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  #1  
Old 02/21/13, 12:29 AM
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: NewBlaine,AR
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Making and storing hay without a tractor

Hello all,
i have a dilema, I dont really understand hay or how to choose good quality hay.
so i would like to try growing and harvesting my own hay, if it's possible.
i have nubian goats and a they like really leafy hay, of the type most people wouldn't feed to a horse or cattle, like johnson grass, vetch, crab grass and timothy.
i know goats aren't really grass eaters unless theres nothing else to eat.
they like bermuda green in the field but wont eat bermuda hay.
so i would like some sound advice on what to grow, how to grow it, here in Arkansas.
also i only have a four-wheeler and a pick-up.
can i bush hogg my grass then wind row it to dry?
Also ive only got 4 acres to work with.
i have noticed that i can buy most of all the haying implements i need for an atv, all except a bailer. And ive asked around and local farmers wont bring there equipment over for such a small job.
how do i put the hay up?
Also if someone could recommend a book that would great.
im sorry, i have a lot of questions ........
thank you, Greg

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  #2  
Old 02/21/13, 06:01 AM
 
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You can store loose hay, but it takes up a lot more space than a bale. If you have the space then don't worry about it.

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  #3  
Old 02/21/13, 06:23 AM
 
Join Date: May 2002
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Making your own hay is not nessesarly going to be hay that is worth anything but bedding. Does it rain where you live?? If you mow the hay, and it don't get dry before it rains, you can forget about having "GOOD" hay. If the hay is too mature when you cut it, you get poor hay unless it rains first. Then you get bedding. Without a baler you will take endless hours of hard labor putting the hay under cover. You already know how buying hay works out, so LOTS OF LUCK.

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  #4  
Old 02/21/13, 06:36 AM
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Location: Northern Michigan (U.P.)
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In order to be able to make your own hay, you need to know what makes good hay, what it looks like standing in the field, understand the best time to cut it, both the crop’s maturity level and the weather. You’ll need to know when it has laid out in the sun long enough (cured). You need to know when to turn it over to finish drying. You need to know when it is safe to put in the barn. Damp hay can combust and burn a barn down.
A brush hog won’t do a good job of cutting hay, it tears it up and tosses it around too much. If you are able to brush hog, I’ll assume your 4 wheeler has a PTO? Maybe you could find a sickle bar mower and pull it with your 4 wheeler? They do make walk behind sickle bar mowers, too. Then you’ll need to use a pitch fork to turn it over once the top is dry. Then pitch it onto a trailer. Four acres might produce 8,000 pounds of hay. That is about 25 pickup truck loads.
To get a hay crop growing will require plowing, disking, fertilizing, spreading seed and waiting a year. You could try throwing around the seeds among the weeds and Bermuda grass. You need a soil test to see what lime or fertilizer you need.
Goats do need good hay. It is a myth that they do well on weeds and brush. Seems you would plant alfalfa, and a couple varieties of clover.
Perhaps it would be better (easier, cheaper) to learn about what good hay looks like and buy it. That 4 acres might make better pasture.
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  #5  
Old 02/21/13, 06:43 AM
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You could cut with the bush hog but you wouldn't have to wind row it to dry, only to make it easier to pick up off the field. It's not an ideal way to do it, but if you are only after a small amount of hay, it would work.

How much hay do you need? How much are you feeding now? If you are only feeding a couple of dozen small squares or several large round bales, then you could bring that much in without too much bother and store it loose. As Chucknbob said, you do need some room to store it. Storing loose hay outside is most likely not going to work well.

If you actually need 4 acres of hay, that's a lot of work and I'd try and pay someone to do it for you. I have a 4 acre field and it's just not a field I look forward to doing every year. All for about 16 round bales. For a small amount, you certainly might try doing it by hand.

Good luck. It would be a lot of work but also a lot of exercise for you, and very satisfying.

