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Maintenance Minute: Readying Forage Harvesting Gear For The Season

With the end of planting in sight and the first cutting of hay not long off, take advantage of rainy days to ready your forage harvesting gear for action, advises Bruce Anderson of the University of Nebraska. Here is his litany of maintenance must-dos.

  • Inspect, lubricate, and service all power-driven areas on balers, mowers, and rakes such as belts, bearings, chains, and gears.
  • Set tension on belts and chains.
  • For sicklebar headers, check, sharpen, or replace cutterbar sections and then adjust wear plates, hold-down clip,s and guards. Make sure your cutterbar has proper knife register. On disk mowers, replace knives and rotate or replace worn “turtles” over the knives.
  • Look for uneven wear on conditioning rollers and adjust the roll gap, roll timing, and roll pressure for the 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,” Anderson urges.
  • Check plunger knife clearance and plunger alignment on rectangular balers. Inspect the tying mechanism and adjust, as needed.

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