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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.











calendar of events

Upcoming Events

Beginning Farmer/Hobby Farmer Workshop $5/pp, class size is limited, so pre-register by April 15th!

April 27, 2019
9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Canandaigua, NY

This hands-on workshop is for beginning or part-time farmers who would like to improve their farm machinery skills, learn to properly and safely maintain their equipment to protect their investment. If you have been thinking about buying a tractor, new or used, two-wheel or four-wheel drive, compact or utility or more come join us. Topics include: selecting the right size/type tractor for the job; basic maintenance; staying safe around tractors and equipment; attaching implements properly; and information about ROPS and SMV's. There will be time for questions.

Pre-registration requested by April 15, 2019 email Amy with your name, address, and phone number or call 585-394-3977 x 429.
Fee: $5.00/person. Class size is limited.

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2019 Pastured Poultry Seminar, lunch included so please register by May 10th! $25/person

May 18, 2019
Registration begins at 8:00 a.m.w/ coffee & donuts with the Program running from 9:00 a.m. - 5 p. m.
Attica, NY

The main speaker this year is Eli Reiff of Mifflinburg Pennsylvania. Eli raises broilers, turkeys, sheep, and beef, all on pasture. Topics to be covered will include the pasture, feed and nutrition, marketing, costs, and much more. As we grow as farm operators and get bigger, we may not pay as much attention to the basics as we should. So those areas are where we will start, and then expand to cover the group's interests.

Mike Badger, Director of the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association will also be available for a round-table discussion. Plans are to have representatives from Farm Bureau, NYCAMH for farm health and safety, Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County, as well as others.

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Calling all 9th-12th graders! 4th Annual Precision Agriculture Day at Genesee Community College

May 21, 2019
9:00 am - 1:30 pm Register by Friday May 10th! $15/per person includes lunch
Batavia, NY

Calling all 9th-12th graders!  We have an exciting new program for students interested in technology, science, engineering, and agriculture!
Would you like to:
  • Learn about how Drones collect information
  • Check out some potential career opportunities that have new and ever-changing technology
  • Learn how these technologies can be used in our own backyards in WNY
  • Discover potential and exciting career opportunities

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Producers Previously Enrolled in the LGM Program Now Eligible for MPP

Dairy Producers Previously Enrolled in the Livestock Gross Margin Program Now Eligible for 2018 Margin Protection Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that dairy producers who elected to participate in the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle Program (LGM-Dairy) now have the opportunity to participate in the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) for 2018 coverage. Sign-up will take place March 25 through May 10, 2019.
Eligible producers can enroll during the sign-up period at their local USDA service center. To locate your office, visit

Smart Farming Team Technical Assistance Grant Application

The Labor Ready Farmer Project is offering grants to provide up to 12 hours of Technical Assistance (TA) consulting services to farms who want to make improvements to their farm's processes in hiring, training, managing or evaluating employees. Applicants will choose from one of the following four areas for TA assistance and identify a specific project. If selected they will be matched with a "Smart Farming Team" of consultants who will provide one on one technical assistance.
Please complete this application and send to Nicole Waters, Beginning Farm Project Coordinator for the Cornell Small Farms Program. The form can be submitted by email, mail or in-person at the address listed below. Please feel free to call or email with any questions.

Nicole Waters - Beginning Farmer Project Coordinator
Plant Science Building, Room 15b
Tower Road, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
Phone: 607-255-9911

Applications accepted on a rolling basis.

USDA Announces January Income over Feed Cost Margin Triggers First 2019 Dairy Sa

WASHINGTON, March 6, 2019 ? The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced this week that the January 2019 income over feed cost margin was $7.99 per hundredweight, triggering the first payment for eligible dairy producers who purchase the appropriate level of coverage under the new but yet-to-be established Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

DMC, which replaces the Margin Protection Program for Dairy, is a voluntary risk management program for dairy producers that was authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill. DMC offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced last week that sign up for 
DMC will open by mid-June of this year. At the time of sign up, producers who elect a DMC coverage level between $8.00 and $9.50 would be eligible for a payment for January 2019.

For example, a dairy operation with an established production history of 3 million pounds (30,000 cwt.) that elects the $9.50 coverage level for 50 percent of its production could potentially be eligible to receive $1,887.50 for January.

Sample calculation:
$9.50 - $7.99 margin = $1.51 difference
$1.51 times 50 percent of production times 2,500 cwt. (30,000 cwt./12) = $1,887.50

The calculated annual premium for coverage at $9.50 on 50 percent of a 3-million-pound production history for this example would be $2,250.

Sample calculation:
3,000,000 times 50 percent = 1,500,000/100 = 15,000 cwt. times 0.150 premium fee = $2,250

Operations making a one-time election to participate in DMC through 2023 are eligible to receive a 25 percent discount on their premium for the existing margin coverage rates.

"Congress created the Dairy Margin Coverage program to provide an important financial safety net for dairy producers, helping them weather shifting milk and feed prices," FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said. "This program builds on the previous Margin Protection Program for Dairy, carrying forward many of the program upgrades made last year based on feedback from producers. We're working diligently to implement the DMC program and other FSA programs authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill."

Additional details about DMC and other FSA farm bill program changes can be found at

New Guidance for Mortality Disposal Issued

NYS Department of Ag and Markets has posted guidelines on disposal of livestock carcasses, in response to reports that some rendering companies have halted pickups from farms.|1