- August 14, 2013 at 8:36 pm #80757
I plan on curing a field tomorrow or Friday. I have been flinching every time I think about cutting it. For the last few weeks, every 2-3 days is cloudy or showers… Just enough that I daren’t knock down this nice hay.. Looking good for a stretch now.
CarlAugust 14, 2013 at 8:37 pm #80758
That was supposed to be “cutting”…. GD iPad….August 15, 2013 at 8:04 am #80759
My wife says I have lost my nerve! Now the forecast is good I will let the ground dry out for a day and then mow two days in a row. At least that is the plan. I will try to shoot a little baling video. (just don’t comment on the hay quality). DonnAugust 15, 2013 at 9:07 am #80760mitchmaineParticipant
our fields look like patchwork quilts, trying to take the high ground. we have the weather now, but the ground is like a swamp. picking around, mowing little plots. I have shell shock too. every cloud looks black.
all the neighbors feeling the same way. I see the look on their faces. hay is going to be scarce in the spring.
last years hay I was trying to sell so desparately to make way for new, looks better than the hay i’m putting in now. what a year.August 15, 2013 at 9:45 am #80762
“George, do you feed 2nd cut to your horses or the goats?”
We feed all our second cut to the goats. I did buy some second cut last year for the team I log with for some additional protein and energy as we only feed a small amount of beet pulp (mainly a vehicle for a custom mineral mix) and no grain.
GeorgeAugust 15, 2013 at 11:01 am #80763
Putting up loose hay with 3 Haflingers seems to be a pretty good idea this year. They will stay fit on some really crappy hay and don’t need a lot of it either. There size is working perfect for doing ½ -1 acre at a time. I have been knocking down no more than an acre, tedding it and if it is not dry I still load it on a wagon and into the barn. I spread the hay out on the floor of the loft, I turn it every day for a few days and then onto the mow. Definitely more work than drying on the ground but because of this I am happily running out of room in the barn. The red clover is in full bloom in the fields again, as soon as I can put new sections and grass board on my mower I will start again.
I have been mowing with 2, has anyone here used 3? My ponies are good size (1100-1200# ish) but they are working hard, I they life would be easier with 3. Any thoughts?
BillyAugust 15, 2013 at 11:38 am #80765
Hi Billy, Those Haflinger’s are big. What size cutter bar are you using? I am pretty sure I have seen a mower with three abreast, you will have more side draft than before, but I think it will work. I have also found smaller horses without D ring pull a little easier with a dolly wheel on the mower.August 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm #80766
Yea hard to find bigger ones but really worth searching them out. I am finding them to be a pretty efficient horse but they do work a little harder than I would like at times because they are smaller than a full size horse. My bar is about 4.5’, I cut a 5 footer down a little however I am not sure how much drag it reduced. I am suspicious the few cutting teeth I lost did not proportionately reduce the load. Still tinkering with set-up a little. I actually was just reading some of your old posts about mower set up they were informative, thank you.
I have thought about the dolly wheel idea but am reluctant, one because some of the native grass pastures I have are really bumpy and two right now am not mowing more than a couple hours at a time, including rests I wonder if the weight on their necks is a factor.
I have not thought about the hook up for 3 too much but I would think I would have to move the evener attachment over and keep the pole where it is so the right side horse could stay in the cleared swath. I am sure someone has done it, I just need to do a little digging.
BillyAugust 15, 2013 at 7:33 pm #80767
I would think that with an adequately tuned mower, a team of halflingers should be able to put down an acre or more without too much trouble. I mowed hay with a halflinger who was teamed with either a full sized draft (1700-1800 lbs) or a draft cross (1200 lbs) for several years. She was able to mow up to 3 sometimes 4 acres at a stretch.
I am a big fan of the dolly and have them on both my mowers. I clip some rugged pasture (i.e. really bumpy) and it does fine.
