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Hay Conditioners

Bill Verbeten, Field Crops
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

April 16, 2013
Hay Conditioners

In the circle of growers I talk to, hay conditioning has often become a topic of conversation and how well some of the newer conditioning equipment works. There are a small number of growers in WNY who own conditioners that are used a few hours after hay is cut and before tedding takes place to speed up dry down. But, you often hear mixed stories on how well these units work. There has been very little research done on dry down times and the effects on hay quality. Because of these uncertainties, adding an additional trip across the field, and the cost of these units, farmers are hesitant to pursue purchasing. I know several growers and I'll include myself in this group that purchased a 1950's vintage hay crusher/crimper with the thought that this is the same principal. But, I have not been impressed with the results.

This summer I am performing trials with 2 different types of new conditioners, the hay Accelerator and Macerator. There are some growers in WNY that own an Accelerator or a very similar unit called the Recon. These machines have metal rollers that interlock, crushing and crimping the stems as the hay passes through. These units are in the price range of $18,000 to $25,000 depending on the manufacturer and options. The Macerator is more expensive, selling for around $32,000. I don't know of any farmers around the area that own a Macerator. The Macerator uses 2 sets of rollers. The first set is rubber and squeezes the hay, while the second set is metal and spins faster while nicking the stems.

I obtained the 2 units in the beginning of June but had little luck with conducting trials because of the consistent rain fall. Cummins and Bricker ended up selling the Accelerator unit that was being demoed, so I have very little data from that machine in first cutting. But, they have supplied us with another unit for second cutting. As for the Macerator unit we did witness some significant increases in dry down time and the hay is much softer in the bale although some leaf loss is noticed in late cut first cutting.

So how well do they work? Between rains we started to cut hay at noon and macerated right after the field was cut while it was still sprinkling on a cloudy, windy day. The hay was tedded 3 hours later and again the next morning. The hay was raked at 2 p.m. and baled at 4 p.m. o"clock. It had been just 28 hours and the hay was baled at 10% to 12% moisture. The windrows that were left to just be tedded were 22% to 24% moisture. I have always found it is the hardest to get the hay to drop from 20% to 14% moisture. It worked well on this occasion and I'm looking forward to conducting the side by side with Accelerator in the second cutting. Forage quality is also being tested to compare extra conditioned to conventional mower conditioned hay to verify effects of the leaf loss on quality.

Over the next few weeks a series of side by side trials will be performed on second cutting hay. We will be hosting a field demonstration and displaying results at 9:00 a.m. on August 20th, at David Stephen's farm on Prole Road (the road east of Empire Tractor) between Route 5 & 33 in the town of Batavia. Equipment reps will be at the event to assist with any questions. John Hanchar will also provide a financial summary of number of acres/bales for the cost effectiveness of each machine.  

For more information visit the manufacturer websites:

TubeLine Manufacturing 

AgLand Industries Inc.











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Upcoming Events

2019 Corn Silage Pre-Harvest Workshop - Penn Yan

September 17, 2019
10:00am to Noon
Penn Yan, NY

Corn silage harvest is drawing near. The way corn silage is harvested and stored is a single event that affects your operation for the entire next year. Are you prepared to set your operation up for success? 
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Ontario County Fun on the Farm

September 21, 2019
11:00 am- 4:00 pm
Seneca Castle, NY

Fun on the Farm works to educate non-farm public and our neighbors about agriculture around them. It is fun and educational.

Fun on the Farm attracts thousands of people and gives us the opportunity to communicate to the community the benefits of the agricultural production in Ontario County, the state, and the nation.

The event is free! There are many agricultural products that are available to be sampled. It is the perfect place to try that product you have seen in the store but didn't want to commit to purchasing.

Food is available to purchase for lunch. It is provided by a local service group.
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Bovine Reproduction and AI Training Course

September 24 - September 25, 2019
9:30am - 3:30pm
Shortsville, NY


This two-day AI workshop will be held on September 24 and 25. 

Topics covered will include:

• Reproductive Physiology
• Synchronization Protocols
• Heat Detection
• Artificial Insemination
• Proper Thawing of Semen
• Loading A.I. guns
• Practice Breeding Cows

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Preventing Sexual Harassment on Farms

If you're wondering how to get your farm business in compliance with NYS Sexual Harassment Regulations, you've come to the right place.  The 2018 New York State budget included new regulations addressing sexual harassment in the workplace that became effective on October 9, 2018 for all New York employers, including agricultural employers. All employers are required to have a sexual harassment prevention policy and to provide annual, interactive sexual harassment prevention training for all employees.  Check out the resources developed by Cornell Ag Workforce Development, including step-by-step instructions and farm-friendly training videos.

RMA Announces Additional One-time Changes to Prevented Planting Provisions

June 29, 2019

RMA Announces Additional One-time Changes to Prevented Planting Provisions
for 2019 Crop Year

In response to delayed and prevented planting resulting from above average rainfall and wetness, the USDA Risk Management Agency has made a one-time change to the 2019 crop year prevented planting rules that effectively allows silage corn, if planted as a cover crop following local agricultural expert guidelines, to be acceptable as a post-prevented planting cover crop. Under this one-time rule change, producers are allowed to produce this crop while retaining their prevented planting payment. This change couples with previously announced one-time changes to the prevented planting rules - including expanded acceptable uses for post-prevented planting cover crops and a change in the cover crop haying and grazing start date rule - serve to help those struggling to meet their forage needs due to the weather.

Read the full article from the New York Crop Insurance Education Program.

The USDA-RMA states that "For crop insurance purposes, a cover crop is a crop generally recognized by agricultural experts as agronomically sound for the area for erosion control or other purposes related to conservation or soil improvement." PRO-DAIRY specialists Joe Lawrence and Karl Czymmek and Dr. Quirine Ketterings, Professor and Director of Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program have released a letter stating "Corn on Prevented Planting acres meets these objectives."