Equipment Used to Harvest Hay

Wright Stander Mower loaded for transport
March 16, 2021 Renan 0 Comments

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The key to many farmers’ success is finding the right equipment to do the job required without spending unnecessary profits. Hay harvesting implements are usually combined with a tractor, so before you shop for the right haymaking equipment, you must know your tractor’s specifications.

When it comes to haymaking, there are a few categories of must-have equipment:

  • Mowers
  • Tedders
  • Rakes
  • Balers

Choosing the Right Mower for Hay Harvesting

Mowers are one of the most crucial pieces of equipment, and they’re available in a wide range of shapes and sizes, from mini sickle bars to industrial mowers and self-propelled equipment. Most commonly, hay mowing attachments are mounted on a tractor’s three-point hitch. Of these attachments, there are three primary types.

Wright Stander Mower loaded for transport

Sickle Bar Mowers for Hay Harvesting

Sickle bar mowers were the first mechanical mowers to be invented, and horses initially pulled them. Modern-day sickle bar mowers still use the same reciprocating action, with triangular blades traveling back and forth between stationary guards. Every back-and-forth motion will shear any vegetation currently sitting between the two guard fingers and resembles the same movement that barbers’ clippers use when cutting hair. Not only do sickle bars cut grass, but they can also cut hay.

Some sickle bar mowers use a double-action mode that not only quietens the machine’s vibrations but also doubles the blade speed, increases longevity, and makes the haymaking equipment more comfortable to use. Another reason many people opt for sickle bar mowers is that they require minimal horsepower and can be utilized by tractors with 15hp or less. They’re also compatible with smaller tractors because they’re much lighter than drum mowers.

A sickle bar is an excellent investment if you find yourself regularly mowing ditch banks because the sickle mower can perform angled cutting at well above or well below horizontal. In some cases, you can even trim hayfield hedgerows and trail edges in the vertical position with this haymaking equipment.

Disc Mowers for Hay Harvesting

Disc mowers are the next leap forward in design, and instead of moveable triangular blades along a cutter bar, these hay mowers have many small top-mounted discs that rotate at high speeds. Typically, there are free-swinging blades bolted to each disc, which cut down hay at the required height. Much like sickle bars, these mowers usually operate close to ground level.

Drum Mowers for Hay Harvesting

Widely used in Europe over the last four decades, drum mowers are finally becoming a popular choice in the U.S. Drum mowers, unlike the other types discussed previously, don’t have blades powered by a cutter bar. Instead, the drums are powered by a gearbox. Standard mowers usually have two rotating drums with a large disc attached. Working in tandem with these rotating drums is typically 3-4 free-swinging blades on each disc. The entire assembly rotates when in use, and the heavy rotating mass carries a lot of momentum, which is excellent for clearing incredibly dense fields.

Hay Tedding Equipment

Hay tedders are used to spread and turn loose, cut hay left in the field. The tedding action exposes the hay on the underside to sunlight and air, which speeds up the drying process in areas where there are long drying times. Heavy hay in humid climates can dry much faster, and a tedder can also be used to spread hay out after heavy rains. While not essential everywhere in the U.S., tedders are nonetheless indispensable haymaking machines in certain areas.

Hay Rakes

Before baling hay, hay often needs to be raked into windrows. In most cases, the material does not dry well if it hasn’t been flipped by a tedder or raked. Also, the hay mower path may not be suitable for a baler to travel and can result in missed hay. Raking into windrows results in needing to make fewer passes across the field when it comes to baling time, and it helps to create better quality, consistent bales of hay. Multiple rake designs exist, with the most common styles being rotary, belt, parallel, and wheel rakes.

Hay Balers

Hay balers are used to create either round or square bales. Both shapes have their advantages. For instance, round bales are more weatherproof, while square bales are simpler to stack inside barns. The weight of bales can vary, and it’s possible to use balers to create either hardcore or softcore bales with different densities.

Tractor Transport Hauls All Hay Harvesting Equipment

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