Using the right machinery is essential on today’s farms - profitability isn’t only about how much you can produce, but how efficiently you can produce it. When it comes to hay and silage making, the inefficiencies that come from using the wrong rake make for a constant drain on a farm’s bottom line.
It’s not good for the gear either, which leads to bigger maintenance bills and breakages.
The kind of rake you need – side/bar rake, rotary or reel rake – will depend on your farm’s topography, the type of forage being harvested, area size to be raked and crop moisture levels. There’s no shortage of opinions on this, which is why it's so important to seek out trusted advice.
Sitrex V rakes like the one in this picture are ideal for fast raking of any type of forage crop.
In this blog, we help you decide what rake is best for your hay and silage making.
The Side Rake, otherwise known as a parallel bar rake is over 100 years old. They usually cost less than a V reel rake or rotary rake, but they are losing ground to the modern alternatives. Parallel bar rakes are not suitable for heavier & wetter forage crops such as silage, but are most suited to raking dryer and lighter crops such as hay & straw & high speed.
Despite being the most complex, and therefore the most expensive, rotary rakes are the first choice for carefully moving higher-moisture forage. The “fluffy” windrow that rotary rakes produce delivers good air movement and therefore drying. When set up properly, a rotary rake produces the least soil contamination as the tines do not touch the ground.
V wheel rakes (also called V rakes) are ideal for quick raking of any forage crop, be it hay or silage. They can get through more acres per hour than a bar or rotary rake, V reel rakes also do not need any PTO power, making them more universal than a rotary rake which do, a V reel rake can often be pulled with any 4x4 ute. But the downside is they produce the more soil contamination than a rotary rake.
Cropping farmers are typically harvesting light straw after harvest, so a big expensive rake is not needed to get the job done. This makes lighter rakes such as the Sitrex TR series of side rakes a good option as they need only a 30 to 35hp tractor in front and can still operate in the field at more than 20kph.
As you can see, it’s not a case of any rake will do. Taking the time to research the best option for your farm will mean you have the right equipment for the job, which is crucial. The right gear means production efficiency & best return on investment, and that means a better bottom line for you.
See the full range of Sitrex rakes for sale in New Zealand here.