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4 Ways You Can Take Your Hay Making Operation To The Next Level

by Sally Burke

As the owner of an agricultural hay making business, you know that farmers depend on your product to feed their livestock. If you supply a good product and you can deliver quickly, you're on the right track. If your hay making operation isn't as resourceful as you'd like it to be, below you'll learn how you can take your operation up a notch or two.

Upgrade Your Equipment

If you're still using a sickle bar mower to cut your hay, you could have a more efficient operation if you used a mower conditioner. This type of hay cutting machine helps to reduce the drying time of your hay. After the mower cuts the hay, it's crimped by the machine, which squeezes out the excess moisture.

Conditioning your hay can improve the efficiency of your operation so you can get your hay rolled up faster. Some disc mowers can form one, two or three windrows with one pass. When you're able to cut several rows of hay at one time, you'll save on fuel costs.

Evaluate Your Crops

If your hay crop is sparse, it's time to ramp up your growing methods. The quality of hay you grow depends on the leaves and seeds of the crop. Begin harvesting your hay when the leaves are finished growing and the seed heads are almost ripe.

After cutting the crop, most of the moisture will leave as the plants dry in the sun. The leaves will remain hearty enough so that the haying equipment can easily pick them up.

Test your soil for its potassium and phosphorus levels. If your soil is low on these nutrients, the crop roots won't develop well, which leads to a poor haying season. After you receive your test results, apply a phosphorus fertilizer according to the outcome of your soil test.

Improve Your Storage Method

Proper storage techniques are important so that your hay doesn't mold or rot. If you're storing your hay outside, place it on pallets, instead of right on the ground. Cover your hay with tarps and tie them down so they're secure.

The best place to stack your hay, so that it stays in the best condition, is in a barn. Round bales of hay can weigh 1,500 pounds and up to one ton each. If your hay stacking equipment is struggling to keep up with the continual heavy loads, consider the purchase of a gentry crane.

This type of industrial crane has wheels that move back and forth on a rail, which rests underneath a steel beam. By using a radio remote control, you can position the hoist to move each large bale where it's needed.

A gentry crane is made for use in areas where there isn't much space between the crane and the top of the stacked materials, which makes it perfect for barns filled with rows of round bales.

Embrace Technology

Advancements in technology are alive and well in the hayfield. You can install an app on your tractor and the computer monitor will give you a readout, which details the operation of your machinery.

Another high tech agricultural gadget is a remote controlled platform that records images of your crops while it speeds through the air. You can access the images on your computer and evaluate the growth and health of your crops without leaving the farm.

If you're ready to take your agricultural operation to the next level, consider using one or more of the above ideas in your hay making business. Contact an industrial equipment dealer like American Equipment Inc to inquire about an overhead crane to set up in your hay storage barn.