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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently run a Hesston 3x3 big square baler and make dry hay for the horse market so the hay has to be mold free and good color. I grow grass hays and also alfalfa. I try my best to make it as dry as possible but years like this have been difficult and have baled a bit of the timothy/orchard in the higher moisture range. I put preservative on it but the ground moisture along with short dry spells the hay has been hard to get really dry. I've been toying with the idea of maybe upgrading to a 3x4 baler. The increased capacity along with less bales to handle would be nice. Talking to a few producers, I've had 2 different answers. One said no difference between 3x3 and 3x4 keeping in the barn. The other said big difference. Problems with the core spoiling whereas in the 3x3 package it would of kept just fine. I don't pack my bales really tight and for the most part have no problems with my current setup. Going from a small square baler to a big square was a big learning curve with making the hay much drier. I don't want that same jump again. I won't have any problems with selling it in the bigger package. What's your thoughts....trouble or good idea. Thanks
 

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Good grief. . .if I was buying a machine that had to have "drier" hay, I'd never get anything done. Just saying, think it over carefully, because this isn't the only year that you're ever going to have trouble getting hay to dry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I know it. Last year was tough also. That's the question I'm asking is whether I need drier hay for a 3x4 baler vs a 3x3. I would love the extra ease in loading trucks. The windrow size will stay the same and I'll run faster so that part of the equation won't be a factor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
All this hay is teddered and we use rotary rakes so there is no roping of the hay. I use preservative, have moisture meters on the baler and a hand held one. Conditioners on the mowers are always kept in spec.
 

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Well I know the guy who buys our hay takes 3x3 and 3x4's so you must be able to make quality hay that way but yes I have heard you need that much more drying as well. Other wise I was gong to say using a tedder might help. Where're you located?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Im here in Maryland. For most years the weather is reasonable to make hay. Humidity isn't too bad and in drought years its real easy but the last 2 years have been really hard. The windows are shorter and the amount of rain is more which makes for wetter ground.
 

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Yes, I understood your question. I don't know, sorry, I don't make any big squares, and there aren't too many around here yet. I can relate to crappy weather for making hay the last couple of years though.
 

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From my experience with the 3X4 bale and selling to the export/horse markets the bale's moisture needs to read under 10% or the core will spoil. If the hay is really cured 11-12% may keep. Hope that helps. We have no problems baling our small squares at 12%.
 

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From my experience with the 3X4 bale and selling to the export/horse markets the bale's moisture needs to read under 10% or the core will spoil. If the hay is really cured 11-12% may keep. Hope that helps. We have no problems baling our small squares at 12%.
Holy crap, if I had to get hay that dry my first cutting would still be laying on the ground! I do all big rounds, if it gets under 20% it gets baled, 15% is amazing. Got a few this year at 30% which are actually in good shape and not heating, not recommended though.
 

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It's interesting, since we stopped selling hay I'd say four out of five years we put up almost perfect hay. Everything we bale is 4x4 big square and go for under 15% no preservatives. We don't disturb our swaths after we cut them but we do leave our pivots shut down for at least a week before we cut to let the ground dry. I don't worry too much if the bottom of the swath isn't completely cured because the moisture will transfer from the moist stems to the dryer leaves and stems from the top of the swathes. We do straight grass, straight alfalfa and mixes. We also stack our bales in single rows, five high so they can breathe a bit. We don't cover our stacks yet.
 

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It's interesting, since we stopped selling hay I'd say four out of five years we put up almost perfect hay. Everything we bale is 4x4 big square and go for under 15% no preservatives. We don't disturb our swaths after we cut them but we do leave our pivots shut down for at least a week before we cut to let the ground dry. I don't worry too much if the bottom of the swath isn't completely cured because the moisture will transfer from the moist stems to the dryer leaves and stems from the top of the swathes. We do straight grass, straight alfalfa and mixes. We also stack our bales in single rows, five high so they can breathe a bit. We don't cover our stacks yet.
You can cut a swath of straight alfalfa, never disturb it, and bale it?:eek: How wide of a swath?. . . wait, never mind, I couldn't do that with a 9 foot swath! Wow, that's amazing. Yesterday, your feet still got wet walking through the lawn at almost 2pm.
 

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You can cut a swath of straight alfalfa, never disturb it, and bale it?:eek: How wide of a swath?. . . wait, never mind, I couldn't do that with a 9 foot swath! Wow, that's amazing. Yesterday, your feet still got wet walking through the lawn at almost 2pm.
Yep, do it all the time, we swath nineteen feet and make the actual swath as wide as we can get through the tractors. We have a couple rakes and tedders and such but all they seem to do is make a mess and knock all the leaves off. On really wet years we baled hay out of six inch new alfalfa, it was a mess but still had good enough food value to feed to cattle mixed with good hay. We have some neighbors here that rake (mostly timothy) and when we got almost perfect hay last year theirs was quite brown by the time they were done fooling around and got it baled. Their stacks are still sitting there waiting to be sold.
Here the dew is burnt off by ten (if we get dew at all) can get baling by noon easy, shut down mid afternoon depending on crop and conditions and can usually start again in the evening if we choose. We are pretty laid back these days :).
 

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Why would you have to shut down in the afternoon?
Alfalfa gets too dry and all the leaf falls off during baling. It makes a grown man cry seeing the windrow of leaves on the ground.
I should tell my Dad some afternoon that we need to shut down because the hay is too dry. I'll have the phone running on video record, submit to America's Funniest Videos, and win me $100K :D The look on his face alone would win me the coin. The rest would be 1 continuous bleep.
 

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I should tell my Dad some afternoon that we need to shut down because the hay is too dry. I'll have the phone running on video record, submit to America's Funniest Videos, and win me $100K :D The look on his face alone would win me the coin. The rest would be 1 continuous bleep.
Yep.:eek::D
 

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Yep, it is possible to get too dry :). The chamber will close almost completely, the dust coming off the machine makes it look like it's on fire and the bale looks like alfalfa straw. It becomes a very tough decision when the crop is bone dry and there are thunder heads in the area. If I were serios about making good hay I would setup a sprayer that we could spray the swathes with an hour or so ahead of the balers. There were days when it was awful tempting to send the pivot around the field at a hundred percent to just get some moisture on the swathes.
 
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