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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The simple question is when to rake after using a tedder? I live in eastern Iowa where we have lots of humidity and heavy morning dew. I grow alfalfa. I have a 10 foot Vermeer discbine with steel crimper, a 4 star tedder and a 12 wheel rake with a center kicker.

Before I got the tedder, the day I planned to bale I would rake the hay as soon as the dew burnt off. I would let the hay sit as long as I could after raking and still leave time to bale.

After I got my tedder, I would cut in the morning, ted the next morning before the dew burnt off and then wait an extra day to bale. I am still raking in the morning right after the dew burns off the day I bale. Usually around 10 am.

However, on my 4th cutting I went out the day after I tedded in the morning to check moisture around 11 am with my windrow tester. The hay was 44%. As expected, I figured no baling that day. Then around 6pm (not long before sun set), I checked again out of curiosity. The hay was 18.5. A little too wet and too late to bale since I had not raked it yet, but I was surprised it had dried that much. I started to wonder if I had raked earlier if I could have baled.

The next day I start raking @ 10:30. I finished up around 1:30. I check moisture around 5. The hay was around 19 %. This is about what it was the day before with no raking. There was a heavy morning dew so this was not too surprising. Then I checked the last field I raked. IT was around 16. This surprised me since it had 2 hours less drying time after raking.

After thinking about it, I started to wonder if I am doing this wrong. Instead of raking as soon as I can in the morning after a dew, I am wondering if it might be better to let the hay sit until just a couple hours before I want to bale. I am guessing the hay dried better after a heavy dew all spread out all day from the tedder rather than in a windrow from the rake right after the dew was dry.

The other option was to perhaps rake it the night before when it was 18.5. I am wondering if it was in a windrow if it would not have gotten so wet from the dew and therefore not taken so long to dry again the next day.

I ended up waiting an extra day for the entire crop to dry before baling.

I am wondering what others have experienced and when others rake when using a tedder.

I appreciate any insights and advice.

Thanks in advance
 

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With a heavy dew you just never know. You don't want to rake too much dew into the hay. Sometimes if you rake it up and get it offf the ground on a good drying day its good. Not a big fan of raking a day ahead if it gets wet in the row it won't dry. We did some raking the evening ahead this summer when it was dry raking multiple rows together and coming back in the morning and turning them one more time.
 

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As a rule I never do anything with hay if there's dew in it. I mow a little after noon, once most of the dew has burned off. I ted the next day, starting around 1, once the hay is dry and all the dew has burned off. Then on day 3, I start raking around 1 pm, again once all the dew has completely burned off. I find that in these heavy dews in the fall, in SW MI where I'm at (I'm originally from Iowa so I know the climate well) the dew isn't gone until 1 pm at the earliest unless it's a really windy morning. Otherwise you rake dew into the windrows and it will never get out.

I find having the hay tedded and spread out really helps the dew burn off more uniformly the following day on raking and baling day. It just seems to me you're doing everything too early.
 

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It seems your figuring it out.....I never rake till it's time to bale...our surface dew is predictable to dry around 10am...I sometimes will tedd again around noon if I plan on baling the next day...but usually will rake at noon and bale a couple hrs later.....with time you will learn your climate and equipment and learn to adjust to what the weather gives you that day don't be afraid to adjust as you go
 

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I have found, using advice from this forum, that using a rotary rake makes drying in the windrow much easier. We have lake effect here, so ground is often wet, as well as high humidity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
As a rule I never do anything with hay if there's dew in it. I mow a little after noon, once most of the dew has burned off. I ted the next day, starting around 1, once the hay is dry and all the dew has burned off. Then on day 3, I start raking around 1 pm, again once all the dew has completely burned off. I find that in these heavy dews in the fall, in SW MI where I'm at (I'm originally from Iowa so I know the climate well) the dew isn't gone until 1 pm at the earliest unless it's a really windy morning. Otherwise you rake dew into the windrows and it will never get out.

I find having the hay tedded and spread out really helps the dew burn off more uniformly the following day on raking and baling day. It just seems to me you're doing everything too early.
Do you have trouble with leaf shatter tedding after 1.00? I found that if I ted in the morning, I get very little shatter. This 4th crop I had a flat tire on the tedder. By the time I got it fixed it was around noon. I seemed to have terrible amounts of leaf shatter. I am still trying to figure this tedder thing out. This is my first year owning one. I am learning I need more patience and let the hay dry more before I touch it with anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It seems your figuring it out.....I never rake till it's time to bale...our surface dew is predictable to dry around 10am...I sometimes will tedd again around noon if I plan on baling the next day...but usually will rake at noon and bale a couple hrs later.....with time you will learn your climate and equipment and learn to adjust to what the weather gives you that day don't be afraid to adjust as you go
I am seeing a pattern of folks tedding after noon, but I was told the leaf shatter would be really bad if you ted in the afternoon. Tedding in the morning prevented it. I am beginning to think I have been reading the wrong advice. I am also seeing I need to wait until later to rake. While the dew may be dried, the hay is not after a heavy dew. Sounds like I am raking too soon. I need some patience.
 

