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April 2013 Archive for Machinery Journal

RSS By: Aimee Cope, Farm Journal

The Machinery Journal blog is your place to find the latest machinery updates, industry news, and interesting tid bits.

The World’s Fastest Backhoe

Apr 28, 2013

 JCB has been having fun and making its backhoes into hot rods since the 1980s. Today, the JCB GT can be caught running ¼ mile stretches at speeds up to 150 mph. The backhoe hot rod is powered by a special 1,300 hp diesel V8 engine. It's said to be the fastest backhoe in the world, and JCB is one of the largest back hoe manufacturers in the world. 

The idea for the JCB GT is said to be from JCB Chairman, Sir Anthony Bamford, the son of the company’s founder, Joseph Cyril Bamford. 

To see the GT in action, check out this clip from the Speed Channel:

And here’s a video from a ¼ mile run on a racetrack in Canada: 

Hay Raking Tips From AGCO

Apr 26, 2013

 A good hay raking job eliminates the variables that can compromise a harvested crop. AGCO and its experts from the Hesston brand of hay equipment ask farmers to keep these considerations top of mind:

Avoid raking alfalfa or clover when the forage moisture is less than 35 to 40% to prevent the loss of nutrient-dense leaves.


Create windrows that are uniform in width and in the amount of hay they contain, which will help ensure bales are consistent in shape and density.


For maximum drying, set the windrow as wide as possible and match windrows width to baler capacity. The amount of loss during the baling process can be minimized when hay is at its driest and most subject to leaf loss from handling.


Here are several tips on how to set and operate rakes. Except where indicated, tips are for rotary rakes:

Set rake tines of rotary rakes to skim just above the ground, so they don’t dig up dirt, contaminating the hay and wearing down tines.


Set wheel rakes to have as little contact with the ground as possible.


Ensure rotary rake bogey wheels beneath the rotor are level. The rotor should have 0.5 to 1" of ground clearance on all sides at all times.


Set the tine arm release based on crop conditions and the size windrow. A dry, fluffy crop requires an earlier release setting. For a heavy, wet crop, use a later release setting.


If the rake is PTO driven, synchronize the field speed and PTO speed for a gentle lifting and turning action. This helps avoid aggressive handling that can cause excessive leaf loss.


Operate the rake at a consistent speed to create an even windrow for uniform drying and fewer slugs.


Stay up to date on regular maintenance to ensure peak machine performance including daily greasing of pivot points and hinges.


Tighten bolts and replace broken or worn tines. Check tire inflation regularly.


Be sure to visit your local dealer who should have a list of parts to stock up on replacement tines and basket and rake wheel bearings before the season starts to minimize downtime from common breakdowns. Also, doing this before the season can take advantage of preseason.


For more information visit

Other blog posts regarding Hesston haying tips:


Top Hay Mowing Tips from Hesston


Top Hay Conditioning Tips from AGCO




Claas Gives Grower Top Hay-Making Tips

Apr 24, 2013

 As hay-making season approaches, many manufacturers are coaching farmers on how to yield the most per acre for every bale. Here are some top reminders from Claas for each machine used to make hay:

Oil and lubrication points should be addressed regularly. The gear box oil is especially important to change, as deterioration can lead to damaged seals. Change the oil before harvest season every year, and operators should also check with the owner’s manual for more specific information. 

Depending on the machine, oil can breakdown at different rates and cause more severe damage if the recommended intervals are not adhered to. So the hourly operation intervals between changes may vary.

Vent the friction clutch annually and greasing all points on each machine – including U-joints, the cutterbar and PTO shaft.

On mowing equipment, check the disk for wear. If the disk is always kept in the same position, it will only wear on one side as it rotates. Increase longevity of the mower and alter the position of the disk to disperse any machine wear that could otherwise build up on a concentrated area.

