A Fleet of Hay Equipment from Massey Ferguson

Fast mowing, quick drying and consistent baling are key to this farmer’s unique hay business.

By Jamie Cole | Photos By Jamie Cole

“The Nells are doing something a little different for this part of Illinois, that’s for sure,” says Alan Tenhouse, who works with the farmers Kenny and Deana Nell on their equipment needs out of the A.C. McCartney AGCO dealership in Carthage, Illinois. “They required something that can get the job done quick because the weather is not totally favorable here in west central Illinois.”

Indeed, high humidity and wet summers aren’t exactly the best recipe for making hay, which is a big part of the Nells’ diverse operation that also includes corn and soybeans. “You only got so much of a window for hay days… you need to make the most of what days you got.”


For Kenny, who works the hay business during the summer while Deana is showing horses (see their full story here), making the most of those days means “the best type of equipment,” he says. He pairs a Massey Ferguson 2250 baler with the MF8690 to get hay up quickly, and to form the size, shape and density of bales his customers expect. “We want our bales to ‘breathe’ from the inside out,” says Kenny, making the 3 x 3 size ideal. The baler’s unique pre-form chamber makes each flake before kicking it to the plunger, helping keep the bale’s density consistent, make flaking easy, and avoid misshapen “banana bales” that make storage and transport difficult. The MF8690 and the CVT transmission help baling go quickly, efficiently and consistently.

“If you don’t have good crimping action, your leaves will dry before the stems do.”Click To Tweet

But if Kenny wants to beat the weather and make hay quickly, mowing is key as well. “You probably know that’s the biggest one they make,” says Kenny, speaking of the Massey Ferguson 9980 windrower. Besides the in-field speed—Kenny mows at 10-11 mph—the TwinMax conditioners crimp the hay to speed drying and help retain leaves, important for Kenny’s livestock markets. “Leaves are the end goal,” he says. “If you don’t have good crimping action, your leaves will dry before the stems do, and you’ll lose your leaves,” he says.

Kenny appreciates the service he receives from A.C. McCartney, and how the dealership “gets” his unique business. “Alan and I have known each other for years,” says Kenny. “He understands my business.” Kenny can’t afford downtime; he says it’s not like “calling the neighbor with the combine to come shell the corn for you.” There just isn’t a close neighbor with a baler. “The equipment has all been very reliable,” he says. “Very rarely do I have any downtime.”