Introduction: How to Bale Alfalfa

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When working on a farm, there are many important things that someone needs to know how to do. If a person were to work on a farm and own cattle, baling alfalfa is usually a task every farmer has to do. It makes excellent feed for the cattle. Alfalfa is a flowering crop which is very important when cattle farming. Baling hay is very important to make sure the alfalfa isn’t too high or too low in moisture. In this paper, I will describe the important aspects and tools involved with baling alfalfa.

Step 1: Step One

Picture of Step One

Either alfalfa will have to be seeded into the ground with a drill or it can be spread on with a fertilizer spreader. We always have planted it using a fertilizer spreader. It does not really matter which way to plant it – both ways would work.

Step 2: Step Two

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Once the alfalfa crop is grown up and mature, which usually takes about 28 days to mature depending on the year, then it will need to be cut down. There are many ways to cut alfalfa. The first way would be to use a sickle mower to lay down the hay. To use a sickle mower, hook the mower onto the tractor and turn it on. Drive it around to cut the hay just like a lawnmower. One other way to cut alfalfa would be to use a disc bind or hay bind. They both do pretty much the same thing as a sickle mower would do. The only difference would be that they put the hay in a windrow. A windrow is a long line of raked hay which is left out to dry.

Step 3: Step Three

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Whether the hay is in a windrow or laid down, patiently wait for the hay to dry. The hay could take a couple days to dry out. Make sure the hay is dry, but not too dry. If it is too dry, all the leaves will fall off. To tell if the alfalfa is to dry, grab a piece of alfalfa and slide your hand down it and if the flowers fall off, then it is too dry. Once it is dry, rake the hay up into a windrow, which then let, sit for around half a day. It all depends on the weather. If the alfalfa is rained on, just sit and wait for them to dry out again.When the hay is in a nice windrow, bale the hay. Either a round baler or a square baler would work for this. It doesn’t really matter what machine to use for the baling. For the first cutting of hay, it seems to be about ready to bale around anywhere between 2 am to 5 am. Once the field is all baled up, all the steps to harvesting alfalfa are almost complete.

Step 4: Step Four

Picture of Step Four

After all the hay is baled up, usually leave the bales sit for a couple days. Letting them sit for a couple days allows the hay to dry a little more. If the hay is wet and they get put into a pile, they could stand a chance of starting on fire. After they sit, move the bales. Either stack them in the field or haul them off of the field. Generally, most farmers stack them up on the high spots of the field and just come get them when they are needed. Almost every farmer will do this differently, but this is one way to bale alfalfa.

Comments

Swansong (author)2017-11-07

Our area had some concerns due to the drought this year, some farms are going to have to buy because they don't have enough hay for the winter. Hopefully areas down south did better this year!

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