Hay Season Survival Tips
The summer heat means that hay season in Arkansas is in full swing. It can be a busy time making sure the entire process runs smoothly. We know time is valuable, and time is money. It’s important that you know all the tricks of the trade. How can you make sure that you get the most out of your hay crop this year? Here are a few tips from Greenway –
Equipment Maintenance Is a Must
Preventive maintenance can seem time consuming and like a waste sometimes. However, it’s much better to check out everything before you break down in the middle of a field with only half the job done! It’s best if you clean all equipment and have everything looked over in the winter, but it’s not too late if you didn’t. Here are some things you can look for and do for your machines –
- Read your manual and make sure that you’re doing the required service when it’s time
- Change the oil on the gearboxes in mowers and balers.
- Watch the bearings on balers. They can overheat and cause fires!
- Examine disk blades and replace the knives if necessary. Look at the rake and replace any teeth that are broken or not aligned.
- Check conditioning rollers and adjust the spacing and roll timing.
- Inspect the belts and repair them if needed.
- Your rakes and tedders will likely need readjusting each year.
Adjust and Readjust
Make sure that your baler is adjusted to where it needs to be. It can be a simple process, but take the time to recheck it. Baler pickup tines should be set about one inch above the ground. The hay pickup flotation should be that the pickup follows the ground at or just above the tine height setting. Make sure that you monitor the bale density. Even with a gauge, get out and check it manually to confirm that the density is where you need it to be. A good rule to follow is that if you kick the bale, it should hurt your foot!
Check the Moisture
It doesn’t help the equipment, you or your hay if you bale when the hay moisture is too low or too high. Optimal moisture levels can also depend on what type of baler you use. If the moisture level is too high, the hay bales can lose large amounts of dry matter caused by excessive heating and molding. To keep loss to a minimum, you should bale at a moisture level low enough to prevent excessive heating and prevent moisture from getting into the bales of hay. Don’t bale hay to be stored in the field until the moisture level is between 18-22 percent.
With hay season off and running, it’s important to stay in the field and running rather than in the shop. At Greenway, we know how important it is to make the most of your time and get the most out of your hay crop. When it comes to hay season, Greenway can equip you with the machines you need from rakes to balers as well as help you with any service needs. With 27 locations across Arkansas and Missouri, we are here to assist you whether you’re purchasing new or used equipment or need one of our service technicians. Give us a call today!