CropWatch March 5, 2010: Preseason Hay Equipment Maintenance Recommended

CropWatch March 5, 2010: Preseason Hay Equipment Maintenance Recommended

March 5, 2010

While you’re waiting for the snow to melt and temperatures to warm up, take time to perform some routine preseason maintenance on your haying equipment. It will perform better at harvest and you’ll avoid costly down time.

First, review your owner’s manual to identify recommended maintenance procedures and proper settings. Then, give your equipment an annual check-up.

Maintenance Checklist

  • Inspect, lubricate, and service all power driven areas such as belts, bearings, chains, and gears.
  • Set tension on belts and chains.
  • Check, sharpen, or replace cutterbar sections or disc blades and adjust wear plates, hold-down clips, and guards. Make sure your cutterbar has proper knife register.
  • Check the spacing between the conditioning rollers and adjust roll timing for your crop. Better conditioning will help your hay dry faster.
  • On round balers frequently inspect belts, chains, and slats or rollers for wear. Trim frayed edges and repair belts as needed to maintain uniform tension. When not in use, keep belts clean and release belt tension.
  • On rectangular balers check plunger knife clearance and plunger alignment. Inspect the tying mechanism and adjust it as needed.
  • Pick-up teeth on balers and on rakes frequently are broken or bent. Replace defective teeth and adjust height if necessary.
  • Check your stock of replacement parts for frequently broken or replaced items and fill in where needed.

Bruce Anderson
Extension Forage Specialist