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Old school hay making. Is there still a place for a Haybine?

Tags :  hay  |  haybine  |  hay-tools  | 


Old school hay making. Is there still a place for a Haybine?

In front of me here is an older sickle bar mower with a roll conditioner in the back of it, an older used Gale piece that we have floating around here. You're going to see equipment like this often out on used yards, but still available new today as well. And this is old technology. Most machines today are going to be more of a disc mower-type with spinning blades underneath of it. But these things continue to be sold today, continue to be available on our used lot, and there's actually some applications for this that you may not be aware of, cases where that today's latest and greatest may not necessarily be the best implement behind your tractor. So we're going to talk today about the value of a Haybine®.

Now, I led off there with the name Haybine®. Haybine® is New Holland's trademarked term for this kind of machine, for a pull-type mower with a sickle bar cutting mechanism in the bottom, and conditioners in the back that go through and do those rolling and crimping of your product, in order to get that hay to dry down more quickly. Like I said, most machines today have moved on to disc-type cutters, New Holland's Discbine®, or many companies' disc mower conditioners, where you have a spinning disc on the bottom with a very similar conditioning system in the back of it. That more modern mower now, with those discs in it, can cut really quickly through the field, and it's a vast majority of what continues to be sold out there today. That disc mower is much more productive, it moves through the field much more quickly, you're going to cut a lot more acres per gallon of fuel that's going into your tractor. For production-type agriculture, it's definitely the best choice for most people out there.


This Might Be the Best Option

However, this older technology still has a place behind some people's tractors, and in some cases it's actually the better piece of equipment, the better fit machine behind the tractor that you might already have today. This older technology is going to run with a lot less horsepower than what's required out of the newer disc-type mowers. For a nine-foot pull-type machine like this in a current disc cutter, you need to have at least 75, 80 PTO horsepower or so. So you've got a hundred horse tractor up there at the engine if you're running around with a cab and air conditioning and everything, it takes a fair amount of tractor in order to pull that pull-type mower.

Now, you're going to do it quickly, you're going to get things done fast, but if you don't have a machine that large today and you want to make do with the existing tractor that you have today, there's two ways you could do that. One would be to get rid of the conditioning rollers and use a three-point-type disc mower that could run on a smaller tractor. But if you want to continue to have the benefits of the conditioning rollers in the back, they're going to help your hay dry down better and ultimately create a better product. You can use a Haybine®-type mower behind a lower horsepower tractor. So this nine-foot machine here, while we need that 80 horsepower at the PTO or so to do one of those with the newer model, these older ones can get by on a 30-horse machine. And so you can pull this around with a much smaller tractor, maybe an older machine that you have out there in the shed, and still be able to do the same kind of work. 


Not a Highspeed Cut

Now, this machine's not going to move through the field nearly as quickly as what a disc cutter is going to. Mechanically, for this to cut the hay, rather than having a spinning disc with knives on it, this is going to have a sickle bar cutting mechanism in the bottom of it. You have some standard knives that are moving back and forth between some fingers that are going to hold the grass hay in place, and as that goes back and forth, that's going to cut things, basically, scissor it off while you go. Somebody will tell you that if you run this machine with good sharp knives on it, it's going to give you a better quality cut than you could ever really get out of a disc-type mower where you're cutting with a swinging blade as you go along. So you're going to have less streaking and maybe a little bit better quality cut of your hay with a sickle bar-type design like this. 

It has its drawbacks. They get dull, they're hard to replace when you break the knives off, but they do have their place, and in a low speed environment, can do a good job for you. That's going to cut that hay and then throw it up with these fingers right here, these pickup tines, up into conditioning rollers in the back. This one's got metal conditioning, you're also going to see rubber options there as well, that are a little bit more gentle on the hay. Those conditioning rollers are going to crimp that hay and allow it to dry down more quickly so that when you go to bale, you're going to have a more consistently dry product coming up into your bales, and make better hay at the end of the day. So you can still have all the benefits of the conditioning rollers that you get from modern machinery, but do it with less horsepower in a Haybine®.

So while in many cases, newer machinery is going to do a better job in the field for production farmers, it's worth remembering the implements that we may have had from years ago, and some of the benefits that they might have out there in the field, particularly for those of you with smaller tractors. So if you're shopping for machinery to do hay work, we've got a great group of people here at Messick's that are able to help you size the proper implements behind the tractors that you have to help get that job done. We've got a large selection out here of used pieces like this Gale right here, and also new equipment as well. We're going to stock a couple of these new New Holland versions of these, the Haybine® every year. It might suit behind your tractor. 


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