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Understand basics of belting replacement

Courtesy of WCCO Belting A close up of an agriculture belting replacement
REPLACEMENT BELTING: Using the proper belting can increase uptime and productivity. WCCO Belting offers tips to make choosing and ordering belting easier.
WCCO Belting lists tips to help you get the right replacement belting for balers, combines and swathers.

Purchasing belting for balers, swathers and combines may seem far more complicated than ever before. Advancements in technology, new products, tighter tolerances, and a proliferation of models and features has made identifying the correct replacement belting more complex.

WCCO Belting, an international belting manufacturer based in North Dakota, offers the following tips on selecting the right belting.

Draper headers

For draper headers, most often there is a right draper, a left draper, and a center or feeder belt. How to tell right from left is the view from the seat of your cab. Since right belts and left belts can vary due to the lengths and features, it is important to start by identifying right from left ahead of your search for the correct replacement.

Because there are so many possible specification combinations on a draper belt, it will be helpful for you to familiarize yourself with what you are using today before contacting your supplier. Then you will be prepared to answer questions that will lead to the correct replacement part. Here is a quick breakdown of features, components and what to measure:

Cleats. Cleats are placed approximately every 12 inches perpendicular to belt length and help transfer material to the feeder house. Cleats can run the full width of the belt or they may be recessed. The measurement from the recessed cleat to the belt edge can be used to help determine the correct replacement.

V-Guide. V-guides, located on the bottom side, help track and drive the belt. Their locations vary and are specific to each manufacturer. Measuring the center v-guide location to the belt edge can lead you to the correct replacement. If the belt was the original on a new machine, it could have two v-guides.

Side Seal. Side seals, located on the top side, help prevent material from going under the belt and building up on the rollers. If the belt was the original on a new machine, it could have two side seals.

Connector Assembly. The connector is the metal part that connects the two belts ends. Each equipment manufacturer has a different hole pattern punched on the belt ends that coincides with a connector designed specific to their machine. If you are only ordering a new connector, the hole quantity and pattern measurements can guide you to the correct part.


Unlike draper belting which can be replaced as needed, baler equipment functions optimally if the whole set is replaced at the same time. If you choose to replace part of a set, one or two belts, you need to measure the length of the belts prior to looking for a supplier.

Baler belts are made of rubber and fabric which can stretch and flex over time. You need the measurement of the belts being replaced rather than the length when installed.

If the new belts are shorter than the others on the machine, it can affect your output and lead to premature belt failure.

Beyond make and model

Whether you are visiting a dealership, calling a distributor or shopping online, ask yourself if you can trust their service and where their belting originated.

Although the physical differences from one belt to the next can be indecipherable to the untrained eye, a quality belt will make or, quite literally, break your operation. There is a science to the manufacturing of rubber belting, and all belts are not created equal.

If you are speaking with a representative or working through on online catalog, once the make and model of the equipment are identified, you will most likely be asked other investigative questions to determine the part you need. For example, is the cut size of your platform 30-foot, 35-foot, 40-foot, or 45-foot? Familiarizing yourself with the belt components and measurements ahead of time will also support the supplier’s ability to get you the part you need.

For baler belting, belt specifications are determined by the manufacturer according to the design and function of the baler. Significantly deviating from their recommendation could result in equipment malfunction and downtime. For example, going from a 2-ply belt to a 3-ply belt (adding an additional layer of rubber and fabric) or changing the top pattern increases the overall gauge and your baler may not be designed with enough clearance.

If you are considering going with a more aggressive baler belt, a qualified supplier will help you understand your options. Minor changes, such as changing from texture top cover to mini rough top cover or slightly increasing the overall gauge can have positive impacts when it comes to starting the bale and rolling it tight. Going “the next step up” is the best rule for increasing the aggressiveness of your baler belting.

Understanding belting basics to source the correct parts for your machines will drive both uptime and output. Spending just a little extra time talking with a knowledgeable supplier about your specific needs and specifications will pay off in spades down the road, both in terms of keeping your operation running smoothly and improving your total cost of ownership.

Visit WCCO Belting online to learn more.

Source: WCCO Belting, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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