“Good weather isn’t as abundant as it once was, and in 2021 we only had three spells of really good weather to get our hay made,” explains Jasper. “We had to grab those opportunities – when conditions are right, ground coverage is the key.” He says that going up from a 3.2m mower conditioner to a 9m plain disc triple for the 2021 season has proved to be a revelation.
Supplied by C&O Tractors, the 5087M butterfly and 2832F front-mounted mowers have completely changed his haymaking business. Having cut 1,000 acres last season, he is upbeat about the mower’s productivity. “I don’t need to spend all day mowing just to keep up,” he says. “I can delay mowing to make the most of conditions, and spread a lot of grass behind the mowers very quickly.
The plain disc also leaves a longer, unbroken stem which means less dust.” He says tractor power was an important consideration. “I don’t have a 250hp tractor, so getting good output from just 150hp was also essential,” he adds. “But I also swap blades regularly, to leave a clean cut to encourage rapid regrowth, and I have to say I’ve been very impressed.”
“Ground contour following is great, particularly with the front mower, and the whole outfit is very easy to set-up and use,” he adds. Making several thousand conventional and 80x70 four-string bales, Mr Gutteridge has been using a six-rotor and an eight-rotor Kverneland tedder to make the most of drying.
“The smaller six-rotor model is being replaced by a 10-rotor for 2022, as I look for even more output,” he says. “We’re driven by quality forage, so we have to stay one step ahead of the weather.”