We are COUNTING THE DAYS until we can start mowing hay! It’s like therapy you don’t have to pay for if you ask me. So today, we’re going to talk about how can we shorten the time between when we cut hay and bale it. As an added bonus we’ll also touch on how we can produce a better quality forage.
We mow with a John Deere moco on our farm. In the process of putting up hay, some years are exceedingly challenging, from a drying time standpoint. Plus for us time is always of the essence. Therefor, it becomes really important to have as short a window between cutting and baling. The other thing we focus on is leaf retention; because leaf retention is where we get a lot of the protein and a lot of the feed value. Our main goal is to maintain as much forage as we can, leaving nothing behind in the field; and yet, keeping it in a way that it will stay good throughout the winter.
What we’re doing is as we’re cutting, we’re spraying Pro-Serve at the rate of a gallon per 100 ton of forage. Now, we also use Wex to speed up the drying as well which goes on at the rate of one quart for every 25 gallon of water. Our applicator tank is set up with a 12-volt pump. There’s a switch with a pressure gauge and a control toggle in the cab so we can control how much Proserve & Wex we’re putting on. The low-volume electric pump works great. We have four nozzles strung across the moco. They’re evenly spaced on our 14 foot cutter bar.
This is INCREDIBLY easy to do and costs less than $2.00 per ton at factory-direct pricing, so it’s very inexpensive. We’re very pleased with the results we see year in and year out. The best part about using this system is we typically cut our drying time by at least one full day. Where other people may mow on Tuesday and not be able to bale until Thursday or Friday; we start mowing on a Tuesday morning and bale Wednesday afternoon. As we come in and we do that, if there’s a rain coming, we can get by on a shorter window, which has saved us a lot of headaches.
Another benefit of this is we typically bale somewhere in the 18% moisture range. Baling at 18% moisture allows us to hang on to a whole bunch of leaf. If we can keep those leaves on the bale, we end up with more tonnage. We also end up with more protein. We’ll end up with more feed value.
I hope that you find this information beneficial and as always feel free to message us on Facebook, or give Rod a call at 641-919-1206.