How to Choose a Hay Tedder and Why

By aerating cut hay, tedders can decrease curing time and give you a higher quality product.

Sponsored by Frontier
June 2017

Depending on the weather conditions where you live, cut hay might need to dry out a little bit before it’s baled. By using groups of finger-like tines on rotors, a hay tedder lifts and fluffs your cut hay, exposing more of its surface area to air. This process promotes dry down and allows producers in wet or humid areas to bale hay faster than by using conventional drying methods. A tedder should be used before you’ve moved your hay into windrows.

Tedding requires that you feed the crop into each pair of spinning rotor teeth. The crop enters the rotors with the left rotor turning clockwise and right rotor turning counter-clockwise, spreading and fluffing the hay in a uniform swath. If possible, angle the rotors to lift the crop high enough off the ground, which will allow it to float to the surface. If the rotor angle or the miles-per-hour: rotations-per-minute (MPH:RMP) of rotor speed is not adjusted to accomplish crop float, the rotors will just “stir” the crop. Check the manual for your tractor’s recommended PTO speed.

Use a tedder when the crop is moist enough not to lose leaves following the cutting operation, or after dew or rain have remoistened the crop. A general rule is that hay cut in the morning is ready to ted in the afternoon, as long as the mowed swath feels dry on the top surface. You might need to ted again the next morning before baling, but be careful with leafy crops, such as alfalfa or clover, as they are more sensitive to damage when crop moisture level decreases during tedding. A tedder can be used multiple times on a crop if conditions require re-fluffing.

Choose a Tedder for Your Acreage

Just as with a rake, you should consider the size of your operation, the terrain, time constraints you’re working with, and budget when deciding which hay tedder to purchase.

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