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Do you have trouble with leaf shatter tedding after 1.00? I found that if I ted in the morning, I get very little shatter. This 4th crop I had a flat tire on the tedder. By the time I got it fixed it was around noon. I seemed to have terrible amounts of leaf shatter. I am still trying to figure this tedder thing out. This is my first year owning one.
I've owned three tedders. First was a little two basket, and then two four baskets after that. This summer after first cut I had to completely tear my tedder down. It was torn down as much as one could possibly tear a tedder down, to the point where it was just the shaft...because that's the part I had to replace. I was lost without it nonetheless, for my second and third cut. I just rely on them so much.

The fields I'm tedding are only grass. My alfalfa fields are custom jobs I do and they don't usually get tedded (because owner didn't think it needed it). In your case you'd need to ted while there was still some dew to reduce your shatter. Next year I'll be tedding the alfalfa mix as well because I was just getting a hard time with it getting dry enough with these heavy third cut dews. The third cut I tedded this year dried off great on baling day, because the hay was spread about instead of bunched up in a windrow. If it gets too dry on you, you could turn your RPMS down so it's not throwing it as hard.
 

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The other thing you could do too is ted right after you mow. You won't have leaf loss this way and I know a lot of people that do it that way.

I like tedding the next day better after the grass has had some time to dry a bit. Since it's lighter it fluffs and gets thrown out better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
With a heavy dew you just never know. You don't want to rake too much dew into the hay. Sometimes if you rake it up and get it offf the ground on a good drying day its good. Not a big fan of raking a day ahead if it gets wet in the row it won't dry. We did some raking the evening ahead this summer when it was dry raking multiple rows together and coming back in the morning and turning them one more time.
I have had to re-rake the following day a few times when the hay did not dry down enough the day before. I am not a fan of raking the night before but I see a few doing it. With the dew and the sun, it seems to bleach the hay even more. I am not sure if it effects the feed value but the bales are uglier.,
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The other thing you could do too is ted right after you mow. You won't have leaf loss this way and I know a lot of people that do it that way.

I like tedding the next day better after the grass has had some time to dry a bit. Since it's lighter it fluffs and gets thrown out better.
I have heard about tedding right after mowing but have never tried it. I think I will try it next year. I have heard some say it does not spread out as nice but it would avoid the leaf shatter and the morning dew issue. It is worth a try. IT is a shame I can not pull the tedder behind the dicsbine.
 

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a 4 star tedder and a 12 wheel rake with a center kicker.
This is my opinion, and opinion only, but I think this is a bad combination for alfalfa. I have been raking alfalfa with a V rake for 20 years now. We use a self propelled mower (was 14’ now 16’) and a Vermeer R2300 hydraulic powered bar rake. Also use a Rowse WR20 wheel rake sometimes. Swaths are laid as wide as possible (for dry hay anyway). It has been my observation consistently that thin alfalfa swaths will result in the rake rolling the crop up in a tight scroll that does not dry well; with heavier crop, rather than roll up in a tight scroll, the crop will lift up and flop over resulting in a fluffier windrow overall. This is with the bar rake. Whatever tendencies the bar rake has to make a tight windrow that dries poorly are considerably worse with the wheel rake. Our strategy is always to wait until the swaths are dryish on top before raking as this makes it easier to eliminate that roping action. Then drive the rake however fast is needed to get the crop to exit the rake in such a fashion as to minimize roping. It is fairly easy to accomplish this with the bar rake, not so easy with the wheel rake. Speed is your friend.

Now take the swaths and spread them out with a tedder, and the result will be a crop that is going to be that much more prone to rope up when it is raked, and the worst rake for that will be a wheel rake. Next worst will be a powered bar rake, best will be a rotary. My complaint about rotaries is how slow they are. I half jokingly say that you have about a 1/2 hour per day when alfalfa is just right for raking.

My strategy for dealing with alfalfa is to try to get the swaths wide and thin enough that teddering is not necessary.

One exception I have seen to the tendency for wheel rakes to rope hay worse than a hydraulic bar V rake is the wheel rakes designed with the top of the wheel tipped out, e. g. the Rowse Ultimate wheel rakes with the rubber mounted tines (and there are other brands like this). They have more of a lifting action that reduces roping compared to wheel rakes with the wheel perpendicular to the ground. Also the behavior of the rubber mounted tines is conducive to less roping action.
 
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I have heard about tedding right after mowing but have never tried it. I think I will try it next year. I have heard some say it does not spread out as nice but it would avoid the leaf shatter and the morning dew issue. It is worth a try. IT is a shame I can not pull the tedder behind the dicsbine.
The late Hay Wilson from TX would tell you that you need to chase the mower with the tedder. The idea is to keep the plant exposed to the sunlight so the stomata stay open and lose as much moisture as possible that first drying day. When the plants don’t sense light, the stomata close and dry down decreases.

I have had to re-rake the following day a few times when the hay did not dry down enough the day before. I am not a fan of raking the night before but I see a few doing it. With the dew and the sun, it seems to bleach the hay even more. I am not sure if it effects the feed value but the bales are uglier.,
I avoid raking the day before like the plague. Usually, the raked windrow will take on more moisture over night than it can lose the next day (especially if the dirt is black yet under the newly raked windrow), plus the bleach factor. Humidity and dew is what bleaches hay, not sun.
 

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This year I tedded right behind behind the disc mower (grass/clover mix hay). I usually do my hay work in late afternoon and evening after my day job. A couple times this year I would go back the next day and run the tedder at slow PTO speed and higher ground speed. If I could do that early in the day I could rake that evening and then bale the next day.
 
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