Arkansas farmer Ronnie Layes says he “wanted something that would crimp the grass” for quicker curing. He says his new KUHN FC 3160 TLD mower conditioner has proven its worth by shaving two days off his hay harvest.
This new trailed mower conditioner has a 10-foot, two-inch working width and the ability to adjust swath width between three feet and seven feet, eight inches. It delivers faster mowing and precision conditioning with only an 80 horsepower tractor requirement. This life-long southern U.S. farmer, who works hard and doesn’t have a lot of time to talk, simply states: “It works good.”
Layes, 69, farms around 600 acres at Scranton, Arkansas, about 100 miles west of Little Rock. His wife passed away just over a year ago, leaving Layes to manage the beef, poultry and hay operation with one full-time and one part-time employee.
He manages about 300 acres of hay (mixed improved grasses and Bermuda grass), with the remainder of his acreage in pasture for his beef herd. He makes 6 x 4 round bales, usually around 2,000 a year, but this year he’s enjoyed lots of rain and has rolled up over 3,000 round bales. Usually he gets three cuttings per year.
Layes’ beef herd is commercial cow-calf. He uses Black Angus bulls on crossbred cows and sells calves off the cows at about 500 pounds. All of the hay he makes is used in-house for the cattle operation. He purchases grain to grow replacement heifers.
This busy farmer also raises meat chickens under contract with Tyson. He has three houses and turns out 5 to 6 batches of birds a year – 60,000 to 64,000 chickens per batch.
Especially in years like 2013 in which there’s been “a lot of rain” and “green hay,” Layes says this new KUHN mower conditioner has “cured the hay quicker.” Layes knows that fast, consistent drydown is crucial to top-quality forage for cattle, and the FC 3160 TLD fits the bill with its wide rotor, finger-style conditioning. The TLD stands for “trailed,” “lateral” (side-pull) and “digit” (finger conditioner). Layes likes those steel fingers – “rather than rubber rolls.”
“It seems like it does a better job,” he remarks.
Layes says he’s the first in his neighborhood to own one of KUHN’s redesigned and redefined trailed, side-pull mower conditioners – the most advanced in the industry. He purchased his FC 3160 TLD from Ross Rogers Equipment, located just five miles from Scranton in Prayview, Ark.
“They’re good people,” he says of this local KUHN dealer. “I bought my rake from them, too.”
Layes is quick to mention that he also just purchased a KUHN SR 108 GII SpeedRake, trading in his former one. He also has two, older, nine-foot KUHN mowers, proof that this equipment manufacturer builds “dependability” into its machinery, he stresses.
This beef producer says he used his former KUHN SpeedRake for six years and never replaced a wheel finger on it. He’s had “no trouble” with any of the KUHN equipment he owns.
“If you take care of them (KUHN mowers), they’ll last forever,” he assures.
What really impressed him, though, is the fact he’s been able to put up his hay two days quicker with his new mower conditioner. If he cuts in the morning, it’ll be ready to bale the day after next thanks to the FC 3160’s fast, clean mowing of heavy grasses with consistent effective conditioning and quicker drydown. He notes, though, that if the hay is “real green,” he might also ted it.
“I have a KUHN tedder as well,” he adds of his GF 5202 THA.
This four-rotor tedder is ideal for use with lower horsepower tractors or without hydraulic lift. Its working width is 17 feet, one inch, while it transports down the road at nine feet, 10 inches.
Layes makes a point of mentioning that his new mower conditioner is also designed for easier transport. He travels four miles to his farthest hayfield. It’s a time-saver.
Less maintenance also saves time – something Layes doesn’t have a lot of. There’s no daily greasing required during the hectic haymaking season. Neither are regular belt adjustments necessary thanks to the FC 3160’s gearbox drive. But best of all, cutterbar oil changes are no longer needed because of KUHN’s patented Optidisc cutterbar.
While this Arkansas hay grower – who doesn’t have a lot of time, including waiting for hay to dry – could go on and on about his new mower conditioner’s design attributes, he sums it up instead in a few words.
“It’s good equipment,” Layes stresses.