Making Hay When the Sun Doesn’t Shine

This summer has been a major challenge for hay producers in the Northeast. Trying to cobble together 3 or 4 days of dry weather has been nearly impossible! With some farms still doing first cut and others doing 2nd, here are some tips. What can you do to try and get your hay in the barn with these weather patterns? 1)  Mow at a higher height. While you will leave some feed in the field, the stubble you leave behind will improve air movement to dry your hay and keep it off the wet ground we seem to have everywhere! If you are worried about the loss of yield from doing this, be reminded that most of what you leave will be of little nutritional value to your animals as most of it will be highly lignified stalk material. 2)  Make sure you lay your hay out as wide as possible when you mow. Open the shields on the back of your mower or remove them completely so the hay is spread out as wide as possible. The number one factor in drying hay is exposure to sunlight. The more the grasses and legumes are exposed to sun, the quicker they will dry. More rapid drying also helps to preserve quality! 3)  Ted your hay soon after the initial drying of the surface of the hay you have mowed.  Tedding helps to expose more of your crop to the sunlight as well as get your hay spread out even farther. 4)  If you are unsure about the dryness of your hay and weather forecasts don’t look good and you decide to bale.…make sure you use a preservative on your hay. The most effectiv

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