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Tractor Talk Discussion Forum

how long before you bale your hay?

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mb58

05-03-2013 07:00:31
192.234.241.146



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I know the folks who post on here cover most of the USA and parts of "foreign" countries. I live in the southern US. I cut my hay (mostly bahai grass) and usually bale it two days later. I make the 5x4 round bales. It is stored outside and I have noticed a good bit of mildew/rot fairly deep down in the roll. I don"t check for moisture percentage with a tester-just use the ole touchy-feely method. Maybe I"m not letting it cure long enough. So how long do you fellers wait between cutting and baling?

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RodInNS

05-03-2013 22:39:17
216.118.158.123



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 07:00:31  
As little time as it takes to get it dry... That could be 2 days or 2 weeks around here.

Rod



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David G

05-03-2013 18:05:40
205.215.206.18



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 07:00:31  
Probably be August here.



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samn40

05-03-2013 11:48:56
109.155.142.221



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 07:00:31  

We are lucky if we can bale within 4-5 days....sometimes it has to lie for about 2 weeks or until the next available dry slot!!!! Most of our hay is now plastic wrapped into haylage bales to be safe. This past year even that was not possible.We just had to mow and bale the same day! Sam

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Zachary Hoyt

05-03-2013 10:23:26
184.10.234.103



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 07:00:31  
Most commonly I bale about 48 hours after mowing but it depends on conditions. Last summer was so dry here that I could bale the next day with no trouble. I have read about the twisting method to determine if it is dry enough but here in NY I have never seen hay that you could twist a handful of it and it would break. I know it varies in different parts of the country. I feel the hay in the windrow and if I am not sure I run a few bales through the baler, I can always tell if they are dry enough when they are compacted. I never made round bales so I don't know about that.
Zach

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showcrop

05-03-2013 10:07:35
75.67.231.80



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 07:00:31  
I have had the rare time when I could dry hay down in 36 hours but it is usually 3 days here in NH. I mow into a three foot wide swath, usually in the late afternoon or evening. We have to mow narrow because the ground is pretty much always moist and if we drive on it before it has dried any it will press down into the ground causing wet bunches. I ted out after four hours of drying so the bare ground has dried out some. I ted again after another four hours, then again or rake depending on how it has dried to that point. It needs at least two hours more drying after raking. Sometimes it will be nice and dry and I'll be baling, and start a new wagon and find I'm getting heavy bales, because moisture is coming up out of the ground. I find June the best before July brings the hazy hot humid weather. I have found that the positive way for me to tell if the grass is dry is to take a blade from down under, and put it over my index finger then drag the thumbnail of the other hand over it. If it turns a little darker it still has moisture that is squeezing out. If it stays pale green it is dry. The stems are dry too because of the crimping.

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Nebraska Cowman

05-03-2013 10:02:18
166.182.3.153



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 07:00:31  
Touchy feely is fine but you have to twist the hay and see if it breaks. If it's tough and hangs together it won't keep. You've learned that already I see. In this dry high plains i've cut grass in the afternoon and started baling the next morning. But you can't do that. On the other hand alfalfa I always leave a week. It takes a long time to dry out the stems. The only way to bale alfalfa is to let it get too dry and then bale early in the day or at night while it's "tough" or you loose all the leaves.

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GordoSD

05-03-2013 13:06:41
216.106.255.157



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to Nebraska Cowman, 05-03-2013 10:02:18  
Are you using a mower with conditioner. I got one three years ago and it cut my alfalfa drying time about 40% I will never bale between 11am and 7pm. Hay is like corn flakes during those hours.



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SD Pete

05-03-2013 09:01:12
24.111.80.167



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 07:00:31  
I have done prairie hay in 24 hours but usually needs 2 days of sun and wind. Alfalfa the best is 3 days. 4 or 5 days covers first cut alfalfa.



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dmiller

05-03-2013 08:59:00
65.116.73.226



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 07:00:31  
When I first started I was cutting brome grass with a sickle mower. Fairly light hay at about 1/2 ton to the acre. If I left it on the ground (not raked into a windrow). I could rake it about 24 hours later and bale it as soon as I got the rake off the field. This was in 90 degree weather with about 20 % humidity. I was a bit surprised.
This is not the norm around here though.



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LAA

05-03-2013 08:42:27
86.98.89.249



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 07:00:31  
I also bale a lot of Bahaia grass and store most of it outside, baling 3rd day after cutting with no rain should be plenty of time to dry if you have any sunshine and breeze, tedding or at least raking and then flipping will usually cut a day off for me. If its rotting down in the roll I would guess loose bales that don"t shed water well, you are not stacking your rolls or storing under trees are you?

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Ken Macfarlane

05-03-2013 08:37:37
142.166.168.2



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 07:00:31  
Atlantic Canada - humid and sunny days are usually still unless a storm is blowing in.
Day 1- cut with mower conditioner, ted after a couple of hours
Day 2 - Ted after dew has burned off at about 11 am -1 pm
Day 3 - Ted again if required otherwise start raking about noon and baling 2-3 pm to 7 pm if early in summer with long days.