Examine the mower cutterbar, especially for potential problems that occur under extremely dry conditions. Alfalfa coming from rain-deprived areas could be particularly problematic because this alfalfa can contain more sap in the stems and that can drip down and form a hard, concrete-like substance on the cutterbar. If a mower sits even for just a few hours, the disk can lock in place and burn out the clutch. Check the cutterbar for any sap accumulation and scrape it clean before firing up the machine; if the sap is too thick, spraying the cutterbar with water can loosen the buildup and more easily allow for removal.

Properly match the baler to the crop. Cornstalks and silage can be much harder on a baler than grasses, and specifically designed balers should be used when necessary. Operating a generic baler is not as effective and can damage the inside of the machine.

Round balers demand that a number of grease and lubrication points to attend to. A good tip is run the baler for a half hour, and then use an infrared temperature gun to check the temperature of the bearings.

For belt balers, each knife should be checked for sharpness and quality. Scrapers, cam track bearings, chamber rollers and the teeth should also be checked routinely in the maintenance schedule.

Tedders must be properly lubricated and the tines well-maintained.

For more, visit the Claas website. 

Volvo Wheel Loaders Now Red, White and Blue

Apr 14, 2013

 With its new $100 million expansion in Shippensburg, Penn., Volvo is revving up to produce 70% of its wheel loaders for North America at this facility.

The ribbon cutting took place on March 21, 2013, and here’s a video report from the event, including the unveiling of a wheel loader with an two-sided paint job featuring an American and Canadian flag.


The facility also houses the new headquarters building for the Americas, relocating the sales office from Asheville, North Carolina.

Wheel loader production will initially start for the L60-L90 range of loaders, and company officials say the scope of product sourced from the facility will broaden.  Localized production will also help the company become more flexible and responsive to its customers in the region.As part of the same investment, Volvo CE will also open a customer center in the area in the first quarter of 2014.

In addition to wheel loaders, the Shippensburg facility also makes more than 50 models of road machinery. Operations include welding, large machining, paint and assembly

The site’s global technology center employs around 200 people and provides development expertise to the wider Volvo business.

The Shippensburg facility has been committed to producing quality construction equipment for nearly 40 years. Volvo CE acquired the business from Ingersoll Rand in April 2007. A $30 million, 200,000 square foot expansion was completed in June 2010 and included a new assembly hall and materials building. The office expansion, which opened in March, adds an additional 36,000 square feet and two smaller production buildings, which will open in April this year to provide a further 37,000 square feet, bringing the total size of the expanded facility to 650,000 square feet.  

Today, the site employs more than 1,000 employees from nearly 20 countries, together working in operations, technology, sales & marketing, and customer support.




Top Hay Conditioning Tips from AGCO

Apr 12, 2013

Hesston haying expert Dean Morrell says it’s important to condition the crop, and condition it well, in order to stay on top of the 28- to 32-day hay harvest cycle. According to Morrell, conditioning can save two to five days in drying time, so it is a crucial aspect of keeping on schedule. For example, hay plants at 80 percent moisture must lose about 6,000 lbs. per acre of water to produce a ton of hay at 20 percent moisture.

Conditioning crimps the stem, opening up the waxy cuticle layer of the stem, letting the plant moisture evaporate faster. Operators’ manuals provide full details on how to adjust and run specific conditioners.

Here are tips from Morrell that outline four important steps in achieving superior conditioning results, no matter the model:

Set the conditioner roll gap at 1/16 inch or less, which creates noticeable breakage of the stem skin to speed stem drying. Setting the gap too tight crushes leaves, increasing loss of critical nutrients. "Setting the roll gap is the most crucial adjustment of the conditioner," says Morrell.

Set roll tension tight enough to achieve a consistent roll gap. If the crop is being over-conditioned, such as with less mature crops, loosen the roll gap tension. Reducing tension also can help solve plugging challenges. In addition, be sure to check that the rolls have not worn more in the center than the ends. Replace worn rolls, since consistent roll condition and diameter are vital to maintain uniform pressure and consistent results for even crop drying.

The third critical conditioning element is laying out an even windrow that is as flat and wide as possible without lumps, ridges or clumps of crop. This reduces drying time for better leaf retention and faster, more consistent harvest cycle time. For the widest possible windrow, set the swath board all the way down (at its lowest/flattest possible position).

