficiently. A farmer with a tedder and a horse could do more than several laborers.
Modern tedders still utilize some of the same design principals as the original tedders. But they have also come a long way in terms of efficiency. Tedders are now power operated and come in a variety of sizes from six feet wide to over 20 feet. Tedders are also available with a different number of rotaries.
To operate, a tedder is attached to a tractor, which powers the machine through a power take-off (PTO). A PTO is a way to transfer power from the tractor’s engine to a machine. Tedders do not use much horsepower, so they work with most tractors. Most also have a parking stand, which keeps the tedder stable when it is not attached to a tractor.