ASK Jeff: The Rodale Institute’s farm manager, Jeff Moyer, answers your hardcore farming questions

Should I ted my wet hay or just let it lay?

Posted September 13, 2007

What Jeff brings to the table

Jeff Moyer, who’s been the farm manager here at the 333-acre Rodale Institute research farm for more than a quarter of a century, receives lots of mail from farmers just like you asking for advice. Jeff’s hands-in-the-dirt experience over the past 26 years has run the gamut from refining the farm's cover cropping and crop rotation systems (including managing 270 acres in a rotation of corn, small grains, hay, and edible soy beans for a Japanese market) to overseeing The Rodale Institue Farming Systems Trial®, the world’s longest running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional agriculture. We thought it would be fun and informative to share some of these farmer-to-farmer exchanges, and Jeff’s practical wisdom, with our readers … and we’ll be doing it on a regular basis.

Got a question of your own? Click here to send it to Jeff.

Dear Jeff,

My hay has been rained on constantly for several days. Do I need to ted it or just let it lay?

Darryl Hazelwood
Montalba, Texas

Dear Darryl,

Unfortunately, hay that gets rained on generally needs to be worked. By that I mean you will probably need to ted the hay or spread it out to dry before it can be raked and baled. The more you stir the hay or move it around the faster it will dry. But, the more you move the material the greater chance you have to knock leaves off the hay and thereby reduce its feed quality. The trick will be to move it enough to dry it and minimize the physical damage to the hay. Once it dries all the way through, rake it up into windrows and bale it. Good luck and I hope the weather cooperates.