Rake hay

It was a perfect day for raking on this second day of harvest. We had full sun, 35% humidity, and temperatures right around 80°F. The image shows what goes on behind me as I pull the side-delivery rake through the field. The cut grass is on the left (notice how it lays flat and close to the ground) and that which I’ve already passed over is on the right (the rows are fluffed up to allow air to more easily pass through, and dry, the hay). The key to making good dry hay is to have enough patience to wait until the top of the windrow is dry before you turn it. The large, fingered, cylinder rotates counter-clockwise as it is pulled over the windrow (it rotates toward the operator and up). The result of movement over the hay and the rotation of the cylinder is to lift, push (to the left of the operator, or right as you look at the windrow in the image), and turn the windrow to expose its damp underside. I should comment, at this point, that raking hay is much more relaxing than cutting it with a haybine. The latter is an inherently dangerous thing which operates at very high cutting speeds and is quite loud. Raking, in contrast, requires that the tractor be run much more slowly and provides accompaniment in the form of the pleasant clickity-clack sound made as the somewhat out-of-alignment teeth graze the guards which keep the reel bars from coming into contact with the ground. It took four hours to work this field and I was done by about two. It is nearly eight now and the sun has lost its strength but we had good drying until at least six. I do not think we will have to turn again before baling tomorrow. We are not done with the rake however because it is Joanna’s job to combine adjacent windrows just ahead of the baler; this makes everything much more efficient. The weather looks excellent. I’ll be back with a report at day’s end. Wish us luck.


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