Unless you check your disc mower regularly and maintain the mower on a consistent basis, you may be mowing hay, pasture or weed with a discbine hampered by badly worn or even bent blades. When that happens you aren't getting a clean cut on the plants, which is important if you're cutting hay or pasture and want regrowth. And you're also making the tractor work harder and use more fuel than necessary.
Chris Parker, Morgan County, Ind., Extension ag educator for Purdue University, recently demonstrated the difference on his own mower conditioner. He maintains a small cattle herd and makes hay each year on his rolling acreage.
"The blades don 't cost that much," he says. He operates a New Holland seven-disc haybine machine. "They are two-sided, so you can flip them over. I usually flip them over half way through the season, and then replace them at the start of every season."
If you've got alfalfa starting to grow and inch toward the time for first cutting, now would be a great time to obtain new blades and change them, no matter what model of machine you operate, Parker says.
"Blades become dull with wear, just like your lawnmower blades. If you don't switch to sharp blades, you're really making the job much tougher on the equipment and not getting the clean cut on the forage plants that you want."
The blades on Parker's machine are left and right hand blades, They are clearly marked so it's easy to put them on correctly.
Sometimes blades also get bent from hitting rocks and the like. One of the blades Parker showed as an example recently was not only dull, it was bent.
"It's really important to replace bent blades," he says. "Again, the same thing can happen on lawnmower blades. It's the same concept. Keeping sharp blades on a disc mower is one of the best maintenance items you can do on that machine."
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