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Make Sure Hay Equipment is in Top Shape

hay equipment
Balers need pre-season and in-season maintenance.

See the picture? At least we made you look! If this is what you intend to use all summer to bale hay and you have even one acre, let alone 100, you might have a problem. The cat may be the most valuable thing in the photo, unless you're an avid antique collector, a scrap dealer, a super-talented mechanic or just have a death wish!

Sometimes you can get older equipment to perform, but it takes maintenance. Chris Parker, Morgan County Extension ag educators, uses a very early New Holland round baler with chains. He has learned how to maintain it and it still fits in his small operation.

Collectible or scrap? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A sharp mechanic perhaps could restore this baler. Hopefully your baler just needs maintenance that you can do yourself.

Whatever you're operating, you need to know what the manual says about maintenance, including how often and what and how to do it, he says.

He also suggests that maintaining hay rakes and mower/conditioners is key. With rakes, it may be a matter of taking time to replace rake teeth or check the oil in the gear box. On disc mowers it can mean turning the blades over at mid-season – most are made to do so because both sides are sharp.  Depending upon how much you mow, replacing them at the start of the season could be a good practice.

Set The Schedule For Hay Quality. Deciding when to make the first cutting of hay sets the stage for the rest of the year. Download our FREE report 10 Hay Farming Basics: Producing A Quality Hay Product today.

The other part of maintenance for hay equipment is practicing safety, he says. Even equipment as old as this Case baler came with an operator's manual that stressed safety. It may have been a cartoon character doing something wrong and getting hurt to get your attention, or it may have been a more standard caution-type warning, but any manual for any of these machines will have safety warnings built in.

Part of staying safe is operating machinery in good shape. We don't recommend hooking up to this Case baler!

Want to learn more about the latest haying equipment and how to improve hay quality? Join Penton Farm Progress for the Hay & Forage Expo, June 25-26, 2014, in Boone, Iowa!

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