Baum Farm
Certified Organic
Canaan, Vermont

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Hay making page 2
The mower also incorporates a conditioner.  The purpose of the conditioner is to bend the forage and break the stem to speed up the drying of the forage.  If you use too much conditioning you tend to tear off the leaves of the forage leaving more stems reducing the hay quality.  The conditioner has to be adjusted for speed and amount of conditioning by setting the gap the forage has to go through in the conditioner.  Our Krone mower conditioner has a two-speed conditioner and a variable gap setting to obtain the proper conditioning of the forage.

Our Krone mower also has an enhanced exit chute which blows the forage out in a wide swath using angle vanes within the chute to speed the drying of the forage. The Krone mower is powered by our large Agco tractor (same as a Massey Ferguson) RT 120 with 120 hp PTO output.  The mower requires a tractor rated for at least an 85 HP PTO output.
The next step is to dry the forage as quickly as possible.  We use a 19 ft. Krone tedder to fluff up the hay after it is mowed.  The tedder has 4 rotors that fluff up the hay as you move over the hay.   The tedder takes two mowed rows of the hay and spreads it out.  We tedder the hay several times to speed the hay drying process.  If the conditions are right, we tedder two to three times to get the hay dry.  The tedder is powered by our smaller tractor, a Ford 4610 with 60 PTO horsepower.

We constantly monitor the drying of the hay.  If the weather is sunny then on the second day the hay should be dry enough to bale. However we test the hay for the amount of drying by first feeling the hay and second by using a moisture meter.  Before we rake the hay we like to get the moisture below 15-20 percent.  If you have too much moisture in the hay the hay will mold when it is stored.

When the hay is dried to the proper moisture we rake the hay into a windrow (a row).  We use a Kuhn 14 ft single rotor rotary rake to put the hay into this windrow.  The hay in the windrow continues to dry because it is fluffed up into a row where the wind dries it more.  The Kuhn rake does not take a lot of HP to operate and is powered by our smaller Ford tractor.