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With new hay rakes, bigger is better

Fuel costs aren't what they were a couple of years ago, but
they still represent one of the biggest chunks of input costs for any field
operation. That includes raking hay.

Minimizing the number of trips across the field -- thereby
minimizing the amount of fuel required -- is the main goal of a new generation
of hay rakes hitting the market int he last couple of years. That's mainly
coming in the form of larger sets of rakes comprising larger wheels.

Take the Circle C Golden Eagle wheel rake system, for
example. Manufacturers say this new system is large enough to encompass 3
swaths, cutting the number of trips required across the field and saving both
time and money. Another feature this manufacturer's added to its latest rakes
is a series of "depth bands" that helps guide the rake tines and
prevents digging into the soil, which can churn up rocks and other debris in
fields that can ultimately shorten the life of rake tines.

For example, Circle C company officials say a rake owned by
Threemile Canyon farms near Boardman, Oregon, covered 36,000 acres before the
rake tines needed to be replaced. That's versus the industry standard for
replacement after around 7,200 acres.

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