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tedding questions


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#1 IAhaymakr

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 08:13 AM

We are new to tedding here. I bought a krone 25' this summer in desperation, mostly to rescue rained on hay, and it worked good for that. Recently we tried it out to help speed along good hay. I cut a little over 500 acres in two days, and tedded everything that was cut the second day about three days after cutting. I tedded early in the morning with a heavy dew (its always heavy any more). Some of this hay was 100% alf and some was 50% alf and 50% orchardgrass. I expected that the tedded hay would be ready to bale faster than the non-tedded, but it wasn't. Might have even set it back a little. Where did I go wrong? The drying conditions were only fair, but at least it wasn't raining. All of this hay took six days to bale, and even then it wasn't any too dry. BTW, I tried different speeds with the tedder, everything from fast rpm ( really spreads the hay out) to slow rpm (just stirring it up a little). There must be a better way for all the tedders in use out there.

#2 UpNorth

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 09:03 AM

The slow drying could be due to any number of factors. Sometimes even if you do everything right Mother Nature just doesn't help.

How wide did you cut your swaths compared to the cutting width? A flat wide row will dry faster than a thick windrow in most cases, especially here in the Midwest. The speed of the tedder should only matter as far as it effects how well you spread out the windrow or swath. You might want to consider applying a desicant (potassium or sodium-carbonate solution) at hay cutting if you are consistantly having trouble drying your hay.
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#3 brent

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 10:01 AM

The fellow that is mentoring me on learning to make hay told me first season,
"second cut, or third cut forget everytning you've learned"

Open the swath gates on the mower as wide as possible. You want a wide shallow swath.
Take the gates right off the reconditioner so it lays down as wide as possible.

OK so then I get a neat Fransgard rotary rake. Too eager to use is. I run it up and down and make neat fluffy windrows that look great but don't dry. I've now raked 3 times and the stems on the alfalfa still have too much moisture. If I could "unrake" I'd do it.

The comments from UpNorth are pretty much on the money.

Takes more time and more exposure this time of year

Edited by brent, 06 September 2009 - 10:03 AM.

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#4 hay wilson in TX

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 10:53 AM

There are a few rules we must work with to cure hay.

First is 75% of hay curing is with sunshine on the hay. Yes hay will dry in the dark with a good breeze and almost no humidity.
Second the 25% of the remainder of the curing effect is from wind, low humidity, dry ground, and some other factors.

The first big moisture loss (30%) is the first day, with the moisture going out the openings in the leaf underside. This is true as long as the leaves are in sunlight. Put the leaves in the shade and the stomata (leaf openings) close. This is the reason we want to drop the hay in as wide a swath as possible. This is also why the ideal time to use the tedder is right after cutting. Conditioning has little or no effect here.
Where conditioning comes in is with the sunshine directly on the stems the moisture is warmed in the stems and this builds vapor pressure and forces the moisture out the nearest opening. This effect is seen not only on the first day but on following days.

Another rule we need to work with is there is leaf shatter, total dry matter loss, & quality loss if raked or using a tedder when the hay's moisture is below 40%. We can assure we have this moisture in the few hours after mowing, or if the relative humidity is at or above 90% (at ground level!).

(You gain by quickly getting the hay down to below 48% moisture because this is where the cells die and quit burning up energy. The hay will have more energy and as importantly be accepted better by the animals.)
The graph on page 9 http://utahhay.usu.e...onditioning.pdf is very instructional. You will notice how much more pan evaporation is required for a narrow windrow than for a full width exposure. This graph is also a good tool to estimate how long it will take for the hay to cure.

Allow me to say again this is all driven by the power of direct sunshine. It really applies to hay put up in our humid climate. Our friends in the Arid West with their climate have different problems. There the hay will be too dry to rake within hours of mowing and the humidity will never be high enough to allow raking with minimal leaf shatter. Their almost zero humidity and almost sure good breeze means they do not NEED the direct sun shine to cure the hay. They probably have in excess of 0.50" of pan evaporation. That is a climate where rain evaporates before it can reach the ground! At least during the summer.


All the above is what we must work with just to get hay dry enough, where we can safely bale, with out heating or molding.
There are no strict rules on using a tedder. I do not use the tedder when the yield is less than 2 Tons/A. When the yield is down close to a ton/A I will drop the hay in a wide windrow rather than a wide swath.
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#5 hay wilson in TX

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 11:02 AM

The best single source of information on curing hay is:
http://www.wvu.edu/~...r/TRIM/5811.pdf

Be sure to read the Conclusion.
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#6 nwfarmer

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 11:42 AM

Right on. We don't rake unless absolutely necessary. Our bales are very dark green throughout when baled. We have to bale in the morning when there is some dew to moisten the hay. We do have to deal with wind, sometimes over 80 mph that does blow hay all over the place. The wind also dries and when rakes we lose lots of leaves. I just can't be helped.

