Agri Vehicles Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Making Hay...  (Read 8457 times)


  • Joined Feb 2013
Making Hay...
« on: February 07, 2013, 10:01:14 pm »
We're thinking of turning our hands to making hay this year for the first time. We have about 4 acres set to grass, and an old grey Fergie, which pulls like a train and works in all respects (it even makes horse poo picking almost enjoyable - I love a bit of engine noise!)
Not being a farmer from birth (there's a clue in my username as to what was born to do :-), I have no idea what equipment we need apart from something to cut the hay, turn it over in the sun and then bale it.
What sort of gear should I be looking out for, which will work on the Fergie? It may not be a financially viable proposition, but I imagine there's a great deal of satisfaction when the year's work is done and you're looking at a barn full of hay ready for the horses...
I'm looking forward to your encouraging responses!


  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Making Hay...
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2013, 10:23:43 pm »
since he second hand machinery you will get will hold its value very well, if you discount that from the equation then you could save a lot of money year to year on forage buying. Plus if its anything like our grass it is full of loads of different species and herby bits and both the horses and sheep wolf it down far in preference even to very nice bought in hay. So well worth doing, as long as your free time can coincide with sometimes short weather windows to make the hay and get it in.
on a techy point, most haymaking machinery eg the baler to make small bales needs a certain amount of HP to pull/operate it - ideally about 40-50 (our old John Deere is 75hp and is fine). The other question is what linkage the Fergie has, as most machinery unless specifically designed for your tractor needs a standard 3 point linkage and Im not sure some of the early Fergies had that, does yours?
You would need something to cut the hay (mower or a rippling austrian with a scythe :-D), somethingto turn and fluff it up (known as a wuffler here but other terms used) and something to row it up (our wuffler does that too in another setting) and bale it (we use an old New Holland Superhayliner. Temperamental but the small bales are lovely and easy to store and move - oh yes you need something to move the bales off the field (a flat trailer or just any trailer).
You are right about the satisfaction, it is massively satisfying, nothing better, even if you dont get it all in, what you do will make you smile and the greenish sweet smell will fill the barn.


  • Joined Feb 2013
Re: Making Hay...
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2013, 10:47:38 pm »
Wow, quick first response - thanks!

Our land is flat (most of Norfolk is like that). The Fergie's a TED20 (Wikipedia: Tractor, England, 20horsepower). Wiki says it's not actually 20 hp, but oddly, not what it is (or should be when new). So maybe that's the first stumbling block. It's got a standard 3 point linkage. I had to buy an adaptor for the PTO to make my latest Ebay acquisition work (nice red Big Bee topper), but it should all work.
I guess what I'm after is to know what makes/terminology to search for on Ebay. Moving bales won't be a big problem as we have a trailer already and I need the exercise anyway.... I'll be planning to get some of that rippling stuff around my midriff - forget the austrians!

Keep those thoughts coming please - oh and thanks in advance... ;D


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • carmarthenshire
Re: Making Hay...
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2013, 11:37:16 pm »
if you want exercise, go on a scythe course, get a scythe and do it by hand.

Can't advise on bailers, but I see PTO finger mowers (like the old power scythes) appear on ebay fairly often and tend to be cheap.


  • Joined Oct 2011
  • Huddersfield
Re: Making Hay...
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2013, 03:11:19 am »
I cannot say that I have seen a Grey Fergy on a bailer? Bit down on hp I reckon, but mowing, turning and carting, yes.
Bailers are tempremental old things? If you know of a good one that works , then risk buying it? But I reckon that your best bet would be to get some one to bail it for you and to join in and learn.
I've worked with helicopter mechanics and they are clever lads, but I wouldn't under estimate the bloke on a bailer getting the hay made on a dry day during a wet english summer.

Ps. I have an International B46 'contractors bailer' (40 yr old) that I swaped for a Land Rover diesel engine. I have had it 3 years now and not quite finished it. The bearings in the pick-up binder are tight and are the cause of snapping chains and shearing of bolts and knashing of teeth. Sounds almost biblical ? But it is, and good honest work/fun when it does go right. Not found the 'Jesus Nut' yet .
A man who cannot till the soil cannot till his own soul !
A son of the soil .


  • Joined Jan 2013
Re: Making Hay...
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2013, 08:54:40 am »

I can offer a few thoughts based on my experience of making hay and owning a TED 20 (among others) a various mowers over the years and a baler.

Your TED20 has a few limitations in power and size, but for only 4 acres you will be able to have some fun and it is very satisfying.

Mowing-  The mower ferguson produced to work with the TED20 was the finger bar mower, there was an early version which is all floppy and is a nightmare - steer clear.  The slightly later version is i think is the 735 a finger bar mower but distinguishable by its heavy frame at the front. Farmers dont use these any more, and they can be picked up reasonably on ebay- though it could be a risk on reliability, and they are easily damaged. You still can buy the blades not sure about anything else though. You will need an original style T20 top link with rack and chain as the fergy has no position control on its hydraulics.

The 5'6" drum mowers used by farmers for years which followed this are simply too big for the 20, dont be tempted.

Turner-  Simple- buy a PZ haybob an early one (i think designated the 270) the later 300 (distinguishable by fatter tyres) would be too big for your T20.  This will do your turning and rowing up.  Your t20 will be a bit light on the front end when lifting it, if the hydraulics are tierd it may struggle, but if your just in one field attached to your place you can get away without actually having to lift it.

Baler-- Your t20 will be out of its depth here, balers in the days of T20s had their own engines mounted on them, so all the T20 was doing was towing it around.

