Rake or Tedder? Do I Need Both?
Farmers who want to make the jump to baling their own hay often ask about the differences between tedders and rakes. They also often ask if they can get by with one or the other. In this blog we will discuss the differences between these two implements and how to determine if both are necessary for your small-farm operation.
However, before deciding which implement is right for you, it is first necessary to understand the workings of the hay mower that cuts the crop that is to be raked or tedded. Hay mowers, unless they are fitted with a conditioner (a topic for another blog), tend to leave the cut grass in swaths that do not dry well in most climates. Thus, the cut hay needs to be fluffed, flipped, or turned for better sun and air exposure.
A rake can do this. However, since a rake’s job is to put hay into windrows for baling, it simply piles the hay into swaths once again. This may not be a problem in more arid regions, but in humid regions or regions with high rainfall, it is. Therefore, in moist climates, a tedder, which spreads the hay for increased sun and air exposure, is most likely a necessity.
There are situations, however, when a tedder should not be used. Tedders are intended to be used on crops while they are still higher in moisture and pliable. A crop that is overly dry should not be tedded due to loss of leaf material. For the same reason, forages that are extremely leafy such as alfalfa and clover, should not be excessively tedded, or tedded once brittle.
So, for most farmers, a tedder is a needed implement. However, for those wanting to save space in the barn and money in their wallet, another option is a belt rake. A belt rake is two implements in one and can be easily converted to a tedder by the simple removal of a hay stop. Belt rakes are also compact and easy to use, making them quite popular with small-farm operators, who are a large percentage of Tractor Tools Direct’s clientele.
To learn more about rakes and tedders please check out our buyer’s guide here. Or give us a call at 260-BALE-HAY.