Breaking records Mesbergen Farms sets Guinness haying record
The Guinness Book of World Records title for the most hay mowed in an eight-hour period is now proudly held in the United States. Tate Mesbergen of Mesbergen Farms in Greeley, Colo. says planning, speed and luck figured into his ability to break the record July 1, which was previously held by Samasz, an overseas manufacturer of triple mowers.
Breaking the record was just a normal day for Mesbergen.
“I usually average about 250 acres a day when I really get after it,” he explains. “We harvested 348.667 acres in eight hours to beat the current record. After that, it took 1.5 days to catch up with the chopper.”
“We even had to have my brother-in-law come in and run a chopper, so it wouldn’t get too dry,” he explains.
Most of the high-quality alfalfa hay harvested by the family is sold to local dairies.
His partners in the competition were a Claas 880 tractor, Claas Disco 1100 roller conditioner and a Claas 980 forage harvester. Claas supplied a Claas 850 tractor and Claas linear rake. The Claas line of triple mowers is a competitor of Samasz.
Taking the record
Officially, Tate beat the previous record by about 106 acres.
“We are really proud of Tate,” says John Schofield, who is the North American Marketing coordinator for Claas. “He does a really good job with the triple disc mower. It was quite an accomplishment to beat that record by the margin he did.”
Claas has supported Tate in this endeavor from the beginning, Schofield says.
“Tate is the person on the farm who runs the disc mower and said he could beat that record. He thought about it awhile, and then, it came up again in some conversations during meetings with Katrina Claas, who is the president of the company. She told us to go for it,” Schofield explains. “So, we went ahead and put together the documentation needed for a Guinness World Record.”
Not everything went smoothly during the contest, Mesbergen says. Some early morning rain delayed his start from 9 a.m. to noon. Then, in the very first field, he struck a chunk of concrete.
“I had to get out and make sure the cutters or the cutter bar wasn’t damaged,” he says. “Fortunately, it was all okay.”
The final challenge was a 17.5 minute move eight miles from the third field to the fourth. By the time he got to the final field and saw the time on the clock, Tate knew the record was in the bag.
“When I selected fields for this competition, I went with the closest and largest fields possible. The first three were half-a-mile apart,” he says.
The first field was 40 acres, while fields two and three were a combined 200 acres, and the fourth field was 150 acres.
“We didn’t finish that one because we ran out of time,” Tate says.
The record was verified by six officials, who served as witnesses.
“We also had to have paperwork filed and filming on record,” Mesbergen says.
Nearly 50 spectators also turned up throughout the day to watch Tate break the record.
When the time was up, Tate was showered with champagne as he climbed down from the tractor. Afterward, they finished the documentation, handed out T-shirts and had a party.
Although a Guinness Book of World Records doesn’t come with much more than bragging rights, for Tate that is enough.
“It was just pretty close to a normal day for me. I usually just cut in the morning until about noon. I take a break and drive the truck, so the hay doesn’t dry out too fast. Then, I cut again in the afternoon to finish out the day. With the triple mower, it dries so fast we have a hard time keeping up with the chopper. I have to take a little break, so it doesn’t get too dry on us,” Tate says.
The prior world record set by Samasz was done with a triple mower that didn’t have a conditioner, Schofield says.
“Tate’s mower has a conditioner, which makes it even more challenging. Samasz harvested a type of switchgrass, while the Mesbergen’s harvested alfalfa, which is heavier, thicker and tougher to cut,” Schofield says. “But, the Mesbergen’s really smashed it. They harvested about 43 acres an hour, which was really good.”
He continues, “The triple mower is a little over 35 feet in width. It is just really rock solid. Tate also manually steered based on feel. He did it without GPS.”
Tate is in partnership with his father Harvey, who started Mesbergen Farms 22 years ago, and brother Troy, who have a custom corn silage and forage harvesting business. During the contest, he had lots of help and support from his family. His wife Carly rakes or merges behind the mower. Harvey drives the chopper, and Troy drives the truck.
“I am very thankful to the farmers who let us use their fields for this record,” Tate expresses his appreciation.
The farms are owned by Dave Uhrich, Ken and Jamie Starman and Fagerberg Farms.
Gayle Smith is a correspondent for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.