Today, we begin a short series of posts on hay production insights. Our guest blogger is hay and forage expert, Kevin Shinners, Ph.D., Professor of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who can help you gain insight and Be Ready for the upcoming growing season. Here he shares his thoughts on how to ensure that the hay you’re harvesting is of the highest quality, so you can reap the benefits of high market prices.
At more than $200 per ton, hay is highly valuable and getting the most from each acre is important. Hay acreage is dwindling because high commodity grain prices have caused farmers to switch from hay production to row crops.
Getting the most from each acre means drying the crop quickly by conditioning it well, getting it off the field and getting it into storage. Each of these steps helps maintain the hay’s value. No matter what type of operation you run, at the end of the day, you need the same thing: reliable equipment to get the most hay up in the shortest time.
There is a trend toward more sophisticated, efficient equipment, such as self-propelled harvesters, as well as custom harvesters handling more acreage. For large producers and custom harvesters, it’s all about productivity, rapid road transport and efficiency – which requires highly productive, reliable harvesting equipment to get through acreage quickly. Hay equipment has evolved to do just that. Machines are bigger with wider cutting widths, so you can get more done in one pass.
Thank you, Dr. Shinners, for your insight on maintaining hay quality. We’d like to invite all of our readers to see the new Case IH equipment, including the recently introduced RD193, a new 19-foot-wide disc header for self-propelled windrowers, at your Case IH dealer. While you’re there, take advantage of the great offers on the full line of Farmall®, Puma® and Maxxum® tractors, as well as balers and windrowers through the Case IH Field of Deals sales event that is running now through April 30, 2012. For more information on this event and sweepstakes, including official rules, go to www.caseihdeals.com.
How many acres of hay do you harvest? What’s your biggest concern with hay harvest? Comment below. We’d love to hear from you!