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Hay handling ideas from All Around the Farm

  • Wet hay fluffer

    Hay needs air underneath it to dry, so here's an inexpensive way to put up rained-on hay. Remove the back gate from an old roller-type round baler (it takes about an hour), and run over the windrow. It lifts the hay and makes it fluffy so it will dry faster. Comes in handy during a rainy haying season.

  • Sample hook

    People in the hay business need to be able to show what's inside the bale. It's easier to get into good bales with a J-hook made out of 3/8-inch rod. Just bend one end and attach a T-handle on the other end. Push it in, twist a quarter turn, and pull out a sample of hay.

  • Safety net

    Orange safety fence placed along the length of a load of hay will help keep the load from shifting or falling off. This farmer uses eight-pack bale clamps. After three rows are in place, they unroll the fencing down the center, place another row of bales on top, then put one eight-pack on each side of the trailer, shifting half a bale for tying on the top ones.

  • Wrap repairs

    Repairing agfilm (Ag-Bags) with agtape can be frustrating, and it rarely sticks for long. But using silicone caulking is fast and easy. Just fill in small holes (like the ones from bird pecks) and go. For bigger holes and rips, make patches from a piece of used bag. Put a bead of caulk around the hole first, then caulk around the patch for double assurance.

  • Bale grabber

    To improve the holding power of the bale grabber mounted on his tractor's front end loader, this farmer welded a bracket to the hydraulically moveable arm and bolted on a 14-inch tire and rim. The rubber sidewalls greatly reduce slippage on wet, snowy, or ice-covered plastic wraps.

  • Three-bale trailer

    A high school welding class built this trailer for a farmer who wanted to carry up to three big bales of hay about 12 miles to feed. He didn't want to leave a tractor or extra hay behind. A pickup can transport this trailer. Each cradle dumps separately when the operator trips the latching system.

  • Two-bale spear

    There are three pieces of an old six-row cultivator frame in this tote. Two 1-inch steel plates are welded on top of the main beam to hold the top bale point brackets. Two lower extensions are made from ends of the main beam. Enough space is in between so that bales won't touch when lowered.

  • Unroller

    Using the bucket on a loader to unroll large round bales got much easier for this farmer after he put an ordinary implement tire to work. The spindle assembly is bolted to the side of the bucket, so it can be removed easily when not in use. The tire rotates just at or above the bottom of the bucket.

  • Self-standing spear

    Another welding class constructed this three-point hay spear. The instructor says that since it's on the heavy side and somewhat awkward to handle when hitching up, they gave it a self-standing option. Its stands will rotate 90 degrees and slide up under the bottom cross arm when in use.

  • Bale shelter

    This shelter helps prevent hay from getting wet in inclement weather. It also allows the cattle to feed without having to use a round hay ring. The main structure is 20 feet wide and 12 feet deep. The interior structure is designed to hold a 4x4-foot bale of hay.

  • Three-bale manger

    Instead of driving in muddy pastures to place big round bales in individual bale feeders, make a manger from 4x6-inch treated wood rails that will hold three bales. One bale slides into another until three bales are loaded. This lets the user handle gates less often.

  • Nonslip strips

    Waiting for bales on a hay wagon is safer once there are nonslip safety treads placed in the front corner where the bale chute ends. A hard roller works well to put on 2-inch-wide adhesive-backed traction strips cut from a 60-foot roll. The strips stick well to any clean, painted wood or unpainted steel surface.

Enjoy these hay handling ideas from All Around the Farm.

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