hay rakes

Choosing the Right Hay Rake


When it comes to raking hay, the right rake can make all the difference in the world.  If you’re in the market for a hay rake, and you’re not sure which one will help you produce the best yield out of your crops, check out this guide.  We will highlight the pros and cons of four different hay rakes types: Wheel (Cart) Rakes, Rotary Rakes, Q or V- Rakes, and Side Delivery Rakes.

hay rake

1. Wheel (Cart) Rakes

Wheel Rakes (also known as Cart Rakes) typically consist of 8-12 wheels mounted on a pull-behind cart.  The wheels spin rapidly, piling the hay into a neat windrow to be baled.  Because wheel rakes are ground driven, they eliminate the need for high horsepower tractors and regular maintenance.

Wheel Rake Pros:

High Speed: Wheel Rakes can easily and efficiently operate at high speeds.
Low Maintenance: The simple, ground-driven design of wheel rakes don’t require high horsepower tractors or expensive maintenance.
Versatile: With cart rakes, you can easily adjust the rake and windrow width.
Better Product: Many wheel rake models are equipped with a center splitting rake wheel (kicker wheel) to improve the windrow quality.

Wheel Rake Cons:

Inconsistent: Direct contact with the ground results in a higher content of non-hay items, such as rocks and other debris being put into the windrows.
Expensive:  Disc mowers are usually the most expensive types of hay cutters.
Limited Use:  Cart Rakes tend to struggle when dealing with heavy, high moisture hay.

2. Rotary Rakes

Rotary Rakes consist of 8-12 tine arms that spin in a circle behind the tractor.  Because rotary rakes never touch the ground, they typically produce a higher quality of product than wheel rakes.

Rotary Rake Pros:

Versatile: Rotary Rakes are much more efficient at handling a wide variety of terrain and hay conditions.  Whether you are working on heavy, wet hay or thin, dry hay, rotary rakes produce a great crop every time.
Easily Adjustable: Most Rotary Rakes come with an adjustable, heavy duty curtain that allows you to easily control windrow width.
Higher Quality of Crop: Since rotary rake tines don’t touch the ground, you get a much cleaner, fluffier windrow every time.

Rotary Rake Cons:

 Demanding:  The design of rotary rakes require hydraulics and PTO to power the driveshaft.
 Expensive: Rotary rakes typically cost more than other types of rakes available.

3. Q (or V)-Rake

Q-Rakes (or V-Rakes) are very similar to wheel rakes in their design.  However, Q-Rakes can easily fold up to compact sizes for better storage and travel capabilities.

Q-Rake Pros:

High Speeds: Typically, drum mowers are built to operate at higher speeds, making sure you get the job done in no time.
Consistent: Drum mowers tend to be more consistent in their cutting quality.  They are great at cutting through any type of forage and in any conditions.
Low Maintenance: The design of drum mowers make it easy to replace blades if needed.

Q-Rake Cons:

Short Width: Typically, drum mowers have a shorter cutting bar, compared to the other types of mowers.
Heavy Weight: Drum mowers tend to weigh more than other types of mowers, making them more bulking, and requiring more horsepower to operate.

4. Side Delivery Rake

Side Delivery Rakes are a simple and economic solution to raking hay.  Side delivery rakes consist of ground driven rake wheels being pulled at a 45 Degree angle behind your tractor.  With this delivery system, you can have the option of raking to the left or right.

Side Delivery Rake Pros:

Low Maintenance: Along with the simple design of side delivery rakes, the ground driven wheels also don’t require high-horsepower tractors to operate them.
Versatile: Side delivery rakes are available in left or right delivery models.
High Speed Raking: Side delivery rakes are built for high speed raking, with wide raking widths.  That means you get the job done in no time at all.
Easy to Operate: Side delivery rakes are designed for operating in small fields with little room to maneuver.  This type of rake is ideal for tight-turn situations.

Side Delivery Rake Cons:

Inconsistent: Constant ground contact increases the amount of non-hay items thrown into the windrow.
Limited Uses: Side delivery rakes have been known to struggle in wet, heavy hay.


When it comes time to cut hay, Mutton Power Equipment has everything you might need along the way — from sickle bar mowers to disc mowers. Visit our online store today.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *