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I've wrapped some baleage and have some new questions. 

What will rake heavy, wet forage?

I have been trying to use my ground driven bar rake but it doesn't work. It slips the belt or if I tighten it enough to rake the belt brakes. 

Will a hydraulic bar rake work or what?

I've been baling it directly from the little windrows from the mower conditioner, unranked. However its obviously too dry on top and too wet on bottom. If it's "too wet" I wrap stuff, worst of all the pickup. It will pull the long sudan leaves around a pickup tooth and end up with the pickup wrapped up inside the shield. I expect this is too wet.

How do I tell when it is too wet or dry for baleage?

I've been mostly wrapping up Sudan but how about mixed grass hay?

What if it has weeds in it and/or is way over mature?

I probably need a better baler before next year...

Anything else?

Btw I like the wrapper. It ain't perfect but does a good job.

Thx-Ace 

 

 

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Yeah you need a hydro rake imo.  Figure this....if it need 2 days to make hay hay yet it is just right then.  Here we mow and chop 24hr later.  If dry hay it gets tedded out and baled at miiinnnn 72h later.  Baleage...mow and bale...depending if hot out...30 hr later

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We have a ground drive bar rake.  It isnt the way to go.  I only use it for small patches and dry hay. We have been renting a pequea mcr12? wheel rake. It works good.  If you are mowing and windrowing the forage you can get by without a kicker wheel on wheel rake.  If you are laying it flat out the hay underneath the raked windrow won't have been raked and won't all get picked up by the baler.  Pequea makes a nice rake completely adjustable including the wheel pressure against the ground.  In our climate we are finding the only way with the sudangrass is to Ted it 1x or else it is dryer on top soaked on bottom.  A lot of people here like their baleage on the drier side.  In the round bale world if it is too wet it looses form when stacking and falls over.  Have also used a pequea 1140 rotary rake very similar to a miller pro I think.  Works really good fluffs the crop up more.  When it comes time to upgrade rakes I think I am going rotary because they seem more conducive to making dry hay and we do both dry and baleage. The wheel rakes are super super fast.  Can keep in front of the baler no problem. 

 

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In the pic is what I mean by laying the forage flat out.  We are spreading it out as wide as we can behind the mower conditioner so it can dry as quick as possible.  We still have to ted it once to get the bottom drying.  With it laid flat out a wheel rake without a kicker wheel will waste some crop because it won't be raking the ground beneath the windrow it is forming.  If you are mowing into a tighter windrow and not tedding it isn't an issue because there is no crop laying where your raked windrow will be forming. This of course is just our opinion in our climate area.  Just wanted to clarify what I was trying to say.

KIMG0094.JPG

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I bought a wrapper and tried haylage this year. Some of it was almost ready as hay dry, some I tried at high moisture.

I used disc mower and laid it out flat (no windrow) and raked with a 256 NH rake. Baled an hour behind rake, so ended up with a somewhat evenly dried windrow. 

Rake has the OEM tires and it raked "green" stuff no problem, stuff that the non silage special round baler didn't like to eat.

Now, my yield might have been light compared to yours, but ground drive rolabar worked fine. 

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In my experience, it doesnt really pay to worry about making it even drying. It all blends well in the tube. If I have a thinner part of the field that got too dry I blend those bales with wetter ones staggered in the tube. Key is to know roughly where your moisture is. I bought a bucket tester and works well. What I stared out doing was using the microwave test. By using a microwave and a gram scale you can check moisture in 10 minutes.  Once you do this a few times you'll start to know what it is by looking at it since you have a baseline to compare. Heres the way we do it. Not saying its 100% but it gets you there.  Spread it out with mower the best you can. We let it lay until it gets crunchy on top, then rake it and let it air out some then bale. Depending on the weather that's anywhere from baling 8-24hrs after it's been cut. If it's a little wet on bottom and dry on top it will blend nice IMO. 

My wheel rake works good, however they're not perfect. A hydraulic driven v rake is probably the answer but very pricey. Wheel rakes can be bought cheap. Just make sure it's got good wheels (teeth)  if they are already weak they wont hardly pull that wet stuff. The 2 on back need to be in perfect shape for a nice windrow. Wet hay is hard to pull especially through 4" tall sudan stubble. As long as I go the way I cut, and I throw 2 passes (21') together I'm good. My rake will grab 3 but it throws it on the middle because no kicker wheels like mentioned above.  To me for you being on a budget and getting started in this i think a 10 or 12 wheel rake would suite you fine. 

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6 hours ago, acem said:

What will rake heavy, wet forage?

I have been trying to use my ground driven bar rake but it doesn't work. It slips the belt or if I tighten it enough to rake the belt brakes. 

Will a hydraulic bar rake work or what?

 

A hydraulic bar rake will work well.   We used a Vermeer R23 for many years to double windrows in front of a pull type chopper.  It would rake anything from too wet to chop to too dry to bale.  Since you are planning to make baleage which usually isn’t harvested as wet as chopped silage, a good, oversized high capacity rake will work too.  I would recommend a Vermeer R2300 if you want to go that way.  The older R23 had weaker bar bearings.  They were good enough to last quite a while but they are not the life time bearing that the newer machines have.  And, of course, the R23 and R23A are manual fold and the R2300 is hydraulic.  

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Thanks for the great info as usual. I have an old 10 wheel rake that is completely worn out. I have been using the side delivery because it still works. I'll probably have to get another wheel rake. I just thought getting dirt in the bale would mess up the silage process. A hydraulic rake would be great but $$$. 