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  #6  
Old 02/21/13, 07:04 AM
Alice In TX/MO's Avatar
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Long article about how to cut hay by hand:
http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/X7660E/x7660e06.htm

Shorter article:
http://thecontraryfarmer.wordpress.c...make-good-hay/

Discussion of hay making without machines:
http://www.permies.com/t/14579/homes...aking-machines

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  #7  
Old 02/21/13, 07:16 AM
Outstanding in my field
 
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Here are a few ideas ... depending on how handy you are at making things. Some of these can be cut down in size to match the ATV

You can get a Swisher pull behind brush hog with its own power unit (engine)

You do not need to windrow. If you have a front blade on the atv you could make a miniature buck rake to clamp onto the blade. Buck rakes were first used with horses and later on tractors.

Here is an old movie demonstrating a buck rake

http://archive.org/details/buckrake


Here is a hand powered baler


Here is making a hay stack


Dump rake

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  #8  
Old 02/21/13, 07:51 AM
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Here is something called a hay sweep. It will pick up the loose hay when it's dried, but I would either store it in a barn or make sure it's good and covered with tarps so it doesn't mold. There are two videos. This is part 1.

I imagine you could design something on a smaller scale for an atv. We only have a few acres worth haying, so a baler is more work than what it's worth. It is my understanding that in the old days they would hay sweep and then hand bale (like the video posted earlier) inside the barn in the winter when they had time to ship/sell them later in the winter. Loose hay will take up more room. Our fields were hayed previously to us owning it. I'll have to watch to see how bad the weeds are and figure out what needs to be done in the next year. Good luck.

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  #9  
Old 02/21/13, 07:56 AM
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DarleneJ

Your hay sweep is the same tool as a buck rake I refer to in the post above yours.

.... just sayin

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  #10  
Old 02/21/13, 08:07 AM
 
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Good articles from Alice. And good vids from johnny and Darlene. You can make your own hay about a million ways and find a million people to tell you its wrong. Its NOT rocket science by any means. A few main points to know;

1. Cut the grass before most of the seed heads emerge

2. Cut when you expect hot dry weather for the next few days

3. be mindful that too wet hay can cause combustion

4. Hay is just grass, don't over complicate it. ( no matter what anyone tells you )

I've never heard of cutting hay with a brush mower, but somewhere, someone is doing it successfully I'm sure. My only concern with doing that would be too much moisture from grinding it up but might just take longer to field dry.

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Last edited by Darntootin; 02/21/13 at 08:23 AM.
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  #11  
Old 02/21/13, 08:52 AM
 
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As for a book Look up Linn Millers Haying With Horses. It covers the whole aspect of haying, and that with oNLY loose hay. How to store it inside AND outside.

Find yourself an old horse mower and rig it to your 4 wheeler, IF it will pull it. IF your grass is really leafy and not stemy, You may need a body on the mower which would make it really tough for it to putt it. Get yourself a horse dump rake and rig it the same way. Look up the U Tube, Stacking hay with oxen to see how to make/build a stack outside.

REMEMBER, That the rake and mower need to be rigged so that, with a 2 X 4 fixed to the tonge that is 12ft long, The 2 X 4 is 30in thereabouts high at the end. That will mean you will have to build a drop hitch, maybe around 2ft down below the end of the stub tongue for the low hitch on a 4 wheeler. The drop hitches for my tractors is around a foot.
IF you do not do this for the mower the oil will not run all over the gear case as it should. IF you dont do this for the rake, the teeth may not go down all the way to the ground.

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  #12  
Old 02/21/13, 08:54 AM
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Location: SW Michigan
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We're one of the ones that use a brush hog to mow our hay. DH cut a piece off the side of the deck (it's replaceable when he wants to use it as a brush hog again). It lays the hay out nice but not as flat as the bar mower would. He turns it over 2x with the rake. The cut puts the grass in shorter pieces than a bar mower does, but it still bales up nicely and the flakes hold together when I feed them. We probably get a bit more loss of grass than with the regular mowers. The cows and sheep haven't minded at all that it's been mowed with a brush hog.

