If you have a large pasture of grass or alfalfa, you have perfect hay ground. Recently, hay prices have soared. Many farmers have switched all their hay fields to corn fields since the price of corn has gone up so high. If you find yourself with a small gold mine of hay out back, it's your turn to cash in. Read on for tips on how to cut your hay in a way that saves time and maximizes your money.
Watch the forecast and wait until you have a 3 to 4 day window of dry weather. Although rain does not completely ruin your cut hay, it will give you less yield. It is better to wait an extra couple of weeks to cut your hay, than cut your hay and have it hit by rain.
Hook a mower conditioner to your tractor. Drive around the perimeter of your field, working your way inward on each round. This will save you time when you bale because there will be no turning around. You will have a clear, continuous path of hay.
Let the hay sit until it is dry and crunchy to the touch. One way to check is to stick your hand in the middle of the cut hay. If you feel any coolness, it is still too wet. If it feels warm and dry, move to the next step.
Hook a side rake up to the tractor. The side rake is a pinwheel-looking machine that flips the hay into wind rows. Typically, the side rake will rake 2 rows of mowed hay together into 1 taller row.
Hook a baler up to the tractor and a hay rack to the baler if you want small square bales. If you are baling large round bales, you don't need a hay rack, just a larger, round baler. Drive over the wind rows to bale. Typically the thicker the hay, the slower you should drive. This gives your partners enough time to stack the bales as they come out of the baler.