Sometimes can compress to 2 days in perfect conditions, still needs 2 tedding operations.

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Stan - Florida

05-03-2013 08:26:55
50.89.239.59



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 07:00:31  
Well, I'd suggest that you cut it on Friday, go to Canton for three days during First Monday, go home and bale it.

Stan



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mb58

05-03-2013 14:59:45
98.80.1.179



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to Stan - Florida, 05-03-2013 08:26:55  
HA HA. Hello Stan. Good to hear from you. I agree. I would rather play than work any day. Hope all is well over your way.



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Stan - Florida

05-03-2013 16:46:50
50.89.239.59



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 14:59:45  
Yep, things are fine on the east coast of Florida.

Stan



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donjr

05-03-2013 08:07:41
72.71.186.172



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 07:00:31  
I live in N. Maryland, and the mid-Atlantic humidity can be brutal. I generally cut in the morning, and try to tedd hay as soon as I finish cutting. Especially with first (and heaviest) cutting, I usually tedd it again the second day on the ground, and will wait until the next day to bale, unless the humidity is down and the heat is up. Hay will get a 'crunch' to it when it is dry enough to bale, and no tough spots in clumpy areas. It will also rake easily and cleanly. Often, the color has a 'bluish' hue to it. It has to be extra dry to go into a round bale and store well. Most modern round balers pack a lot of material into them, and once made, a round bale will mold before drying out below storable levels. Hay has to be dry to really store well, which is the only 'plus' I see to small squares- they will dry some in the field and hay mow if some air can get to them. You can also 'skun' the side of the stalk and see moisture still present. Dry hay will not peel, where moist material will.

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State of Jefferson

05-03-2013 08:06:39
75.210.39.230



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 07:00:31  
Around here, Northern Cal, first cutting alfalfa is about a week on the ground. Cut, wait 6days, rake. Bale the next. That time gets cut to maybe 4 days by 3rd or 4th cutting.
Making grass hay in the High desert of Central Oreegone, where I grew up, it was generally a 4-5 day time frame. Cut, wait 2-3 days, rake, wait 2 days Bale. Rarely made a 3rd cutting. Growing season was just too short.

Ben

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James Howell

05-03-2013 07:29:10
70.196.4.184



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 07:00:31  
Here on the farm in NE Texas, usually wait until the third day to bale hay.

The majority of our hay is Bahiagrass.

 photo 020.jpg

 photo 021.jpg

Doesn"t take long to cure in the Texas heat, but baled one time after two days.

Grass was still a little too green and not cured; bales got really warm on the inside.

Never had a problem with mold, mildew, or rot on the inside of a bale that was stored outside.

 photo IMG_2788.jpg

You might consider adjusting you baler for less bale density.

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steve_in_mo

05-03-2013 07:24:51
168.166.54.11



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 07:00:31  
You might have an older neighbor help you refine your touchy-feely methodology. I remember the neighbor grabbing a handful of haw from a windrow and twisting it. If the stems broke it was time to bale. If the stems twisted we waited another day.



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ben there

05-03-2013 07:21:11
68.65.150.242



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 07:00:31  
depends entirely on the heat and humidity and time of day.i'm in south central Texas have have a Bahia patch...sometimes i cut and bale same day to keep color...i make 5 by 6 bales and store outside uncovered.



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dhermesc

05-03-2013 07:55:14
24.248.193.103



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to ben there, 05-03-2013 07:21:11  
Agreed, the heat, humidity and the amount of wind. Last summer in Kansas bluestem could be cut one morning and baling started the next morning - any longer than that and you were making straw. Also depends on how dry the ground is under the hay. Last summer the ground seemed to draw the moisture out of the hay instead of adding to it.

It also depends on how you cut it. Mowing it flat and letting it dry for a while then raking it into a windrow to dry some more seems to dry faster than dropping it out the back of a swather - even with it crimped.

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Caseyc

05-03-2013 07:19:35
75.102.189.131



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 07:00:31  
Up here in east central SD it all depends on the wind. The average is 3-4 days. I would say your not letting it cure long enough. I would guess you are much more humid then we are. Very dry here. If we get a good 90* day with a 40mph wind we might get ours in 2 days.

Casey in SD.



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charlie M

05-03-2013 07:16:49
74.41.94.226



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 Re: how long before you bale your hay? in reply to mb58, 05-03-2013 07:00:31  
Depends on a lot of things - type of hay, maturity, do you use a hay tedder, humidity. There isn't any set number of days - needs to be dry to store and not risk catching fire. I do mostly timothy hay with some clover and its in western NY. I cut on day one, ted on day 2 and if good weather its dry and bale on day 3. If the hay is very mature and it is very hot and dry I have seen situations where it would bale the next day after cutting. I sell only to horse people - they don't want any mold and I don't want any fires so it has to be dry, what ever it takes.

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