I started haying our own field last year. I've only done it half a dozen times. About 3 acres.
One of my questions I always forget to ask between cuttings is what is the best way to pattern the raking, to get it ready for baling?
I currently rake two rows together, and it works fine. The day I go to bale it, I rake it one more time.
The problem is, the closer to the center of the field I get, the tighter the turns and more frequent. I don't like to make tight or frequent turns with the baler.
But if I bale in long straight rows, that means the rows are either too far apart or too close together, because when I u-turn the tractor at the end of each row, its sending the windrow the opposite direction. In other words, the rows are not the same distance apart. This makes it a little bit tricky to bale.
I don't want to overcomplicate things, but I was wondering if someone here can point me to a beginner's resource on the raking/windrowing part of the process.
PS- A thought just occurred to me -- I could wait to double up the rows until the final raking. That would probably help with drying too.