Preseason Tips for Hay Season

The first cutting of the season is still a few months away, which means hay season really starts today. Seed choices, inputs and equipment tune-ups — there’s so much to do between now and hay season. Here are some pro tips to help get you ready for a successful year of making hay.

Start in the Shop

A clean and organized shop is a productive shop. Label everything and put similar items in designated areas. This will make it easier to find the tools you need without wasting time. An organized shop can also reduce the risk of injuries.

Choose Seed for the Need

There are four key characteristics to consider when selecting seed, according to Dr. Dan Undersander, forage agronomist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. First, consider your geographic location and select seeds designed to adapt to your environment. Second, always consider the nutritional needs of your animals. Third, opt for disease resistance whenever possible. And lastly, for alfalfa, use a coated seed with Rhyzobium and two different fungicides (Apron and Stamina).

Watch for Preseason Specials

Planning for the season now will pay dividends during the season. For instance, do you have enough supplies such as netwrap on hand? Dealers typically run pre-season promotions for must-have supplies, so why not save money now and headaches later?

Watch and Learn

Consider scheduling a time to have your dealer come out to the field and watch your equipment in action. This will allow your dealer to make recommendations on adjustments or issues that can help to improve performance.

Schedule a Tune-up for Hay Equipment

Your hay equipment needs regular maintenance to maximize productivity and machine life. The first cutting of the season is a bad time to learn about issues that could have been addressed long ago. If you haven’t already, now is the time to contact your equipment dealership and schedule a pre-season maintenance tune-up.

Revisit Your Operator’s Manuals

You can always learn something new about properly running, adjusting or maintaining your hay and forage equipment. Dig out your operator manual and brush up on the details. Access Vermeer equipment manuals online at


Learn more about Hay Makin’ best practices like tedding here or visit