Have you got an old tedder out the back?
Poor quality hay and silage cost as much to make as good the stuff but the ensuing livestock production from it is disappointing.
Tedding is a particularly important part of the process because it speeds up the drying rate by 30 to 60 percent and has a direct effect on the final quality and the livestock production that can be expected of it.
When pasture is cut it continues to respire quickly for a short period, then moisture loss slows down.
Both dry matter and quality are lost, increasing the cost per unit of both as the product is made.
To minimise these losses the plant must be wilted down to a dry matter content target as soon as possible.
Warm days with low humidity and lots of sunlight and wind make the plant dry fastest.
Wilting can be sped up several ways, including tedding - the action of spreading the material immediately after mowing.
Tedders and tedder rakes have been available for twenty years or so but are now increasing in popularity again as we know more about maximising quality.
Machinery field days around the state seem to have more on display and you could spend a couple of years’ holiday money on one.
This would help your hay quality but might be hard to explain to the family.
If you’re lucky enough, you might have an old one waiting patiently in the back of the shed for you to revisit.
This story appears Agriculture Today.