Working On Your Hay Baler

Let’s talk a bit about hay balers. We carry Hesston by Massey Ferguson Round Balers and Small Square Balers.

They’re reliable and rugged, but the fact is that no matter how good your equipment is, it’s going to need maintenance to keep it running at its best. And sooner or later, everything needs a repair.

Farmers who have been running balers for years often develop a second sense about their equipment. They can identify problems by examining their machines and running their own diagnostics. We offer these helpful hints from seasoned hay farmers to help you understand your baler:

Top Advice: Keep the Machine Clean

This suggestion may seem obvious. But after a long day of baling, it’s more appealing to go home and put your feet up and drink something cold. Who wants to stay out in the field and do yet another chore with the baler?

Don’t talk yourself into putting it off for another day! One of the best ways to maintain the quality of your baler is to keep it as clean as possible. Blow off dirt and debris with an air hose after using the machine. The few extra minutes it takes to clean the baler will help it run better, longer.

Off-Season Maintenance is Critical for Long Machine Lifebaler parts that often need replacement

During the off-season, clean the baler once more, then check for worn bearings, broken tines or chains that need adjusting.

Be sure to check all the wear parts in the bale chamber, and then carefully inspect all the parts of the knotters. Twine guides can develop grooves from wear, and grooves will impair the flow of twine from the twine box to the knotters. Poorly moving twine may cause a mis-tie – and that means time lost. At the front of the machine, check the stripper plates, cam bearings and pickup tines. Needless to say, thoroughly checking your baler – and getting repairs done — before haying season begins means less time lost in the field.

And – do we really need to mention this? Always have extra twine on hand.

A Bad Baler Belt Can Cause Delays and Losses

Baler belts can cause real problems if you don’t inspect them fairly often. Once a belt has handled thousands of bales, it may start to lose the ability to grip the hay or bale rollers. Sure, we’ve all heard tales of belts that processed more than 20,000 bales before needing replacement, but there’s no guarantee your belt will perform that well.

Decreasing bale volume is a good indicator of a failing belt. If you notice a decrease, check the belt as soon as possible. Just slide your hand along the surface. Is it too slick or does it grip right? Curling belt edges mean the belt is rubbing excessively and needs repair or replacement.

A belt can also become brittle or slick with long exposure to sun. If you can store your baler indoors, you’ll help extend belt life. Do you bale with a higher belt tension in order to maximize bale density? That’s known to shorten the life of the baler belt, too.

But Cables and Pins Go First

The belt surface will probably outlast the cables or pins used to hold the belt ends together. In fact, some manufacturers suggest replacing these every year, even if the belt is holding together. It’s a pretty easy fix, and can save a lot a headaches out in the field.

Belts Torn by Debris

Hidden debris in the hay can tear a belt, so it’s a good idea to check for tears every few uses. A small rip parallel to belt length may not need repair, but a large tear, or one that runs across a belt, may need to be repaired quickly. Sometimes you can replace just the torn section of the belt with a patch, and most farmers are handy enough to do that themselves. This means having splicing tools and replacement belts on hand in the barn, so you can minimize downtime when you’re working.

Prefer to have a service professional do the work? Call for an appointment at either of our locations and one of our repair experts will fix your baler as quickly as possible.

Nate Meyette