You don't need to own a large farm to grow hay. Farmers with limited acreage can benefit from growing their own hay to help offset the cost of raising livestock. All you need to do is invest in a hay mower that connects to the 3-point hitch on your compact tractor.
There are three types of hay mowers available on the market today. Understanding the differences between the three can help you determine which type is best suited to meet your small hay production needs.
Sickle Bar Mower
Sickle bar mowers trace their roots back to the time when agricultural equipment was pulled by horse teams in the field. A sickle mower cuts hay using a reciprocating motion. Triangle-shaped blades move back and forth between a stationary guard, shearing off anything that lies between the guard.
A sickle bar mower is a great option if your hay field isn't completely flat. These mowers are capable of operating above or below horizontal without losing much efficiency. You will also have the added bonus of being able to use your equipment to mow just about anything (grass, weeds, etc.) when you invest in a sickle bar hay mower.
A disc mower is similar in design to a sickle bar mower. Instead of relying on triangle-shaped blades to cut hay, disc mowers have a series of cutting discs mounted to a cutter bar. The discs rotate, and the sharp edges shear through hay with ease.
A disc mower is a good option for farmers who have multiple small hay fields. You won't have to exit your tractor to transition a disc mower from working mode to transport mode. A hydraulic lift accomplishes this task with the push of a button. Disc mowers also offer the ability to move quickly while cutting your hay fields because the discs do not get clogged up with cut hay.
Drum mowers rely on rotating drums equipped with cutting blades. The drums continually rotate when the mower is in work mode, and the cut hay is deposited in a windrow behind the mower. Drum mowers are incredibly durable, which makes them a great option for farmers with rugged fields.
Part of this durability can be attributed to the fact that drum mowers have fewer moving parts than other mower types. Fewer moving parts means less opportunity for mechanical failure when using a drum mower to cut your hay.
For more information on mower options, contact an agricultural equipment dealership.