Three Keys to High-Efficiency Hay Production – Case IH | Blog
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Three Keys to High-Efficiency Hay Production

Feed is a substantial expense. But maximizing quality with a high-efficiency hay system can help reduce that expense.

Forage quality determines the amount of supplemental feed required to maintain livestock performance. If your hay tools work as a system to achieve the right mix of power, efficiency and versatility to get the job done, they will help you harvest at peak nutritional value.

Forages can lose 20 percent of total digestible nutrients and 40 percent of protein content just 10 days after the optimal harvest stage.1

A high-efficiency harvest, which drives higher forage quality, begins with three steps:

1. Select the right tools

Give your operation an edge this hay season with an equipment upgrade. The Case IH lineup of hay tools includes windrowers, mowers and conditioners, wheel rakes, balers and tractors.

DC3 series disc mower conditioners: Industry-leading cut and crimp for superior hay quality. The modular cutter bar is designed for high-capacity operation with heavy-duty components, including shear-hub-protected gearboxes and quick-change knives.

RB5 series round balers: Wide pickups, high-capacity feeding systems and durable belts and rolls build dense, uniform bales — driving down the cost of handling. Whatever you’re baling, heavy-duty pickups provide a clean sweep of crops and uninterrupted feeding.

Reliable tractors: Maxxum® (116-145 hp), Puma® (150-240 hp) and Optum® (271-300 hp) series tractors shine in hay and livestock applications. Best of all, they feature Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) after-treatment technology for more fuel-efficient horsepower. With Case IH engines, there’s no particulate filter to clean, no regeneration period and 600 operating hours between oil changes.

2. Tap into new technology

The latest haying technology helps you get more done in less time.

ISOBUS Class 3: Automated functionality provides two-way communication between the baler and tractor. When pairing a Model Year 2017 or newer RB5 series round baler with a Maxxum CVT or Puma tractor, the tractor will automatically stop when the target bale size is reached. The net wrap is applied, and the bale is ejected — all without operator input.

Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) AccuGuide autoguidance: Better guidance while cutting reduces overlaps and saves on fuel, labor and machine expenses. Upgrading to AFS RTK+ autoguidance improves accuracy and efficiency.

3. Harvest at peak nutritional value

With the right equipment and technology, you can focus on a timely, efficient harvest. Some helpful tips include:

  • Rake or ted at 40 percent to 50 percent moisture.2
  • Bale at 18 percent to 20 percent moisture (small square), 16 percent moisture (medium square, round bale) or 14 percent moisture (large square or round bale).2
  • Store hay off ground and under cover.
  • Adjust fertility immediately after the first cutting.3


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1Henning JC, Wheaton HN. Making and Storing Quality Hay. University of Missouri Extension website. Reviewed October 1993. Accessed March 29, 2017.
2Undersander D. Hay in a Day. Harvesting Technologies for Quality and Yield. University of Wisconsin-Madison.
3Morrison J. Time to Fertilize Alfalfa Ground. Illinois Livestock Trail. University of Illinois Extension website. Published June 6, 2005. Accessed March 29, 2017.
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