The amount of work to make loose hay detered us greatly. It's hard enough to haul the bales into the barn - let alone pitchfork it into stacks. It can be done, but we are too old to want to do it. We only hay 3-4 acres and had the same trouble getting someone to come do it for us. All the equipment lined up, unused most of the year, is taking up some valuable grazing space which is why we decided against yet one more piece to store and went with the dual purpose (now) brush hog.

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  #13  
Old 02/21/13, 09:02 AM
 
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Location: N E Washington State
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If you don't know anything about hay, you might ask a neighbor that makes good hay if you can help and learn from him. If you don't need much hay he might trade you for the labor.

Making good quality hay is a art as well as science. People will tell you you just do A,B, C but as Haypoint says its more than that.There is no point in doing all the work involved in getting four acres of hay in the barn and have it be worthless as feed or even worse, burn down the barn. I would use the four acres for pasture. If it is not open it may be too small to turn equipment in, or it may not be worth making hay without planting good grass or alfalfa.

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  #14  
Old 02/21/13, 09:16 AM
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I've been cutting and storing my own hay from about 4 acres for years; and I feed it to large Nubian goats.

You first have to start with understanding your soil and what it needs, i.e. agricultural lime, fertilizer, etc. You do this by simply taking a few samples off each of your 4 acres to the local agricultural department and paying a small fee for them to test it. (Call first because they will probably give you special small boxes to place your soil samples in. Then to get the soil sample, you need to dig about 6-8 inches into the soil and take samples from each of the four sides of that hole. Do this 3-4 times in each acre, taking the samples from different locations of each acre.) Then you need to add whatever the ag lab suggests.

Next you need to know what type of seed to plant. Get the type that will produce what will be healthy for your goats. "Endophyte free" grass is what you want to grow; so simply do some research and find some.

Preparation of the acreage is a must with plowing/disking or whatever you personally need to do to get a clean piece of ground on which to sow your seed. After your seed is sown, mash it into the soil. (David and I did this by simply dragging a 4x4 across the seed beds.) Then to protect what seed may still be showing from the birds, simply throw some straw loosely over it. Now you need to wait, wait, wait for it to grow.

While it is growing, learn when to cut it to get it at its peak of nutrition. This is often in the boot stage, i.e. right before it seeds. There is a "milk stage" just before this which is also good.

When it is ready to harvest, look at your weather to make sure you will have a few days of "dry" weather. Then cut it! (We use a DR Field & Brush Mower to cut ours and we do so in such a manner so as to let several rows of cut grass fall on each other. This will depend on your day's temperature and how thick your blades of grass are because you want it to dry well within about 24 hours. If you need to turn it over to get it completely dry, cutting it in this manner makes it easier.)

When you determine it is dry (still green; not burned), you can use a walk-behind bailer (I saw one on the internet once but couldn't afford it.) or you can use "leaf rakes", which is what we have been using. Start at one end of the row and simply "roll" the dry hay over and over onto itself until it is too large to handle like that; then start another row. [If you can get that "hand-powered bailer" Johnny showed us in this thread do it. Wish I had one and I may try making one.] If you don't have a bailer, you can do what we've done. I purchased mildew resistant "sheets" (about 6'x6x) and put the dried hay on those sheets, then tied the ends together and put them on a hand-pulled wagon or in the bed of our pickup, whichever is most convenient in that particular pasture. Haul it off to your loft. Keep the hay in an area where it will not be rained on; and keep a pitchfork with it for ease in serving to your animals.

Loose hay does take up more space than bailed hay; but if you have the space and no tools to bail with, it works well.

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  #15  
Old 02/21/13, 10:01 AM
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: NewBlaine,AR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer L. View Post
You could cut with the bush hog but you wouldn't have to wind row it to dry, only to make it easier to pick up off the field. It's not an ideal way to do it, but if you are only after a small amount of hay, it would work.

