Preseason hay equipment maintenance

The Massey Ferguson 1 series round baler delivers efficiency, quality, and operator comfort with the rugged dependability that North American hay producers demand. The round baler, which was announced in August, was engineered in Hesston, Kansas. (Photo courtesy of Business Wire.)

Spring is busy getting crops in the ground, but if much needed moisture keeps you from the field, take some time to maintain your haying equipment and prevent costly downtime later.

First, inspect, lubricate, and service all power-driven areas such as belts, bearings, chains, and gears.  Set tension on belts and chains.  For sicklebar headers, check, sharpen, or replace cutterbar sections and adjust wear plates, hold-down clips, and guards.  Make sure your cutterbar has proper knife register. On disc mowers, replace knives and rotate or replace worn turtles over the knives.

Conditioning rollers often are overlooked.  Look for uneven wear and adjust the roll gap, roll timing, and roll pressure for your crop.

On round balers, inspect belts, chains, and slats or rollers frequently 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.

Check plunger knife clearance and plunger alignment on square balers and inspect the tying mechanism and adjust as needed.  Pick-up teeth on balers and on rakes frequently are broken or bent.  Replace defective teeth and adjust height if necessary.

Also, be sure you have replacement parts on hand for frequently broken or replaced items.  And most important of all, review your owner’s manual to identify recommended maintenance procedures and proper settings.

Ben Beckman is an Extension educator with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.