#7 UpNorth

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 02:22 PM

As always hay wilson you're on the money with this dry down issue. The only thing I would add to my earlier post is that conditioning with rollers will help reduce the stem moisture, while raking/tedding will only help dry leaves that still wet.

IAhaymakr you should check out my article at the following link

Reducing Drying Time of Hay and Hay Silage In the Field | HayTalk - Hay & Forage Community
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Posted 06 September 2009 - 08:45 PM

...and tedded everything <snip> about three days after cutting....

I would say that was the problem.

As mentioned, we lay the windrow out as wide as possible when cutting. If we cut in the AM of Day 1, I will try to tett the AM of day 2. If we cut in the PM of day 1, I will likely tett in the AM of day 3.

Also, with the heavy dew this time of year, and if you have a small weather window, you might want to consider tetting every morning. It really shakes the dew off.
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#9 Rodney R

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 03:20 PM

You get to cover a lot more acres than we can in a day. Here late, we've had a baling window that has been about an hour. It's about all we can do with 2 little balers to get 4-5 stacks baled before it gets too wet. As soon as the sun sets here the alfalfa gets real sticky.

Anyway, we've been fighting wet ground all year - I was cutting hay that had a little standing water...... mud on the tires of the haybine???? The last few acres we've cut have been laid in a narrow row, and that has let the ground get a little dry the 1st day, then the 2nd moring we come by and ted, and it might have to be tedded each mring thereafter - it seems the dew really mats it down, and with the wet ground, it's darn near impossible to dry. I can rake the whole mess at the end of a day, and then we just have to flip the rolls and bale them - in some cases we can bale right after the rake, but not always. It has been a real fight, and it's costing a lot more to make hay this year than it did last year - I'm sure it'll be worth a lot more!!! :-)

Rodney
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Posted 07 September 2009 - 11:27 PM

....then the 2nd moring we come by and ted, and it might have to be tedded each moring thereafter - it seems the dew really mats it down, and with the wet ground, it's darn near impossible to dry. It has been a real fight.....

Yes Rodney, for us, last year was an absolute nightmare. I'm not sure if this year is quite as bad....or maybe this has become "normal" for us. I know I have cursed the discbine for cutting so low to the ground and wished I had the sickle mowers back. It's hard to cure hay when it's lying in the mud.

#11 Production Acres

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 06:34 AM

I know I have cursed the discbine for cutting so low to the ground and wished I had the sickle mowers back. It's hard to cure hay when it's lying in the mud


can you not raise the height of the cutterbar on the discmower? In wet conditions we almost always leave a 3-4" stubble.

#12 Production Acres

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 07:30 AM

[quote name='IAhaymakr']. I expected that the tedded hay would be ready to bale faster than the non-tedded, but it wasn't. Might have even set it back a little. Where did I go wrong? The drying conditions were only fair, but at least it wasn't raining. All of this hay took six days to bale, and even then it wasn't any too dry. BTW, I tried different speeds with the tedder, everything from fast rpm ( really spreads the hay out) to slow rpm (just stirring it up a little). QUOTE]

It would be hard to make hay in the east without a tedder; tedders are not microwave hay driers. There are some situations in the late summer when we have tedded a field once or twice and the windrows around a tree that the tedder did not get are drier than the part of the field we tedded. We believe this situation occurs when you are tedding and knocking all the dry matter off the leaves, stems, etc. Thus the leaf shatter is so great that the stems you have left are actually higher in moisture than the windrow without all the leaf shatter due to all the dry matter still being in the windrow.
Based on your statements I would suggest you tedded too late and had more leaf shatter than you thought. We run a krone tedder as well and normally run it around 1500 rpm (on a JD). Usually we try to tedd all alfalfa mixes on the day we cut the hay or early the next day. Grass hay, you can be slightly more aggressive.
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#13 hay wilson in TX

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 02:49 PM

It is just a fact of life that without drying conditions hay simply will not cure.

As has been said hay drying is 75% sunshine. With out sunshine a tall (peaked) windrow will cure just as fast with air circulation and low humidity. On problem is there are times all three are working against us.

What a 540 PTO RPM is good for is to nock all the leaves off so there will be half as much sorry hay to dispose of than if the leaves were saved. It can be interesting to shoot a rooster tail of hay out the back of a tedder!!!!

For a good tedding action 300 to 350 PTO RPM is better.

With no or little sun with high humidity, damp soil, and little air movement we are SOL.
Then our alternatives is baled silage, or forced drying with heat and air.
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Posted 08 September 2009 - 05:54 PM

can you not raise the height of the cutterbar on the discmower? In wet conditions we almost always leave a 3-4" stubble.

It doesn't seem to gut as well that way. Leaves streaks etc.

