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.