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How to Tell if my hay is dry enough to Bale?


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48 replies to this topic

#1 whitmerlegacyfarm

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 07:28 AM

Ok so i got my 10ac tedded yesterday was bout 75 deg with a breeze, forcast for today is 80 w/ breeze, it's the 3rd day on the ground. I'm curious w/out a moisture tester how can i tell if it is dry enough to bale. I had troubles last year w/ a 2nd and 3rd cutting. I've heard of the grab a hand full between ur 2 hands tight together and twist 2-3 times if it breaks your good.... Is that one way of knowing a little better? My thoughts are to ted again today as soon as the top dries again maybe rake and bale the one field that is thin, and let the rest of my 8.5 ac to rake and bale tomorrow. I just don't want to waste all this hay, bUT THE forcast for tomorrow as of now is overcast in the mid to upper 70s, with very slight chance of a shower late Sunday evening/nite. I'm using older equipment and small squares so i'm not real fast at production. Thanks all
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#2 whitmerlegacyfarm

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 07:30 AM

I'm located in PA forgot about that if it helps a little.

#3 NDVA HAYMAN

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 08:01 AM

Your weather and mine here in Va is very similar. If it were me, I would wait until the dew got off this am and then start to rake. I would rake as much as you can and start baling as soon as it's ready. The twist you were talking about would be fine. Move your hands like you would your feet when riding a bicycle and 2 to 4 turns the hay should break. That's how we used to do it before our fancy equipment. If you don't have it raked, then you can't bale it and if you need to, you can always spread it back out with the tedder. Hope you have enough help and good luck. Mike

#4 Texasmark

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 08:36 AM

I have used the 3 turn test for 30 years baling primarily heavy sudan/sorghum that is in a big windrow. Stems are usually large, even when you plant and cut to reduce their size, and even with a conditioner are hard to get dry. Not a scientific test, but it works for me. If I can bale on a warm-hot day with N. winds preferably (usually low humidity) with a good stiff breeze blowing in the afternoon, like from 1- 3 pm then quit I have my best luck. Overcast days with no wind, pretty much forget it; same with waiting too late in the day to bale.

Sometimes I fudge and on the 3rd turn some of the stems don't snap. Sometimes I bale it anyway and always regret it.

Problem I have with any kind of instrument is calibration and using as it was intended. When I was in industry our monitoring equipment was checked for calibration every 90 days. Most of us that work for ourselves, (going to bet) never have our instruments calibrated, so what good are they in making scientific decisions and I put a hay moisture tester in that category.

My 2c and we all have our opinions.
Mark

#5 whitmerlegacyfarm

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 09:04 AM

I see, we are to have sunshine till atleast noon tomorrow so that should give it time to dry the dew off and hopfully a breeze so i think i can get it a little dryer tomorrow also. We will see what happens today and how dry it seems to get w/ the 80 deg and breeze. I will keep you all posted anxious to see how many bales i come up with. All being done but dropping on wagon no kicker lol just man power mostly the wife and I and maybe a neighbor.

#6 JD3430

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 04:31 PM

I dropped 5 bills on Deere baler moisture tester and a hand held bale tester.
But the twist test is still the one I really trust.
I look at the electronics as a diagnostic tool.

#7 mlappin

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 09:43 PM

you can also use a microwave often to check your hay. http://www.agry.purd...ions/ID-172.htm

#8 Texasmark

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 07:47 AM

I dropped 5 bills on Deere baler moisture tester and a hand held bale tester.
But the twist test is still the one I really trust.
I look at the electronics as a diagnostic tool.


That one doesn't need calibration. Grin

#9 whitmerlegacyfarm

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 08:47 AM

you can also use a microwave often to check your hay. http://www.agry.purd...ions/ID-172.htm


Lol i keep reading over this and i'm not understanding it fully. I guess i will just stick to the twist test lol.

Today will be the 4th day on the ground low to mid 80s w/ a light a breeze. I have tedded twice now once each day(2nd and 3rd day). Still does not seem to be dry. I'm going to ted as soon as dew is off this morning. The top is defently dry. I need a different tedder. I have straight bar HS 8 tedder and it's just not cutting it. I beleive i need to make my swath thinner when I cut. I was running over part of it when cutting the next swath which it return has been hard to pick up w/ tedder let alone stratle the swath when tedding. I think tedding today and letting dry for a few more hrs will be the trick then rake about 1 or 2 and start baling. I got 10 ac. to bale just by dropping on ground/wagon before rain late tonight.

#10 endrow

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 09:43 AM

We are from Pa as well made a lot of dry hay this week 2.5 to 3 days from cut to bale. Due to prior rains the week before the reason your hay does not dry after tedding is the ground is wet beneath the tedded swath. Rake it asap to get it off the wet ground and it will be dry in several hours.