It’s also critical to keep up to date on regular maintenance to ensure peak machine performance. Be sure to visit your local dealer to stock up on knives, cutterbar teeth, guards, ledger plates, common bearings, belts and other common repairs before the hay season starts, to minimize downtime from common breakdowns. Dealers often have a list of recommended parts for on-farm stocking and may offer preseason discounts for parts purchases.

For more:


8 Videos to Maximize Hay Harvest

Apr 11, 2013

 John Deere has a special collection of videos to highlight these aspects of its haying equipment to maximize performance.



Crop Condition

MoCo Cutterbar

Baler formation

Bale Monitor

Drive System

Net Wrap


The Five Parts John Deere Uses to Build Better Balers

Apr 08, 2013

 From the Machine Finder blog, there are some interesting details of five parts built into every John Deere round baler to make your hay season more successful: 

Diamond Thread Baler Belts: With four protective layers of nylon and polyester fabric, these belts are resistant to curling, yet flexible enough to lift the crop off the pick-up teeth and roll tight, uniform-density bales. The Diamond Thread is a self-cleaning belt that keeps dirt away in order to prevent bale slip. Once these belts reach the end of their service, a built-in wear indicator will let you know that it’s time to change the belt.

Plate Type Belt Splice: Thanks to the components of a closed loop locking system, Deere’s Plate Type Belt Splice provides the strength and durability for handling the heaviest of loads consistently. When paired with the Diamond Thread Baler belt, this splice makes even the toughest harvest season and haymaking manageable.

Round Baler Chain: Oftentimes people can overlook the intricate parts of a baler, but parts like the Round Baler Chain are essential pieces to the preventative maintenance of John Deere balers. A Round Baler Chain from John Deere is built to last and requires minimal maintenance once it has been linked to your machine.

Factory-Installed Grease Banks: The convenient grease banks of John Deere balers allow you to easily grease your machine more quickly. You will spend less time greasing your machine prior to haymaking and will be able to get into the field faster for a productive day of baling.

Cam Clutch: In Deere’s newest Premium baler, PTO is protected by Cam-clutch to ensure the driveline runs cooler when slipped, is totally maintenance-free, and informs the operator when the driveline disengages.

Top Hay Mowing Tips from Hesston

Apr 07, 2013

 When haying season around the corner, AGCO and its experts from the Hesston line of hay equipment have the following tips to maximize tonnage and quality with mowing equipment.

First, the environment and the individual operation will drive the type of mowing equipment used. Modern sickle-type or disc-type mowers, windrowers and swathers are capable of cutting forage crops fast and cleanly, leaving a smooth, even windrow that maximizes crop dry-down. Disc mowers offer the advantage of allowing hay to be cut earlier in the morning or later in the evening, when better leaf moisture means less loss of nutrient-rich leaves.

Here are tips from Hesston experts with any mower or mower conditioner model:

