New Holland will discontinue production this year of a machine that redefined the haymaking process decades ago.
According to Jordan Milewski, senior brand marketing manager for New Holland Agriculture North America, 2023 will mark the last production year for the Haybine. The shift to Discbines is the main reason, and the Haybine era will close with the model 488.
“It’s the last of a legacy. It’s bittersweet,” he said. “The transition from sickle to disc cutting has been happening for over 20 years. It’s been ongoing and we knew the day would come eventually.”
New Holland began producing Haybines in 1964 with the model 460, and the machines revolutionized the haymaking process by combining cutting and conditioning in one step.
Before the Haybine, sickle mowers were used to cut hay, and another pass through the fields was required with a conditioner or crimper.
Richard Jackson of Red Lion, Pennsylvania, remembers the evolution of haymaking on his family farm and the changes when the first New Holland Haybine arrived.
“It was a great innovation,” he said. “Years ago, dad mowed with a horse and then followed it up with a New Holland crimper. When the Haybine came, it cut down a day of drying and we could make hay much quicker.”
But decades later, a faster way to make hay appeared on the scene and Haybines began to fade.
Travis Petit, an online sales representative with Forrester Farm Equipment in Virginia, said New Holland launched its Discbine in the 1990s, and by 2000 the decline in Haybine use was noticeable. Once the speed of a Discbine became apparent, he said, there was no turning back.
Haybines are still in use, Petit said, mainly by older-generation farmers reluctant to make the switch.
“The Haybine was the way of farming years ago, but overall it’s a thing of the past,” he said.
While the speed of a Discbine can’t be matched, Milewski said the Haybine does have benefits. With a sickle mower, the movement of hay over the cutter bar can be controlled in a way not afforded by the early Discbines. And with crops such as alfalfa, a Haybine produces a flat, clean cut where disc machines used to struggle.
But advances in Discbines — such as longer knives and increased overlap that result in a cleaner cut — have addressed those areas, Milewski said. The cutter bar on new machines, such as the New Holland Discbine Plus Series, is thinner, creating a flatter profile than before.
“The more you tip the cutter bar, that’s when you see the scalloping effect with Discbines,” Milewski said. “By flattening that out, it results in a more flatly mowed field.”
New Holland Haybines have also evolved since they were introduced in 1964.
In 1966, the model 461 was the first to feature chevron-design rubber conditioning rolls. In 1975, the company introduced a 12-foot Haybine with 110-inch-wide conditioning rolls to speed drying time. A pivot tongue package was added in 1983 with the model 499.
But, as Jackson pointed out, changes in the industry eventually proved to be too much for the Haybine.
“New Holland has many great innovations with haymaking equipment, and we all get used to the changes,” he said. “The Discbine is more economical and much faster, so it doesn’t surprise me that the Haybine is being discontinued.”
Milewski doesn’t expect many other producers to be surprised, either.
“The transition from Haybines to Discbines has been such that I don’t think there will be many grumbles,” he said. “The discontinuation of the Haybine is a milestone, and it’s something that New Holland pioneered, but today’s Discbines can drop twice the acreage of hay in the same time.”