GeorgeAugust 15, 2013 at 9:30 pm #80768JayParticipant
I echo George and Donn about “a properly tuned” mower. I have seen many that were “pretty good” and the owner/user thought were fine, but I could see/feel slop in the knuckle (pitman to knife), or slop in the bushing/bearing on the pitman crank, or slightly out of register (95% right means about 20% more drag) or the back of the knife worn (scalloped where the push plates wear) so the knife binds a little at each end of the throw. Each of these things ads a SIGNIFICANT drag/loss of ability to keep cutting when the going gets tough. A well tuned mower will pull fairly easily through most any forage. Almost doesn’t “cut it” when getting things right. The cut tops of the hay should look like velvet – cut evenly and not torn when the hay is removed. In my experience the length of the cutterbar has much less to do with the drag of the mower than how well the mower has been “tuned”. JayAugust 16, 2013 at 7:39 am #80769
Well I definitely need to work on tuning my mower. This last field did not mow evenly at all and looking at the mower after I can see were some of the rock guard ledger plates are not contacting the knife sections. I will be putting the work into the “tuning” before putting 3 on it, maybe I will find 3 are not needed for now.
BillyAugust 16, 2013 at 10:34 am #80772
One other key aspect to mower performance is knife sharpness. I recently purchased a variable speed dremel and have been sharpening my knife sections with it. The dremel with a metal cut-off blade is more precise and easier to use compared with a grinder and you can easily get to the base of the knife without having to take the knives off the back.
Billy, another strategy if you have a lot of hay to mow is to swap out one of your horses for a fresh one instead of putting 3 together. I only have 3 broke horses right now and if I have a lot of grass to mow, ted, rake, etc., I will swap out a horse at lunch and then the next morning, and so on. I hope to have 4 going next year, but in the meantime this has been working well.
GeorgeAugust 22, 2013 at 9:10 am #80862
I got it in…. On the ground for about 5 days, but only wet from dew. I was having some problems with the baler on the last field, and with the really hot weather and heavy crop (read double windrows) I decided to run the baler behind my truck.
I got this idea from Jay Bailey, but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. I have only run the baler with the horses, and have not had a chance to fool with it much as it means managing horses that are hot and bothered by the rocking, and the blatting motor.
As it turned out it was a good decision. I was really not aware of how much anxiety I carried when working the horses on the baler. Worrying about knotting, clogging, shearing bolts, or how well the engine will run, took on a different tone yesterday. There were a few stretches where several bales didn’t tie, and with the truck I was able to just apply the parking brake and correct the situation.
Of course I knew I was going to use the truck when raking so I doubled up the windrows. I will feel much more comfortable with the baler next time around, but the horses have a really hard time going slow enough to bale large windrows…
Anyway.. Good hay in the barn and a new horse (more on that another time) introduced to a few good days in the field.
CarlAugust 22, 2013 at 7:59 pm #80863
Hi all, I have struggled with my baler all summer. Unless I come up with a better idea I will buy two new knotters this winter. The last three days we made 800 bales while not tieing 1 in 10 or twenty. Ugh. The last two days I sped things up alot by not stopping when the broke, but just having an extra person (usually me) pulling them out and spreading them back in the next windrow. Today we unloaded the last wagon at 4pm, and it was a brief rain shower as we were throwing the bales off! Boy, is that one of the best feelings in life.
Interestingly, The baler with a wagon is way different than with out. The wagon is a little bit of a sea anchor. When I stop for any length of time I usually shut of the motor, but my horses could stand with the baler running. Today I had an intern doing the driving almost all day. Driving four abreast on a baler and a wagon is pretty advanced driving. We baled some HUGE windrows in some of the edges and corners near wet spots and the like. In one particular spot I told him the horses would need to creep along to not over flow the baler. Slight down hill, and sure enough, the more I said slow the faster they walked. After We got it unplugged and replaced the shear bolt I drove them through the worst of it. Just like in plowing, it is hard to make horses go slow when pulling hard. Sometimes we are trying to get them to speed up while baling, and other times they need to slow down. Often times when I want a momentary slowing for a big wad in the windrow, (or the place were some one has throw a half a bale from the time before!), I just ask for a little left and a little right. They follow the directions from the lines, but when they hear my voice “Polly come gee, George come haw” it gives them a real step sideways with out killing all my forward momentum. Horses and mules and Scott and Daniel, did a great job this week, and it has helped me put my mishap behind me – even though my leg is still sore.
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