How much hay do you need? How much are you feeding now? If you are only feeding a couple of dozen small squares or several large round bales, then you could bring that much in without too much bother and store it loose. As Chucknbob said, you do need some room to store it. Storing loose hay outside is most likely not going to work well.

If you actually need 4 acres of hay, that's a lot of work and I'd try and pay someone to do it for you. I have a 4 acre field and it's just not a field I look forward to doing every year. All for about 16 round bales. For a small amount, you certainly might try doing it by hand.

Good luck. It would be a lot of work but also a lot of exercise for you, and very satisfying.
Thx alot, i use about 5 4×5 ROUND bales per year. I have talked to several hay guys in my area and was told it would cost me more to transport his equipment than it was worth.
but on the other hand, i believe these wise men might mentor me in growing and timing the hay....thx alot
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  #16  
Old 02/21/13, 10:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly Mckee View Post
If you don't know anything about hay, you might ask a neighbor that makes good hay if you can help and learn from him. If you don't need much hay he might trade you for the labor.

Making good quality hay is a art as well as science. People will tell you you just do A,B, C but as Haypoint says its more than that.There is no point in doing all the work involved in getting four acres of hay in the barn and have it be worthless as feed or even worse, burn down the barn. I would use the four acres for pasture. If it is not open it may be too small to turn equipment in, or it may not be worth making hay without planting good grass or alfalfa.
Thx, i have started the process of getting my pasture ready to plant. I took my soil sample in monday. I was advised to put lime on it so i put 150 lbs on it yesterday(pelletized) ive bought my seed and waiting for the ice to melt.
and for the extension office ......thx
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  #17  
Old 02/21/13, 10:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motdaugrnds View Post
I've been cutting and storing my own hay from about 4 acres for years; and I feed it to large Nubian goats.

You first have to start with understanding your soil and what it needs, i.e. agricultural lime, fertilizer, etc. You do this by simply taking a few samples off each of your 4 acres to the local agricultural department and paying a small fee for them to test it. (Call first because they will probably give you special small boxes to place your soil samples in. Then to get the soil sample, you need to dig about 6-8 inches into the soil and take samples from each of the four sides of that hole. Do this 3-4 times in each acre, taking the samples from different locations of each acre.) Then you need to add whatever the ag lab suggests.

Next you need to know what type of seed to plant. Get the type that will produce what will be healthy for your goats. "Endophyte free" grass is what you want to grow; so simply do some research and find some.

Preparation of the acreage is a must with plowing/disking or whatever you personally need to do to get a clean piece of ground on which to sow your seed. After your seed is sown, mash it into the soil. (David and I did this by simply dragging a 4x4 across the seed beds.) Then to protect what seed may still be showing from the birds, simply throw some straw loosely over it. Now you need to wait, wait, wait for it to grow.

While it is growing, learn when to cut it to get it at its peak of nutrition. This is often in the boot stage, i.e. right before it seeds. There is a "milk stage" just before this which is also good.

When it is ready to harvest, look at your weather to make sure you will have a few days of "dry" weather. Then cut it! (We use a DR Field & Brush Mower to cut ours and we do so in such a manner so as to let several rows of cut grass fall on each other. This will depend on your day's temperature and how thick your blades of grass are because you want it to dry well within about 24 hours. If you need to turn it over to get it completely dry, cutting it in this manner makes it easier.)

When you determine it is dry (still green; not burned), you can use a walk-behind bailer (I saw one on the internet once but couldn't afford it.) or you can use "leaf rakes", which is what we have been using. Start at one end of the row and simply "roll" the dry hay over and over onto itself until it is too large to handle like that; then start another row. [If you can get that "hand-powered bailer" Johnny showed us in this thread do it. Wish I had one and I may try making one.] If you don't have a bailer, you can do what we've done. I purchased mildew resistant "sheets" (about 6'x6x) and put the dried hay on those sheets, then tied the ends together and put them on a hand-pulled wagon or in the bed of our pickup, whichever is most convenient in that particular pasture. Haul it off to your loft. Keep the hay in an area where it will not be rained on; and keep a pitchfork with it for ease in serving to your animals.