  • Proper blade maintenance is critical to achieving a good cut. Blades must be sharp to cut the forage cleanly and to minimize stem and leaf shattering. Check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations on blade-change intervals, and be sure to stock up on replacement blades before hay season starts.
  • Choose the right blade for the job. Shallower 10- or 11-degree blades create less air lift, thus pulling less dirt into the forage. If less suction works for your crop conditions, these blades can be a good choice. Thick, matted forage may require a blade with more lift, such as an 18-degree blade. Bottom-beveled blades have an advantage if they hit a stone or rock because they bend upward, away from the cutter bar.
  • Set the cutting height at 1.5 to 3 inches. This reduces contamination from dirt, making the crop easier to rake and to pick up with the baler. To avoid dirt and ash contamination and reduce knife and general mower wear and tear, avoid pitching the cutter bar downward at too steep an angle.
  • Set the header flotation height to avoid scalping the soil surface and wavy cutting height from one end of the field to the other. Ideally, the cutter will gently float across the ground without scuffing the surface. If you see scuffs or dirt streaking across the field, you don’t have enough flotation pressure, or the mower is set too heavy. If you see waves in the field, you have too much flotation pressure, or the header is set too light. Where the field surface is rough and uneven, flotation should be increased, making the head lighter to glide over rough terrain. When running the head heavier on the self-propelled unit, optional gauge wheels are recommended.
  • With mower conditioners, turbulence (or windage) created by the conditioning rolls can blow the crop from its upright position before it is cut, resulting in an uneven cut. If this is a problem, increase ground speed or slow the conditioning system, or do a combination of the two, to reduce turbulence for a cleaner cut.
  • Lay the windrow out as flat and wide as possible by setting the swathboard to its lowest possible setting (all the way down). A wide windrow maximizes dry-down by providing the best exposure to wind and sunlight.
  • Be sure to check your owner’s manual for daily and regular service and maintenance needs to ensure peak machine performance. And, stock up on key replacement parts such as cutter blades, sickle sections, guards, drive belts and hoses to reduce costly downtime from minor breakdowns. Dealers often have a list of parts recommended for on-farm stocking and may offer preseason discounts for parts purchases.

For more:

Heavy Machinery Helping Team Cross Antarctica

Apr 05, 2013

 On March 21, a British team set out to cross Antarctica in the winter—something that has never been done. Named the Coldest Journey the goals include five main aspects: 

  1. Charity:  To raise a $10 million for Seeing is Believing, which is a global charity tackling avoidable blindness, where every dollar raised will be matched by Standard Chartered.
  2. Science: Five important science projects will be carried out on the ice, plus several more from the expedition ship, as well as an unprecedented opportunity to see how materials and machinery work in the coldest environments on earth.
  3. Education: To create an extremely resourceful education package which will have far reaching benefits to children throughout the British Commonwealth
  4. Adventure: They doing this because it has never been done before! At the end of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year the team wants to show that her Commonwealth can still do things that no-one else has achieved.


The "Ice Team" is using two specially-modified Cat D6Ns to pull cabooses for accommodation, scientific work and storage, including jet fuel designed not to freeze. The machines will be exposed to the coldest conditions on earth during the six-month journey. Cat Finning mechanics Spencer Smirl and Richmond Dykes are part of the Ice Team. They have the tasks of driving and maintaining the D6Ns during The Coldest Journey.

CAT Antarctica

For videos and a photo gallery highlighting the equipment, click here.

The 2000-mile journey across the continent has for many years been considered too perilous to try and the expedition’s five-man "Ice Team" will have to overcome one of earth’s most hostile environments if they are to succeed, exposing themselves to temperatures dropping close to -90°C and operating in near permanent darkness. It’s expected to take more than 6 months to complete the journey.

The severe conditions have already led to one crew member being evacuated.Sir Ranulph Fiennes was evacuated from Antarctica with severe frostbite, and the crew has decided to continue the trek. (read more here) 

You can follow along with the team on The Coldest Journey Blog.

Or check out this updated map of the team’s progress. 

Brand Loyalty Leads to 3-Year-Old Trading in Tractor

Apr 04, 2013

 On the Case IH Be Ready Blog, the editors posted a story of a little boy already loyal to Big Red. (read the original story here). 

After Christmas, James McCutcheon, a salesman at H&R Agri-Power in Tanner, Ala., spotted an off-color tractor toy that was given to Brad Lamon’s three-year-old son, Judson.

The Lamon family operates a 4,000-acre farm in Trinity, Ala., and has a history of running Case IH red equipment. McCuthceon thought the battery-powered green John Deere didn’t fit with the rest of the equipment around farm yard.

So McCutheon and 3-year-old Judson struck a deal–trade in the green tractor toy for a red one. The crew at H&R assembled the Case IH toy tractor on the spot at the dealership, had Judson sign a contract for the Case IH loader tractor, gave him a hat, and introduced him to the parts manager and service manager–just like what happens when his dad signs a deal.

Source: Case IH Be Ready Blog

CaseIH Tractor Trade

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