#15 Rodney R

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 08:14 PM

About the only thing we can do on our discbine is tilt the knives rearward - that will raise the cutting height, and we do that in grass hay.... the alflafa that we have been cutting lately is so flat to the ground, I almost need a potato digger to get it!

Rank - I think we had nearly to complete opposite last year - it was so dry. An absolute pleasure to make hay - the one night I picked up bales until 5 AM the next morning!

Rodney

#16 Wrenchbender

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 08:16 PM

I read HayWilson and other's comments earlier this spring on getting the hay spread out for exposure to the sun. My normal operation was to mow in a windrow to allow the ground to dry and then ted the next morning.

I tried mowing and running the tedder right behind. It sure has seemed to work well. I've had alf/orch mixed hay that in some cases would have bailed the next day and definitely did on the third. I have tedded a second time the second morning in a few fields but I'm not sure it was really needed.

I have a four basket tedder and pull it with an Oliver 77. I only run enough RPM to spread the hay well and slow enough to pick up all the hay.

Just my experiences this year, WB<><.
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#17 coyote

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 10:52 AM

Lots of thoughts and ideas listed above. I Like to think other people might know things I dont, and thus I try to listen to others experience. My experience though, is that tedding wet hay, either in the am with dew on it, or at any point after cutting, is a waste of fuel. The only time I ever ted wet hay is to bust up a windrow that got wet. Generally, I found the best use of a tedder is to get the dry hay on top under the green and wetter hay thats on the bottom. I will cut and generally within 24 hours the top will be drying down nicely but way ahead of the hay on the underside. Running the tedder mixes everything up, opens up the hay and allows sunshine and air to get to the hay that has not curred as fast as that on top. Generally, I dont tedder at all in good conditions. The top will dry out nicely in 24-48 hours, rake it into windows and the rest drys out good and then its baling time. If your whole field is green and wet, you only gain minimally by spreading out the hay a bit with the tedder. A tedder is a hay tool, giving you an option to mix the hay and manipulate the drying effect on all parts of the hay. Use it to late and you knock off leaves. Just rake the hay. Use it too early and you add nothing or change nothing to the hay drying cycle. Hay making is an art. Hope my thoughts helped.
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#18 OneManShow

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 12:23 PM

Can't add too much, but I will share what works well for us. I mow in the morning and lay as wide a swath as possible, and keep the conditioner down tight. We tedd as soon as we're done mowing. We also have a high stubble kit on our discbine mower which lets us leave as much a 51/4" of stubble (we leave about 3 1/4" stubble). If the weather is cooperative I'll rake on the second day-(if not I'll ted it again). Then after the dew is off on the 3rd day I re-rake the windrows to dry ground and bale. With high humidity or high ground moisture, or rain everything changes-but then I shouldn't preach to the choir. I will say that tedding usually shortens our curing time by about two days-gives us greener higher quality hay than if we just let it sit for 4-6 days.
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#19 hay wilson in TX

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 05:23 PM

There are some universal laws that apply to hay curing, problem is the local climate drastically effects how these universal laws effect each of us.

First universal law is the hay will loose about a third of it's moisture through the leaves, if the stoma stay open. The stoma stay open as long as there is direct sunlight on the hay. Hay at the bottom of a windrow or swath is in the shade and the stomata close.

When the hay dries down to 48% moisture respiration is at an end.

The above is one reason to follow the swather with a tedder.

Next related chapter of the law for curing hay is,
As long as the hay has 40% moisture the leaves are less likely to shatter off.
If the humidity at the windrow is at or above 90% RH the hay moisture will be 40%, at the weather station does not count.

This is the reason to rake or use a tedder right after swathing or with the morning humidity.

Another related chapter is when baling hay when the humidity is below 50 or 55% RH the leaves will shatter excessively. When the humidity get above 65% RH the hay will bale on the damp side and will be tough and just may mold. Again this is down at the windrow not at the weather station or even at eye level . It is not unusual for the humidity at eye level to be below 55% and the hay still be damp with dew. At least that is true here in CenTex.

An interesting chapter tells us that 75% of hay curing is due to sunshine. Thing is some parts of the country have such a low humidity and high winds that they do not NEED sunshine to cure the hay.
As most on these pages can attest to if it is cloudy and little or no sunshine there hay is slow to cure regardless of what we do, with the exception of artificial drying.

It would help all of us to evaluate your observations if we knew where you are located. That should give us a reasonable idea of your weather, and soil conditions.

Onemanshow excellent observatins.
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#20 Customfarming

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 11:08 PM

from my experience which we mainly do bermudagrass, T-85 and coastal. if the ground is wet we move the conditioner plates in so we leave some ground visible to dry but if the ground is dry we lay it wide but we only ted the next day if we ted at all. our experience with grass is the more you ted it the more the sun bleaches the hay losing that precious green color. I have seen if you can leave the hay without tedding an extra day it dries out and the hay has that greenier color than if you tedded it out and baled it the day before.




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