Farming with Draft Animal Power

Horsepowered Haymaking

haymaking with horses
Above: Picking beets in a market garden. Photo by Chris Arnold.
by Rural Heritage

During a spell of good weather in early June this past summer, Tommy Flowers invited some of his friends to visit and bring their horses to help put up some hay on his Blackville, S.C., farm. The 10 acres of hay was thin so the work went quickly and by the time they were done they had brought in 390 small square bales and 3 round ones.

They used four mowers, one tedder, two rakes, three forecarts, one baler and three wagons over a three day period. Tommy had his three Brabants and one blue roan Percheron working and was Margaret Seidl, Todd’s nephew Elijah, and Tommy’s daughter, Hannah.

The mowers included three McCormick- Deering No. 9s and one Massey Harris No. 33. Three of the mowers had 5-foot bars and the fourth was fitted with a 6-foot bar. As they all traveled around the field, about more than 20- feet of hay was cut each round. The hay was tedded with an I&J tedder with engine and was raked with a New Holland rake and one by John Deere. The small square bales were put up with a New Holland 68, built sometime between 1956 and 1961, which "should have been retired long ago," according to Tommy who bought it at an Ohio Amish farm auction in 1999. The baler has a 17 horsepower engine and has pumped out 174 bales in 54 minutes "and none came apart" on some days. On other days, "it is nothing but trouble and makes me think about loose hay," Tommy says.

Tommy moved the round bales with a round bale hauler from Tractor Supply Company rigged with a battery and switch to lock the hauler's brakes. When you want to pick up the bale, you just back up onto it. When you want to dump the bale you just lock the brakes , back up and it unloads.

percherons mowing hay
Above: Todd Wrightson mows with his Percheron team.
Brabants tedding hay
Above: Margaret Seidl drives Vic Campbell's Brabant cross team while Vic operates the engine-powered tedder.
brabants raking hay
Above: Vic Campbell rakes with his Brabant cross team.
brabants baling hay
Above: Tommy Flowers drives his Brabant horses pulling the New Holland #68 hay baler fitted with a 17 horsepower engine. Hannah Flowers and Margaret Seidl stack the bales.
moving round bales
Above: Tommy Flowers moves a round bale with his team of Brabants as Margaret Seidl watches. The round bale mover is a a tractor supply model.
haying teamsters
Above: The haying crew included, seated from left to right: Vic Campbell and Margaret Seidl. Standing: Todd Wrightson, Todd's nephew Elijah, Tommy Flowers, Cindy Flowers and Hannah Flowers.
rh horse logo
Rural Heritage magazine. This article appeared in the October/November 2011 issue of Rural Heritage magazine.

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