What are the Benefits of a Tedder? - Ackerman's Equipment
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To ted or not to ted? This seems to be the question. For years, farmers have thought tedding to have a negative impact on the quality of their hay—namely leaf loss. In recent years, though, tedding has become popular again as people understand the benefits it provides when done correctly.

What is a tedder? It is a machine used to stir or “wuffle” the hay after it is cut and before it is windrowed. It allows air flow through the rows and brings the bottom of the windrow to the top, exposing it to sunlight. This leads to faster, more uniform drying of the hay.

#1 Benefit: Speeds up the hay making process.

Tedding can sometimes slice an entire day or two off drying time. This is huge if there is rain in the forecast! To ensure the full tedding benefit, you should angle the rotors to lift the crop high enough off the ground that it floats to the ground. If your tedder is not adjusted correctly, you will just stir the crop instead of fluffing it.

#2 Benefit: Improves your hay quality.

Tedders allow you to spread out your hay and use the entire field to dry your crop faster, preserving more forage nutrients. The faster the plant dries enough to stop respiration, the less nutrients are lost.

Some people are afraid that any type of handling of their alfalfa, whether raking or tedding, will cause the leaves to fall off. While you do lose some leaves, nutrient loss is a greater danger.

Tedding keeps your crop’s moisture more consistent and reduces wet spots in the bales. The fluffing action allows the hay to dry better, preventing mildew or fermentation. Especially in grass hays, which tend to mat and dry slowly.

Fluffing the hay with an Esch Tedder.

#3 Benefit: Gives you flexibility.

Knowing you have the tedder option in your back pocket makes your hay making season much more flexible. Those fast-approaching rain clouds seem further away if you know you can speed up the drying time. Some people start cutting their crops in the rain so they have a head start on the dry days ahead.

When should you pull out the tedder?

Because of all the variables, there is no rule for this, but the day after mowing seems to be common. It gives the crop time to wilt and the top to dry a little, making it a good time to bring the green crop underneath to the top. If you start too early, the hay is still too soft to benefit from the wuffling.

Use a tedder when the crop is moist enough not to lose leaves. Leafy top crops such as alfalfa or clover are more likely to be damaged when the crop is dry. A tedder can be used multiple times on a crop if needed.


If you are looking for quality, dry hay, tedding is the way to go. Contact an Ackerman’s sales representative to explore your tedding options and beat the next rain cloud coming your way!

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