Depending on the climate where you live you might be able to mow hay up to six times a year. Of course, there are other factors to take into consideration. Do you need hay that has the highest possible protein content or is volume your priority? The weekly weather forecast will affect your decision as well. You do not want your hay to get rained on after it is mowed, especially after it is dry enough to bale. Hay that has been rained, on loses some nutritional value, loses color, can mold, and may not sell. When you mow a hay field at the correct time, you can maximize your profits.
Things You'll Need
Open up the mower when you arrive at the field. Turn on the PTO. Set the tractor to the correct RPM. Begin to drive forward and lower the mower to the ground at the same time.
Drive around the perimeter of the field a few times until there is enough room to turn the tractor and mower around on the headlands. Decide if you will cut the field in half or thirds.
Mow down the center of the field, depending on width, after you have mowed the headlands. Mow straight rows from one end of the field to the other end. Make your rows as close as possible to reduce fuel consumption and time, but far enough to turn the tractor and mower around in one smooth motion.
Continue mowing straight paths, back and forth across the field, until the entire center is mowed.
Turn your tractor around and mow the outside round. This is the outer perimeter that your tractor was driving on when you made your first trip around the field.
Wait for the hay on the ground to dry on top and then rake it over.
Tips & Warnings
- If it has to rain on your hay, just after mowing does the least damage.
- First cutting is highest volume but lowest quality.
- Consecutive cuttings decrease in volume but increase in quality.
- For any cutting with a lower yield, decrease the windrow width so it doesn't bleach out as much.
- Mow Alfalfa with 10 percent in flower for maximum protein, mow later for increased quantity.
- Never store wet hay inside a barn; it will burn the barn down.
- Do not mow a newly planted alfalfa field late in the season; you will kill all of the alfalfa.
- Photo Credit Julia Fuller 2008
- How to Harvest Hay
How to Grow Hay
How to Grow Hay. Perhaps you want to grow your own hay for your horses or livestock or maybe you want to...
How to Round Rake a Hay Field
One or two days after mowing your hay field you will need to rake the hay so it can continue to dry....
How to Cut Hay
If you have a large pasture of grass or alfalfa, you have perfect hay ground. Recently, hay prices have soared. Many farmers...
How to Prepare Fields for Hay Planting
Any grass or other plant life that is cut green, dried and used as feed for livestock is hay. This plant life...
How to Dry Wet Cut Hay in the Field
When you cut hay, it has a high moisture content that must be reduced before you can bale and store it. If...
How to Harvest Oat Hay and When to Cut It
Oat hay is a harvested forage or feed of stalks, leaves and heads from oat crop rather from grass or alfalfa. The...
Cheap Ways to Mow Hay
The hay business is as complicated as it is risky, requiring a wide array of manpower, costly equipment, and a stable flow...
The Best Way to Brush Hog a Field
A brush hog is a mowing deck that is designed to tackle heavy grass and weeds and even small brush. Pulled behind...