 I think I will need to get a baler though. Hopefully I can make it through this season... it works ok in dry hay. 

Muley, tell me more about this microwave method. How  much hay, how long to microwave, etc. Details. 

Thx-Ace 

 

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A little foggy with better than 40 years since I used the process. Don't recall the sample size being set,just need very accurate scale. Weight of wet sample microwave until dry and weight of dry sample. Small sample so it only takes minutes to dry rather than bigger sample and drying for a hour. Better keep my mouth shut as I am not sure of the math. But just like converting to metric I bet it is on google.  

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2 hours ago, acem said:

Thanks for the great info as usual. I have an old 10 wheel rake that is completely worn out. I have been using the side delivery because it still works. I'll probably have to get another wheel rake. I just thought getting dirt in the bale would mess up the silage process. A hydraulic rake would be great but $$$. 

 I think I will need to get a baler though. Hopefully I can make it through this season... it works ok in dry hay. 

Muley, tell me more about this microwave method. How  much hay, how long to microwave, etc. Details. 

Thx-Ace 

 

You are just nuking the moisture away   Dont get carried away.  I used to do 3min...wait a min...3min...wait stir...3m..check....1m check and so on till wt didnt change.  Id do 10oz so then x10 at end to get %

I guess a AirFryer is the hot ticket now.  Fast hot air so quick.

Now...you selling this stuff Ace?   Sudan is heavy sticky so untill you get a hydro rake take it easy.  We bale off row often.  Mow roe skinny enough to feed and let set 2 days.  Genrally fine.  Yes dirt does hurt quality a bit.  But to be bad need a lot of it baled in...cows dont gain or milk eating dirt.  It fills them up with nothing

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7 hours ago, acem said:

Thanks for the great info as usual. I have an old 10 wheel rake that is completely worn out. I have been using the side delivery because it still works. I'll probably have to get another wheel rake. I just thought getting dirt in the bale would mess up the silage process. A hydraulic rake would be great but $$$. 

 I think I will need to get a baler though. Hopefully I can make it through this season... it works ok in dry hay. 

Muley, tell me more about this microwave method. How  much hay, how long to microwave, etc. Details. 

Thx-Ace 

 

 

Grab a wad of grass from field that is similar to the rest of the field (same type of grass, mowed same time etc) 

Steal/borrow wife's digital kitchen scale.

Set to grams (makes math easier later)

Tare scale and weigh out 100g of grass

Microwave short intervals until the grass is all dry. Do it too fast and it CATCHES FIRE!

Weigh the grass after microwaving. If you have 60g of grass left....you had 40% moisture (40+60=100) 

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2 hours ago, 495man said:

 

Grab a wad of grass from field that is similar to the rest of the field (same type of grass, mowed same time etc) 

Steal/borrow wife's digital kitchen scale.

Set to grams (makes math easier later)

Tare scale and weigh out 100g of grass

Microwave short intervals until the grass is all dry. Do it too fast and it CATCHES FIRE!

Weigh the grass after microwaving. If you have 60g of grass left....you had 40% moisture (40+60=100) 

Exactly 

But ....if you use a house micro....be ready for stink forever!  We have a barn micro for Dry matters

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We use a merger. Less ash content. Also sometimes just bale directly behind mower [ 16 ft ] . Unless putting 3 or more together due to low volume there is no benefit in trip reduction  to only put 2 together so probly 50% of ours is singles right out of mower and 50% triples that are merged. Have used my 16 and 20 wheel V rakes opened up just enough to catch 2 and they work fine in that position, don't believe they would do the wet hay at full open to collect 3 or 4 windrows . The merger is much better as far as the ash content though.

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3 hours ago, 495man said:

 

Grab a wad of grass from field that is similar to the rest of the field (same type of grass, mowed same time etc) 

Steal/borrow wife's digital kitchen scale.

Set to grams (makes math easier later)

Tare scale and weigh out 100g of grass

Microwave short intervals until the grass is all dry. Do it too fast and it CATCHES FIRE!

Weigh the grass after microwaving. If you have 60g of grass left....you had 40% moisture (40+60=100) 

Agreed. To add I take scissors and cut your sample into 1" pieces into bowl that I've already tare out until 100grams.  I have a junky microwave in the barn I use. I throw an aerosol can lid full if water in there, or keeps it from scorching the grass. You go 3 minutes, weigh it. It will be say 85 grams, go another 1 minute, it will be say 80. Repeat process until you have the same number 2 times. Once you do it a time or two you can do it twice as fast because you'll know to leave it cook longer. When you pull it out you'll see the moisture cooking. I use a bowl big enough that I can shake it up like a bag of pop corn. My scale came from walmart for $9. microwave was free. takes 10 minutes or less to have a sample done. Theres some videos on youtube about it. Works for grain or anything. 

Oh and as for the dirt, if you read alot you'll find out that heavy dirt can cause issues with bad bacteria and ash. Now, every single person I know uses a wheel rake. ??‍♂️  that's why I think for guys like us getting by they work good enough. Just my .02

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Thanks alot.

I'm doing some dry grass/weed hay now but will be back on the Sudan later in the week. 

I need to get a better handle on the moisture content. This microwave method sounds good. We had an air fryer too, I guess you set it to a low temp, 200?.

The hay is just for me this year. I have beef cows, not dairy, but am trying to make better hay so I don't need supplemental feed.

I was concerned dirt in the bales might cause bad things to happen to silage. There are alot of various microbes in dirt. Glad to hear it's not a serious problem.

My baler is happy I'm back in dry hay! My old Closed throat baler don't like baleage!

Thx-Ace 

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