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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my son is wanting to do some hay work. He just bought a square baler and has a rake. We have an old Massey 31 sickle mower that we are getting the pto shaft fixed on. What would be a good mower for hay going forward? He will be doing mainly smaller fields like 10 acres and under. He hope to step up to a small round baler too like a Heston 530 his main market is the goat and sheep people around. He’s 14 and wants to be his own boss because he is involved heavily in CAP and commits a lot of time to that. Right now I have a Massey 2860E which is 57hp. He is looking to have his own tractor by the end of the year also like an Allis D17 or something like that. So should we look at a 7’ haybine? Or a drum mower? I don’t know anything about drum mowers they sure look interesting. I’ve never used a Tedder are they required with the drum mower? Looking for ideas on where to start. Thank you
 

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I can't recommend a tedder without knowing where you are located. If you're in the midwest or east then I'd definitely recommend a tedder, especially if you aren't using a conditioning mower.

I considered a drum mower when I was first getting into it, my biggest drawback was they didn't condition the hay and were narrow widths unless you had a huge tractor. If a field is bumpy it limits you from going too fast anyway, so then you just spend more time in the field due to less machine width.

I think a good machine for him would be a 9' haybine. I'd recommend something like a New Holland 488. They can be found all over and New Holland still makes them brand new to this day. They've been making them since the late 70's or early 80's. You can find them for around $3-3.5k+. They're considered the gold standard for haybines. Nicer machines will cost more of course. If you go the route of a haybine, be sure to inspect the rubber conditioning rolls to make sure they aren't peeling rubber excessively as the rolls are very expensive to replace, or you can keep them but won't have conditioning capability. In checking out a mower you'll also want to look over the wobble box to make sure it doesn't have any excessive play. One thing to do is try to cycle the machine by hand by the wobble box belt.

If you can move the wobble box belt to make the sickle bar move then that indicates the sickle is in good adjustment. If you cannot move it, that suggests there is binding on the sickle (it is poorly adjusted) and could spell problems for the wobble box.

On my 488 I can pull on the wobble box belt with very little effort to cycle the sickle with one hand.

He'll want 4-5 hay wagons with nice running gears (Deere gears are good), or lots of trailers. Even in a 5 acre field in first cutting, you can fill up 4 wagons real fast.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We are in northern Missouri. I’ve never seen a Tedder used before but I watched some drum mowing videos and they were teasing after they cut so I didn’t know if it was a must have or not. I was thinking a 7’ haybine just for using in the small acreages that he will be cutting. Of course we will have to add on to the lean too because I don’t want a haybine sitting outside
 

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Yes you will need a tedder no matter the cutter....a must with a drum mower...a day saver on a haybine cutter....if you get a haybine a stub guard machine I would consider a must
 

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In my area, tons of hay are cut with a simple 3pt disc mower without conditioning. When I first started haying, I had a Vicon four disc mower. Not very wide, but I always felt the three blade design on the vicon cutter heads allowed me to grab an extra gear or two. Always wondered why other brands didn't pick up on that design.
 

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I'm from center of Missouri. Haven't been putting up hay for a long time, but started with old stuff. Used a sickle bar mower , 40 hp tractor and bar rake. I have moved up over the years. got 100hp tractor. I almost bought a 7 ft disc mower, now I'm glad I got a 9 ft mower. I did buy a tedder by I don't use unless I have to, most of the time the two noon rule works. I think if you have a lot of clover you can loose a lot the more you beat on it. Things are a lot easer now then it used to be.

If he get setup he can find other small fields to cut, that people will be glad to get mow for free. They will let him have all the hay.

Good luck
It's nice to hear a young person wanting to do this.
 

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I have a 7' NH 467 Haybine, set up with stub guards, and it runs pretty decent now that I've rebuilt most of it. 7' Haybines and mowers are popular around here for small and weird shaped fields, which is why I wanted one. I would not be able to easily get into two of my small weird shaped pastures with a 9' mower.

If I could justify the cost of a disc mower, I'd definitely get one though, just to get the field cut faster. My equipment dealer started selling Samasz drum mowers this year, and they are a bit less money than a disc mower, so maybe that's somethin worth looking into.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok well he just sold his first 50 bales and is super excited. he has another field he can bale but our neighbor who mows it can’t get to it for a couple weeks. So we are going to have to get our own mower. New drum new disc or a used haybine our tractor could handle one of the new Massey disc mowers but a 5.5’ or 6,9’ cut is that worth it to have a disc mower? Being new I’d know how it was used and maintained any way. Also thinking about a small round baler too
 

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I'm in Kentucky...similar weather to you. I use a Reese drum mower..6 ft cut. It takes a lot of horsepower in heavy grass.
If you don't have a tedder you will lose hay quality and get some wet when an extra day of drying time is needed. You can buy a decent 2 basket tedder for under $1000. He is 14..he has time...he is not a BTO yet! A few extra hours in a tractor seat won't hurt him and with smaller and older equipment he will learn the business and not spend all his earnings on equipment payments. Sadly, a sickle mower will just be a huge frustration. Lots of the guys on this forum started with a small tractor, old haybine, cheap rake and old old baler. It is a little slow, but cheap. Be on the lookout for a few wagons to put the hay on. Hopefully he can sell it out of the field to people that load it themselves to save money.

Have fun! I started making hay at his age, and still do it because it is very gratifying to see a barn full of beautiful homegrown hay.
 
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