My suggestion would be as follows:

For year one:

You only mow the field once, you only bale the field once... so get your local friendly farmer contractor/ vintage enthusiast to do it.

You have to turn the hay 2-3 times a day for about a week, then row up.,  When the weather window arrives everyone is using their turners and dont want to lend them (i speak from bitter experience)--so buy a haybob, with 600 in your pocket you should easily find a good one. You can get some one to mow then spend the next week turning it yourself.

Buy a trailer for the fergy, you want a 3ton one, then you can start carting as soon as the baler man gets going.

Once youve done a year (or 2) youll have experience and can decide on further investment, mowers balers a bigger tractor etc.  ---If you change your mind youll always get your money back on the haybob, and trailers are simply invaluable all year round.

As you have found out you need an adaptor for the PTO- or you can easily upgrade to the bigger size by replacing the shaft in the tractor, its a simple job and part readily available. Worth considering if you do a lot of PTO work, in my experience the adaptors wear quite quickly.

Hope my thoughts are of help any questions dont hesitate.  I got a baler and a mower first and soon realised its the turner you really need !



  • Joined Jan 2009
  • West Cornwall
    • Movement is Life
Re: Making Hay...
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2013, 11:17:33 am »
We did a similar thing last year so that we could make hay from our field - about 2 acres of it.
We bought 2nd hand equipment:
A finger bar mower - 250 from our neighbour's grandson. Some of the rivets disintegrated within 5 yards of cutting..... but we sorted it out with some bits from our local agri store
A haybob - 50 from an auction but it was in a bit of a state (there's an earlier post about it) but OH stripped it right back, painted, oiled, welded as necessary etc and we bought a few tines - it worked a treat  :thumbsup:
Baler - we bought a Bamford baler 500 (again from neighbour's grandson) and apart from a bit of a major catastrophe with the slipping clutch plate (entailed frantic searching for requisite replacement part) we did manage to cut our field and got about 120 bales  :excited:

Unfortunately the storage of said bales was a disaster and we have lost about 90%!  :rant:

Anyway - we have a Case 695XL tractor so totally capable of dealing with the baler which is not the situation with your Fergie - but we thoroughly enjoyed our experience - though it was bl**dy hard work at the time - I would NEVER consider hand scything!



  • Joined Feb 2013
Re: Making Hay...
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2013, 06:35:25 pm »
Thanks for the wise words everyone. There's clearly a future in this hay stuff. I'll give more thought to it all soon (have to go and help OH with the spag bol right now). By help, I mean offering advice on how to cook it best, dodge the odd flying frying pan, pour more red etc - you get the idea.

Learning to use a scythe is a great plan - will she manage on her own?  ;)

Back soon.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Making Hay...
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2013, 01:32:39 pm »
Aside from the mechanicals you need to shut up the field around now, raking down any molehills first.  You'll need a good window of several days to make the hay - hot, windy weather: 3 days, to sunny but still weather: 6 days.  If you have a very experienced farming neighbour watch for when he cuts his - but make sure it's hay he's intending to make - silage and haylage only take a day or two and you'll never make hay in that time.  Turn the hay an hour after it's first cut - this will really speed up the drying process.  If it gets rained on it'll be OK in a shower but if you get the weather really wrong you'll still need to take it off the field only it'll just be a huge compost heap.  Turn it once the dew's off it - after about 11.00 a.m. - and again in the afternoon around 3.00 p.m.  Lift the hay, take a wodge from underneath and put it against your cheek - you will feel if it's damp.  Never bale it damp - it'll turn mouldy and you'll have even more expensive compost, this time laced with binder twine.  Row up and leave it for a few hours before baling.


  • Joined Mar 2013
  • In my shed
Re: Making Hay...
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2013, 12:22:51 am »
I wouldn't bother making the hay if i were you. I do around forty acres a year for local smallholders and can't make it pay. If i were you i'd get someone local to mow it, turn it yourself with an old haybob or wuffler and then get someone to bale it. I have a couple of gray fergys but they are of little use these days. The finger bar mowers were built for the fergy but have to be kept really sharp to cut grass. A rotary mower is much better but they are too heavy for your Fergy. When turning the hay the PTO on the Fergy is very low and the hay will wrap around the shaft and cause problems Tis best to tie an old plastic fertiliser bag under the tractor to prevent this. As for baling... get a contractor or local farmer in to do this... Last year we broke a knotter frame on the baler and it cost over three hundred pounds for the parts to fix it . That was all the proffit gone from the years baling
Good luck and most important....... enjoy yourselves


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Making Hay...
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2013, 08:11:02 am »
When looking for something to turn hay, don't look for a hay bob you will dust up round ur ears and all day and run the engine very high, get an acrobat these are trailed and invented for the old fertile and vintage tractor,can. Be very cheap and more efficient.

This is from an experienced farmer, I cut and bale 300 acres twice if lucky a year and still get the old fertile and acrobat out for some fun.



  • Joined Mar 2013
  • In my shed
Re: Making Hay...
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2013, 09:15:41 am »
The acrobat is good but can roll the hay into a tight tube which does not dry so quickly. We always found the wuffler made the better job but they are hard to find these days. The haybob is by far the quicker machine but, as you say, creates a lot of dust and can make a mess if not set up correctly


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Lincolnshire
Re: Making Hay...
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2013, 09:38:53 am »
I only run the haybob at minimal revs!!

Have to agree on the acrobat we drag it out of the nettles and use to row up sometimes when hay/ silage is very fine and the haybob would just make a dust cloud


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