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  1. #1
    New Member
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    May 2014
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    Highland, Wisconsin
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    Kubota L3800

    Default Keeping hay fields in shape for future use?

    Greetings all - I'm new to this site.

    We have a "hobby" farm of 70 acres. Of which, half is open and was in C.R.P. until about 6 years ago. We started brush cutting the fields when it came out of CRP and ultimately have gotten most of it into pretty good grass hay condition since. Most of our time and energy goes into hops production. We only have been making hay and selling it to keep the fields looking nice and clear of weeds. It has become clear that I can't keep up the pace of hops, hay, and a full time job. The wife says I have to keep the job (go figure).

    I've been making hay (small squares) with my Kubota L3800 diesel. I just drop the bales in the field to be retrieved later (lots of labor). I want to stop making hay for 4-5 years (until I retire) but keep the fields (20-30 acres) in nice shape. In the past I have given the hay away to anybody that will make it themselves. This proved to be understandably unreliable and the fields could become a mess pretty quickly. Fencing is virtually non existent, so opening the fields to pasture animals is not possible. Oh yes, my wife absolutely will NOT allow row crops, so leasing the land is not negotiable!!

    I'm willing to try and keep the fields under 6-8" tall and mow it as often as that takes. I'm thinking that it's an unrealistic number of rounds with my 5' brush cutter or 5' finish mower to successfully save myself any time (which is my goal). I've been exploring the purchase of larger mowing equipment, but have gotten lots of mixed reviews regarding horsepower (etc.). The idea of gang reel mowers came up.. but I can see how falling a few days behind could become a problem. A larger tractor is not open for discussion right now.

    Finally the question - Any suggestions? Larger mower configurations, horsepower suggestions, or farm practices that might have merit? Basically, can one guy mow a 9 hole golf course all summer, weed 1 acre of hops, and keep a full time job (smile)? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Super Member smstonypoint's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keeping hay fields in shape for future use?

    What type of grass do you have?

    Why not mow less frequently and use a broadleaf herbicide to control any weed problems?

    Steve

  3. #3
    New Member
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    Highland, Wisconsin
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    Kubota L3800

    Default Re: Keeping hay fields in shape for future use?

    Hey... (no pun intended)... that was a quick response! Thanks. As for the type of hay - I'm not sure (not an expert here), visually it appears to be a mix of grasses (typical Midwest stuff if there is such a thing). One of the guys that did the "free" (sometimes I will cut the hay, sometimes I won't) did over-seed it one year (but never told me what he added). As for the herbicide weed control I must admit I'm stuck in a bad spot. The same woman (the wife) that won't allow row crops (because the process will probably need to start with an application of Round-Up) won't allow any herbicides either! I've tried to get someone other than me to get her into a dialog about what is worse for the planet - burning more fuel mowing and contributing more to green house gasses or using a couple applications of herbicides. Your idea definitely has merit, but my situation probably won't allow it for now.

  4. #4
    Super Member smstonypoint's Avatar
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    NH TN 55, Kubota B2320 & RTV 900, Bad Boy Outlaw 61" ZTR

    Default Re: Keeping hay fields in shape for future use?

    Well, if you are that whipped:

    Option 1. Have her do the mowing.

    Option 2. Assuming you have cool season grasses (e.g., fescue, orchard grass, etc.), just use your rotary cutter twice a year at the same time you would be mowing for hay.

    Steve

  5. #5
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
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    Sacramento
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    Getting old. Sold the ranch. Sold the tractors. Moved back to the city.

    Default Re: Keeping hay fields in shape for future use?

    You need a larger tractor--at least 45 hp (pto) to enough power to run a larger mower. Check the Bush Hog website for mower options in this power range.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
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    mansfield,Il
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    john deere

    Default Re: Keeping hay fields in shape for future use?

    Explain to your wife that herbicides kill weeds and notpeople . They break down tissues in target weeds , not people . Driving her car does more damage than herbicides . I have been around farming a long time and no ill effects . I understand her concerns , but millions of $ have been spent to make these products safe .

  7. #7
    New Member
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    Kubota L3800

    Default Re: Keeping hay fields in shape for future use?

    Greetings again all... we are all singing from the same songbook when it comes to herbicides, Round-UP, etc.... but I have given up discussing some topics with the better half. I have a collection of equipment dealers that I have worked with in the past - I generally trust them, but it does seem like the best solution to whatever it is I am working on... just happens to be sitting on their lot (seems suspect).

    Horsepower output I find to be a moving target also. I'm assuming the wide range of mower horsepower requirements is due to the wide range of other variables. (type and thickness of the grass, etc.). Right now the bulk of the fields is almost a lawn like condition (but not as smooth). What do you think about something like this? I believe it says horsepower range of 35-65. Thoughts?

    AFM4211 All-Flex Mowers | Land Pride

  8. #8
    Super Member smstonypoint's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keeping hay fields in shape for future use?

    Quote Originally Posted by hopsnhay View Post
    Right now the bulk of the fields is almost a lawn like condition (but not as smooth). What do you think about something like this? I believe it says horsepower range of 35-65. Thoughts?

    AFM4211 All-Flex Mowers | Land Pride
    My thought -- that looks expensive, very expensive.

    Is your objective, no, make that your wife's objective, to have the 20-30 acres look like a lawn?

    Steve

  9. #9
    Veteran Member
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    Barrington, NH
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    Bobcat CT230

    Default Re: Keeping hay fields in shape for future use?

    Put in alfalfa and mow once a year?

  10. #10
    Member
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    Aug 2009
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    Location
    Caledon, Ontario, Canada
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    Kubota B2920, Kioti CK35 HST, MF-205

    Default Re: Keeping hay fields in shape for future use?

    I'm in a very similar situation however I have a guy who cuts and bails hay for himself, for now he had a stroke so I don't know how much longer he will be able to do this. I was thinking in investing in to drum mower they can cut any type and size grass with very high speed and can be used on compact tractors I would just cut once or twice a year + over seed with alfalfa every year to cut down on mowing and have more deer come up and feed on the pastures
    Paul

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