Trailed mower, tedder offer producer high-quality haymaking alternative to mower conditioner
Isaac Miller raises hay, row crops and wheat. He also operates a 100-cow dairy and feeds out between 500 and 600 steers while supporting another 400 dairy and brood cows each year. It’s a busy farm in a fairly highly populated area and labor can sometimes be a constraint. That’s especially true when time is of the essence, like getting a hay crop cut, tedded, baled and wrapped.
Between a Vermeer TM1400 trailed mower, TE1710 tedder, R2800 twin rake and 504 Pro baler, Miller has the hay and forage equipment he needs to produce high-quality hay, regardless of the weather window, which enables him to meet the nutritional needs of his cattle while working with his farm’s available labor. Though relatively new to using a trailed mower and tedder versus a mower conditioner, the benefits are clear now that he’s run the equipment for a couple years.
Miller is relatively new to operating a full lineup of hay equipment from a single manufacturer. But he’s found that the combination of durable, tough equipment and working with a single local dealer add up to the formula he needs to make quality hay in tight timeframes. It all starts with what he’s noticed every piece of equipment has in common: legendary Vermeer durability.
“It’s all about the dependability of the equipment. I would put our Vermeer trailed mower up against anybody’s out there. We can’t break down in the middle of making hay — we don’t have time to. And now, we’re not worried about it.” said Miller, whose farm is near East Berlin, Pennsylvania. “Plus, this equipment is all so much more maintenance free than what we were used to before.” Miller added, “Now, I don’t have to carry an impact around to change the blades, which is invaluable.”
Miller quickly found that switching from a mower conditioner to a combination of a trailed mower and tedder helps him dry down hay faster and helps enable him to produce high-quality hay cost effectively — a critical component of his family’s overall operation. With the trailed mower’s lower horsepower requirements than his previous mower conditioner, it also helped reduce his fuel usage and enables him to devote a higher-powered tractor to larger, heavier implements.
A fast, maneuverable mower
Each piece of equipment delivers specific benefits to Miller’s operation. He’d long operated another manufacturer’s mower conditioner. But when he had the opportunity to demo the Vermeer TM1400, he was quickly converted. The mower checks several boxes for Miller, who works with Jeff Yingling at Barlow AG Service & Sales Inc., in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, for his Vermeer equipment. Working in smaller fields and sometimes rough terrain in an area with a lot of roadway traffic means the light mower with wide field-operating capacity and the ability to fold to 8.5 feet (2.6 meters) wide for highway transportation is the perfect combination for Miller.
“Our old mower conditioner mowed 13 feet 9 inches (4.2 m). It was mindblowing how much faster we could work being able to cut a full 18 feet (5.5 m) wide with this trailed mower. It is such an advantage for us, especially since sometimes we don’t always have the workers we need when it’s time to make hay. And I can get enough hay mowed to be able to stop and go home for lunch” Miller said.
The trailed mower allows Miller to get in, mow and move quickly on to the next field. “It’s more maneuverable and I can complete a 90-degree turn and just keep on going,” said Miller.
Why a tedder matters
Miller’s farm is located in an area where farmers are no strangers to high humidity and crop moisture levels that can complicate harvest operations. That’s made his Vermeer tedder essential to his ability to produce high-quality hay in a timely manner. See more on why tedding works.
After two years of operating the tedder, Miller can confidently say the process helps dry hay quickly, especially with the first cutting, which is fairly damp — the hook tine on the tedder creates a “bottoms up” action that rotates the hay and leaves the wettest crop on top for an increased and even dry down.
“Around here, because we have such a short time window, tedding helps us dry that hay out quickly. We always run the tedder through the field at least once. I’m not saying you couldn’t always get away without it. But around here, with the humidity we have, we almost have to ted, especially in the summertime with our super-heavy dews in the morning.”
With the mower conditioner, Miller said it wasn’t uncommon to wait up to two days for the hay to dry out before he could bale. His Vermeer tedder helps save him that time by allowing him to start windrows drying down more quickly, enabling him to start baling in a much shorter time window.
“With this tedder, we might ted and rake only two or three hours before we’re ready to bale,” he added.
Parts of an ongoing haymaking evolution
Moving forward, Miller hopes to continue the trend of continuous improvement and timely field operations on all of his acres. That’s been exemplified by the strides he’s made with his full lineup of Vermeer forage equipment, especially replacing his mower conditioner with the combination of a trailed mower and tedder. It’s a switch he considers part of a progressive approach to operating his farm.
“I would say we try to keep up with the latest innovations and practices, which helps us get better. Our farming practices have evolved over the last several years with better management and different equipment, and it’s helping us get the best out of every field. We will stay progressive, especially on our hay acres.”
Are you interested in adding a trailed mower and tedder to your operation? From now until April 31, 2021, when a trailed mower and tedder is purchased together, buyers can get 0% financing for up to 60 months or an additional $1,000 cash back on top of the standard cash-back offers on each model. Contact your local Vermeer dealer to learn more. Get in touch to begin the purchase process today.
Information noted above was gathered from a third party who was advised his/her experience might be featured in marketing materials. This article contains third-party observations, advice or experiences that do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Vermeer Corporation, its affiliates or its dealers. Individual results may vary based on care and operation of machine and crop and field conditions, which may adversely affect performance. Vermeer Corporation reserves the right to make changes in engineering, design and specifications; add improvements; or discontinue manufacturing at any time without notice or obligation. Equipment shown is for illustrative purposes only and may display optional accessories or components specific to their global region.
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