With the start of the hay season approaching, it is a timely reminder for hay-makers to consider their hay making essentials.
Over the years, hay making has become an accurate process combining art and science with the use of mechanical instruments and the right judgment, particularly when it comes to timing.
‘‘Changes in technology and improvements in machinery — particularly the introduction of conditioners — has given hay-makers more flexibility, but timing is still one of the most crucial factors in making quality dry hay,’’ KUHN Farm Machinery managing director Bruno Fetiveau said.
‘‘Hay-makers not only need to time hay making to coincide with the right stage of plant growth and weather conditions, they also need to ensure they have time to inspect and service their machinery ready for harvest to avoid any unnecessary delays — delays which can never be made up.’’
While the maturity of the grass will be the deciding factor for when to start mowing, Mr Fetiveau said it was important to cut earlier in the season when the weather was less likely to be challenging and when the plants were putting most of their energy into vegetative growth.
‘‘By cutting earlier in the season using a combination of rear-mounted and front-mounted mower conditioners with oval shaped cutting discs like the KUHN FC 3125 DF and FC 10030 DF, hay-makers will be rewarded with an increase in the nutritional value of their hay.’’
To preserve this nutritional quality, Mr Fetiveau encouraged hay-makers to only use mower conditioners that incorporated steel finger conditioners and rubber or steel rollers, as well as centralised cutting height adjustment, like the KUHN FC 4060 TCS 4m trailed mower conditioner.
‘‘These mower-conditioners reduce drying time and adapt perfectly to different types of terrain, in turn helping preserve the crop’s nutritional quality which promotes high quality forage.’’
Once the hay is almost dry, it’s ready for raking and, according to Mr Fetiveau, this is possibly the most critical step in the hay making process.
‘‘More leaf loss can be caused by improper raking than by any other step in the hay making process so when hay-makers are raking, it’s important to use a rake that can follow ground contours and pick up the whole crop without contaminants and not roll the windrows too tightly.’’
There are several different types of rakes available for hay-makers, including single-rotor, double-rotor central delivery, side delivery and four-rotor hydraulic versions.
For more information, visit: www.kuhn.com.au