#11 Vol

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 12:26 PM

Best way to tell if your hay is dry enough is to bend over with your ear about 10" off the ground and listen for very faint coughing and hacking.....that would be your weevils and grasshoppers signaling that yes indeed your hay is dry enough. :P

Regards, Mike
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#12 whitmerlegacyfarm

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 08:12 PM

Well bad news. Couldn't get it dried enough. I raked it left it sit for 3 hours and started baling, was to wet. I did 85 bales and i just new it was to wait. I raked it again and flipped it over and waited a little longer tried again and just to wet. So now im stuck letting it sit w/ scattered thunderstorms for next 3 days. It was beautiful hay i just couldn't get it dry, i guess just to much moisture in ground. Where did i go wrong should i have raked a day sooner to let the ground dry out more. I thought i was doing the right thing i tedded it 3 days in a row. Just a major bummer, been looking forward to this since last fall. Guess it's all just a learning curve, just frustrating but it's a ton of fun.

Will the hay be ok in windrows if we get a shower or two. As soon as we get a dry day i will go and then ted it back out on the dry ground? I would say it was 85% dry, I believe i did the right move by not going on with the baling. Our horses are not picky with there hay so, the stuff i attempted making last year got rained on and they ate it all.

#13 NDVA HAYMAN

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 07:58 PM

If it was 85% dry, then the moisture was roughly 15% which is dry enough to bale depending on the type of hay (considering average leaf and stem moisture). Do you have conditioning rolls in your haybine? That is the only reason off hand that I can think of for it not drying. If you dont crimp the stems, it takes a lot longer. I cut my hay in a WIDE swath and run the tedder right behind the hay. That way, it's off the ground where the air can get under it and DRY. Mike

#14 JD3430

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 08:15 PM

I decided not to cut because of the "wet ground" factor. I was going to cut/bale starting last Thursday, but it had rained about 2 days before in PA and the ground was damp. I thought if I cut the hay, it would just be green hay laying on muddy ground, so I held off.

I once read (don't know if it was here) to not be too greedy and cut hay real low to the ground. Other than obvious reasons (cutters pick up lots of debris), cutting a little higher leaves taller stubble for the cut hay to lay on. The higher the hay off the ground, the better it dries. Who knows if that is right/wrong, but that's what I do. Seems like stubble grows back healthier if it is droughty, too. My fields are all bent over from heavy rain. Now the waiting game starts all over again. Got another system just moved in with lots of rain. Looks like another week+ of waiting.

#15 Amelia Farms

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 12:41 PM

Get yourself an old New Holland 68 baler. If it will bale the hay, it is dry enough!

That is the lesson I learned this year, my first year doing my own hay :)

#16 Walcar

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 01:09 PM

I cut hay last Tuesday and Wednesday and then let it lay in a wide swath for a couple of days. Did about 20 acres total. Raked half on Friday and baled that afternoon. I did the same thing with the remaining half Saturday. Made some of the nicest small squares I have seen. Here in south central Kentucky a wide swath seems to be part of the trick to get proper drying along with a cooperating Mother Nature.

#17 whitmerlegacyfarm

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 04:58 PM

Get yourself an old New Holland 68 baler. If it will bale the hay, it is dry enough!

That is the lesson I learned this year, my first year doing my own hay :)


Well i actually do have a NH 68. But that does not hold true for me lol. I baled a 3rd cutting last year when i bought the NH68 hay was extremely wait i ran 45 bales threw it no problem and the bales where super wet and heavy lol. So it baled it and it wasn't dry for sure. I stumbled acrossed a NH269 while getting a NH56 rake from a lady and she only wanted 400 bucks for the NH269 w/ a kicker so i brought that home to. The 269 is tieing like a champ it seems, but i only ran 85 bales threw never missed a one. Just got play w/ tensioner a little to get a more consistante bale i think.

Im headed now to ted my windrows back out from Sunday so when the weather does dry hopfully the hay will be salvagable and dry out. Not looking good though change of showers/tstorms for the next 5days.

Will the hay be ok?

#18 DYNOBOB

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 08:23 PM

As long as you bale dry bales it will be good for somebody. You can put an ad on CL and sell it for cows/goats. Just be honest about what it is.

.

#19 mlappin

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 08:50 PM

I decided not to cut because of the "wet ground" factor. I was going to cut/bale starting last Thursday, but it had rained about 2 days before in PA and the ground was damp. I thought if I cut the hay, it would just be green hay laying on muddy ground, so I held off.



Purdue recommends when wet ground is a factor to make your swaths as narrow as possible to expose more ground to sunshine and any breeze you may have then ted after the ground dries some between the rows. This is how I handle wet ground, the last couple of years with all the rain we had, if I waited for the ground to dry out on it's own might as well parked everything in the barn and went on a month vacation.
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#20 whitmerlegacyfarm

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 09:04 PM

I have been thinking about that the last couple of days. My hay is still on the ground and i i've tried tedding it back out and that is just not working so i raked it back up. I'm going to pray that no rains tonight into tomorrow and then flip windrow tomorrow afternoon and hopfully bale then. It's alredy bleached bad no color to it anymore. I duno what i'm going to do with it. If the horses don't seem to want to eat it i guess I will put a add on CL for a 1.00 a bale or something like that. Thanks all for the help just a big learning curve i guess. Just been looking forward to this first cutting since last fall.




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