Baling hay is a complicated job with many steps and components. These 20 machines, tools and items for baling hay can help you get the job done smoothly, safely, easily and efficiently:
The heart of any major farming operation. You’ll need around 40 horsepower (more is even better) to handle baling hay.
Combining a sickle bar mower or disc mower with a conditioner to promote better drying, modern mower/conditioners are the perfect tool for cutting hay. It sure beats a handheld scythe!
A machine used to aerate cut hay and speed up the drying process—an important step if you’re trying to bale before rainfall arrives.
Hay must be raked into windrows to facilitate easy baling. A hay rake—even an old one—can do the job just fine.
Whether you’re making square bales or round bales, a hay baler is necessary to pack the hay into manageable units for easy handling and storage. Try moving loose hay around, and you’ll quickly see the benefits of bales!
Hay Wagon or Trailer
At least one hay wagon or trailer is convenient for hauling bales off the fields. Having multiple on hand allows you to unload one wagon while the other is picking up new bales.
While it’s possible to get by without a bale kicker/thrower, if you’re working with a small crew, having a machine that automatically shoots fresh bales from the baler into an attached wagon can save time and effort.
As an alternative to towing a wagon behind the baler, you can pull a hay accumulator, which will gather and hold a large handful of bales before dropping them off in a single location.
Later, you can drive to each group of bales and pick them up with a wagon, saving time compared to picking up individual bales scattered all over the fields.
Hay Bale Spear
In you’re baling round bales, a hay bale spear—literally a few heavy-duty prongs designed to pierce and pick up heavy bales—is a great tool to have.
Trade out the bucket on your front-end loader (or mount the bale spear on your three-point hitch) to make transporting round bales a breeze.
Without baling twine, a hay baler isn’t much use. Calculate your needs for the season, then stock up sufficiently so you won’t run out.
Does your tractor run on gasoline or diesel fuel? Either way, have enough on hand so you won’t run out in the middle of baling.
Gloves & Safety Goggles
Wearing appropriate safety gear around powerful farm machinery is always a good idea. Gloves and safety goggles are just two examples.
Sometimes machines break. Spare tires, rake tines, shears pins, etc. should all be handy so if something goes wrong, you can quickly switch out the broken part and keep moving.
A hay moisture and temperature tester will confirm that the hay you’re producing is dry enough for safe baling.
Rakes, Brooms, Etc.
Hay can be messy. Leaf rakes, bow rakes, push brooms, shovels and similar hand tools can sweep hay wagons and barn floors clean, or help tame the mess if a hay bale bursts open during stacking or transport.
Hay Barn or Shed
You need somewhere dry to store your hay, yes? Any barn or shed can do the job, so long as it protects hay from the elements while still providing proper ventilation.
Storing the hay on floor pallets can help get air under the stack.
If you’re storing hay in the upper level of a barn (or even just stacking it really high), a hay elevator can easily lift the hay where it needs to go, saving time and effort. They can also act as a conveyor belt to carry hay across wide spaces, such as from the front of a barn to the back.
The saying “make hay while the sun shines” often means hay is baled during hot weather. Staying hydrated is important, so have lots of drinking water on hand for you and your crew.
Light-colored clothes made of cotton are ideal for working in hot weather. And a long-sleeved shirt can help protect you from getting scratched up by prickly hay.
Enclosed Tractor Cab
No, this isn’t a requirement … but isn’t the thought of riding around in an enclosed cab (especially one with air conditioning) an appealing thought on a hot afternoon?
May all your hay baling days be sunny and dry!