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As always looking for an education! Thanks!!

Coastal Hay Baling Readiness

Debating about whether a moisture meter is worth the investment or stay with old school? Or both?

Current method:

  1. Fertilized and got a ton of rain
  2. Coastal about 97% weed free, (very little vasey grass, herbicide worked!)
  3. Cut (when a High settles over Texas summer months, 78 low/90+ highs)
  4. Wait
  5. Hand break around noon on 2nd or 3rd day
  6. If breaks in 5 or 6 turns then bale
  7. Round bales only

Hay moisture:

I have heard to much and the bale will catch fire?

I have too little and the protein is sucked out?

Other reasons to care about moisture?


Method A:

  1. Grab a bunch in both hands and twist... Breaks in 5 or 6 turns... Hay is ready...
  2. Breaks in 10 to 12 twist then wait!

Method B:

  1. Moisture meter...how to use? What time of day? After dew dries?
    How to test fresh cut hay? How to test windrow?
  2. Stick probe immediately in first bale? Will it be the same or around the same moisture reading as the windrow?
  3. Baling starts when dew is dry or around noon to be safe?
  4. What reading for coastal?
  5. Worth the investment?

Method C:

  1. Cadillac probe... Two centers inside the baler with display in cab...
  2. Worth the investment for a non-commercial rancher?

Moisture meter recommendations?

  1. Delmhorst? 3 year warranty
  2. Agratronix? Branded for John Deere and New Holland? 2 year warranty and 1 year warranties? (red flag?)
  3. Other brands?

Thank you for the input! Be safe!


3,006 Posts
I just grab a handful and "wring it out" and then kink it in half to break the stems, stick it right up against my nose, and sniff-- If I can smell or feel moisture from the broken stems, it's too wet...

Here in summertime, with our 90-100 degree days, lots of sun, and usually some wind, most hay can be cut today, raked tomorrow, and baled the third day, no problem...

Sometimes bermudagrass does take a little longer to get the stems dry, if you're not conditioning, which most guys here aren't... probably 95% of folks running either 3 point or pull type non-conditioning disk mowers...

Later! OL JR :)

5,514 Posts
I've utilized a Delmhorst hand held moisture tester for many yrs. I rd bale a bale or two & if it test an average of 15% or below I rock & roll. Several yrs back I had a rd baler with moisture tester built in but it was no accurate enough for me. Maybe the sensors in baler chambers are more perfected now????
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