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This may not be the place to ask this question, but I cannot find another site. When is the best time to aerate a hay field - spring or fall? I live in N. Michigan...
 

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Not sure I've ever seen that done

This may not be the place to ask this question, but I cannot find another site. When is the best time to aerate a hay field - spring or fall? I live in N. Michigan...
I don't think I've ever seen anyone aerate a hay field. I've seen pastures ripped or subsoilers run through them, hay fields disked and replanted, hay fields ripped/subsoiled but don't know that I've ever seen one aerated.

We aren't a big hay area so maybe it's just a local thing but when I think of aeration, I think of a roller with spikes or spoons. I don't know that I've ever seen one of those that was large enough to cover acres in a timely fashion but again, maybe that's my local ignorance.

What issue are you trying to solve with aeration? Does the field have a hardpan? I think timing of whatever you end up doing will depend largely on what the issue is. For example, in our area if there's a hardpan and a field needs ripping, it's ideal to do that when it's somewhat dry because the teeth actually fracture the soil when it's drier rather than just pushing a trench through the ground.

I think if you give this group a bit more detail of what you are trying to achieve, someone here will have experience with things that worked and things that didn't.

Treefarmer
 

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In my area N Central Tx most people that I see aerate do so in Feb/March. I've seen both pastures & hay fields aerated. I wonder if aerating really helps because during dry periods the soil cracks open & dropping a pebble in a crack one can hear it fall a very long way which sounds a lot deeper than an aerater can achieve..
 

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The few farmers around me that aerate do it in the spring.
 

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Never seen anyone around here do any aeration of fields. Would think spring would be the best time to do it. Let me know if it benefits them, first I’ve heard of it.
 
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I aerate the natural grass areas around my home. Along with fertilizing, this has significantly made the grass stronger and thicker. Bare spots are disappearing. The areas where the grass is very healthy have fewer weeds.

I aerate, then I fertilize just before a big storm. The holes get the water and the nutrients down to the root level. It makes a big difference in compacted clay soil. When I spread the fertilizer, sometimes I even see it going right down the holes. My 3-foot wide aerator weighs 650 lbs, not including the weight of the quick hitch. I get roughly 3 inch plugs, sometimes bigger. Without that much weight, I couldn't penetrate this soil

Hay is grass. I would expect it to help a lot. As I've said before, aerating is the next best thing to plowing without causing much damage to the existing vegetation.
 

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I'm going to think spring is the best time to do anything. Depending when "spring" is in your area.

We run a crude, but cheap homemade version of a pasture renovator across our pasture. We don't have livestock there anymore so breaking up cow pies and such is not an issue. Disturbing the ground so moisture can penetrate better, knocking down weeds are always worth the effort.

I brush hog mow the pasture yearly to control weeds, keep the bush from encroaching, and we rake and feed fresh grasses to our small livestock.

I'm also in the process of inventing a homemade mole plow to help drain a few spots that retain water too well, and allow more snow melt and run off to be captured in other spots.

Every ones needs are different..
 

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Dont see much aeration here but subsoiling is usually done in fall prefreeze
 
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