Loose hay does take up more space than bailed hay; but if you have the space and no tools to bail with, it works well.
Thats great advice, thankyou.
One of my seed dilemma is grass thats good for goats. My goats love the leafy johnson grass and vetch. What kind of grasses to you grow for hay?
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  #18  
Old 02/21/13, 10:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Callieslamb View Post
We're one of the ones that use a brush hog to mow our hay. DH cut a piece off the side of the deck (it's replaceable when he wants to use it as a brush hog again)..

That is really interesting, he just cut a piece off? How big? How does he attach it back on when he wants to brush hog? Any chance of seeing a pic?
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  #19  
Old 02/21/13, 10:30 AM
Outstanding in my field
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darntootin View Post
That is really interesting, he just cut a piece off? How big? How does he attach it back on when he wants to brush hog? Any chance of seeing a pic?
Actually some of the older model brush hogs had a removable bolt-on side piece.

I think also you could convert a garden tractor mowing deck .... some models were rear discharge and did not funnel the clippings but just clipped and flung back.... if you took a deck like that and cut off the front leading edge that folds down I think it would mow hay ..... and be similar to the Swisher I mentioned.
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  #20  
Old 02/21/13, 10:48 AM
Outstanding in my field
 
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Steel hand baling press.... makes a bale in about 90 seconds. $325 plus shipping

http://barnesweldingshop.com/Balers.php

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  #21  
Old 02/21/13, 11:03 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: polk co ar
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check locally there should be someone who specializes in bushhoging small tracts of land. check w/feed store or coop. if a neighbor does hay you might be able to get hin to hay when in the area. dont know what soil analysis said but 150# isnt very much for 4 a here it isnt unusual to need ton per. lots of diff in hills vs river valley. pull behind implements have gone up in price over the years due to yard deco. you can pull some heavy equip. w/atv.

like said it inst rocket sicience you can do it just takes works. good luck

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  #22  
Old 02/21/13, 11:03 AM
 
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Location: Arkansas
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One of the ways to make good hay is to dry it thoroughly. If you want leafy hay that is hard to do. The stems must be dry and some times the only way to do this is to crimp it to release the moisture. You can do Johnson grass by not crimping it but you must have enough time for it to dry. The leaves will dry in no time but the stem takes another 2 or 3 days. To be sure it is dry you may need to take a sample of it and break it in your hands. Dry will break readily but wet hay will be flexible. Get the stems to tell if it is dry. If you look at the weather they will tell you when it is supposed to be dry you can rule out 10 % chance of rain but anything higher may cause problems. Hay in Arkansas needs to dry at least 3 or 4 days to be dry.

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  #23  
Old 02/21/13, 11:14 AM
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This is interesting .... could a log splitter be adapted to bale hay also ....

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  #24  
Old 02/21/13, 11:52 AM
 
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I didnt see him takeing the time to reset the steel spears? and retieing the twine onto them. Other than that, and it made too small a bale, I was impressed. Course, they was hustling, and that speed wpouldnt have lasted 2 doz bales, But, with say 2 or 3 guys in rotation, one loading, one tying, and one hauling off the bale, IN ROTATION, They might be able to keep it up 4 times longer.

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  #25  
Old 02/21/13, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarleneJ View Post
Here is something called a hay sweep. It will pick up the loose hay when it's dried, but I would either store it in a barn or make sure it's good and covered with tarps so it doesn't mold. There are two videos. This is part 1.

I imagine you could design something on a smaller scale for an atv. We only have a few acres worth haying, so a baler is more work than what it's worth. It is my understanding that in the old days they would hay sweep and then hand bale (like the video posted earlier) inside the barn in the winter when they had time to ship/sell them later in the winter. Loose hay will take up more room. Our fields were hayed previously to us owning it. I'll have to watch to see how bad the weeds are and figure out what needs to be done in the next year. Good luck.
An older horse drawn version of this is the tumbling tommy which could easily be built and pulled behind your atv.

http://www.fellpony.f9.co.uk/country...e/tumb-tom.htm
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  #26  
Old 02/21/13, 12:12 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
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I think there might be some mileage in finding an old junk bailer that dosent tie anymore, and tearing out the knotter mech and needles. Cut out a notch at the top for the divider board. Have 3 of them made, and have someone sober and responsible dropping them in the chamber.
When the bale chamber got full, and a signal of that was givin, the tractor would stop and the plunger would too. Then someone could drop in the divider board in. When seated he would give a signal and the tractor operator could engage the engine just to shove the plunger tightly against board where the twine would be inserted and tied off. Then, the guy on the flywheel side, after disengageing the pto again could back the plunger full back, get reseated, and the tractor op put it in gear and go on.

Slow, YES, But id think way faster than what ive seen so far, AND less work. The tiers would sit, as much as possible and comfortable and still be able to do there tying. I did it once. By next season guy had sold that bailer and bought a automatic. tie.

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  #27  
Old 02/21/13, 12:16 PM
Outstanding in my field
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsmit24 View Post
An older horse drawn version of this is the tumbling tommy which could easily be built and pulled behind your atv.

http://www.fellpony.f9.co.uk/country...e/tumb-tom.htm
Thanks ... never knew of that tool

They have a demo on the site showing how it works !
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  #28  
Old 02/21/13, 12:29 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
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To store loose hay outside: Put a few tree limbs, old lumber, etc on the ground in 10-12 foot circle. Have a pole with the top end sharpened placed in the ground in the center of the circle. Haul loose hay to the area. Fork hay onto the limbs, walking around over it as you go to pack it down. Pack down firmly, doing a better job than the wooden hay press shown. Build the stack up, tapering it as you go up, objective being to shed water. At the top of the stack take a final fork full of hay and cap the stack by forcing the hay over the sharp end of the pole. (local expression to describe something finalized was"that caps the stack!")

Height of the stack depends on the pole avaliable and the amount of hay. It does not have to be a decay resistant pole, it only has to last one year, but using a decay resistant pole and reusing it is fine. Height was about 12 feet as I recall.

A properly made stack will shed water just fine, much better than a round bale. Feeding the hay obviously starts from the top. To keep water from getting down around the pole after feeding starts, and before too if desired, a piece of canvas is laid
on the top and wrapped around the pole with suitable provision for keeping the wind from blowing it away.

It will take some practice to determing the size of the stack to start off with.

In areas of the Southeast where ther are long leaf pines, people, generally south of the border immigrants, will use those wooden hay presses to make bales of pine needles to sell for landscaping. Sometimes they go illegally onto national or state forest lands to get the needles. I'm not impressed with the size of the bales which sell for $4-5.

The advice to exchange labor with your neighbors for hay bales is excellent. Or you could get a part time job flipping burgers and buy all the hay you needed. Less time spent that way but less satisfaction and healthy excercise.

COWS

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Old 02/21/13, 12:32 PM
 
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The last time I visited my dad, he said he had seen one woek as a kid. 1919, 2008

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  #30  
Old 02/21/13, 02:00 PM
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as a very young teen we still put up hay with horses NO.9 mowing machine,dump rake.made wind rows with the rake them shocks with a pitch fork 'pulled the shocks to the stack with a chain then stacked with pitch forks .very long hot days . we put a milk cow and team of work horses through the winter . with a sickle bar mower 'and rake cutting and then windrowing you could fork up the hay to store in a barn or hay stack .

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