How do you grow and harvest hay?

Today, the process for growing hay still involves letting the plants grow to maturity, then cutting it, letting it dry in the sun, raking it, and gathering it up in some form, whether that be round or square bales, or as loose hay.

How do you grow hay step by step?

Here are seven steps to help you produce a quality alfalfa yield:

  1. Choose an appropriate field. …
  2. Plant the right seed variety. …
  3. Scout regularly. …
  4. Cut alfalfa at the best time. …
  5. Set yourself up for drying success. …
  6. Lean on moisture levels. …
  7. Be smart about bale storage.

How long does it take for hay to grow?

Second Cutting: Depending upon the temperatures of the days and nights, it typically takes 40-45 days for regrowth of alfalfa, mix hay, and orchard-grass , and 55- 60 days for regrowth of timothy.

How do you harvest hay from grass?

When harvesting hay, it is best to move slowly and deliberately for even cutting, as well as to minimize harm to any wildlife – snakes, birds, etc. – that may be hiding in the tall grasses. Once the hay is cut, it should be spread evenly to dry thoroughly before baling.

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How do you grow a hay field?

Ten steps for a successful new seeding

  1. Ensure soil pH and fertility are within recommended ranges. …
  2. Plant high-quality seed. …
  3. Seed early. …
  4. Plant into a good seedbed. …
  5. Calibrate the drill or seeder. …
  6. Don’t plant too deep. …
  7. Use press-wheel drills in a conventionally prepared seedbed. …
  8. Companion crop or not?

Does hay need a lot of water?

A ton of hay requires 4 to 5 inches of water pumped through the plant. Typically, in a three cut management system, 35-45% of the yield is produced during the first growth cycle, before July 1.

What do you need to harvest hay?

Hay Equipment

A compact tractor is the staple of every operation, but mowers, conditioners, hay rakes, balers, and sometimes hay tedders and bale wrappers are also needed.

How many times a year can you cut hay?

How Many Times Can You Harvest Hay in a Year? Depending on your soil and grass growth rate, you can harvest hay two or three times a year. In some places, you can even stretch for a fourth crop, but the harvest won’t be as fruitful.

What is the easiest hay to grow?

Part 1 of 3:

Depending on your needs, plant grass, alfalfa, or a mixture of the 2 for use as hay after growing. Grass hay is generally more nutritious than alfalfa hay for livestock, but alfalfa has more fiber. If you choose grass hay, timothy grass is ideal for growing and harvesting hay.

How many acres of hay do you need to make a living?

There is no hard-and-fast land requirement. However, the farmers I spoke with said that someone would need at least 500 owned acres and 1,000 leased acres to make a living.

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Is hay just dried grass?

Hay is a plant that has been cut, dried, and stored for animal feed. Many plants can be used as hay, but in Iowa today, alfalfa and clover are the most common. As Americans moved west onto the Great Plains in the 19th century, they would often use the prairie grasses that were growing there to feed their livestock.

How do you harvest hay by hand?

The proper method cutting hay by hand: stand with your legs apart and knees slightly bent. Three ropes tied around the width and a fourth wrapped lengthwise hold together each 70- to 90-pound bate of sun-dried hay. Swing your scythe and torso from right to left, concentrating on a smooth, whole-body pivot.

Is hay profitable to grow?

He says it costs about $297 per acre to seed and prepare hay ground. “You are going to get more than three years out of that, but if we use three years, that’s about $100 per acre per year,” Brown says. “If you are getting $125 per ton for quality hay, you are going to see a profit of $51 per ton, or $204 per acre.

What do you plant hay with?

Grass: Hay can be made from many types of grass, with timothy, bermudagrass and orchardgrass being common choices. Legume: Alfalfa is the dominant member of the legume family when it comes to making hay, with clover another to consider and bird’s-foot trefoil a popular choice for hayfields containing more moisture.

How do you maintain a hay field?

Other landowners just want to maintain the fields with desirable grasses and open spaces.

Steps to renovate an old hayfield:

  1. Assess the condition of the field, your goals and your resources.
  2. Get a soil test.
  3. Mow field with a rotary mower.
  4. Lime and fertilize.
  5. Remove rocks and stumps.
  6. Till (if necessary) and seed.
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