Are You Ready to Make Hay While the Sun Shines?

— Written By and last updated by JoAnne Gryder

Hay season is just around the corner. If you haven’t already, now is the time to pull out the equipment and get it ready for the hay field. Following preventative maintenance suggestions can reduce stress from downtime and ensure safe working conditions. Consider these practices when completing maintenance:

  • Replace broken or worn parts to feed material properly into the bale chamber.
  • Replace bent or loose blades on rotary cutters that are more prone to thrown objects.
  • Ensure proper clearance between crimping rollers on mower conditioners.
  • Do not overlook lubrication. Even though you may have greased all bearings and shafts thoroughly at the end of last season, pump in fresh grease now. This will force out all the moisture which may have condensed inside during the winter. Wipe all grease fittings clean before applying grease gun; otherwise you may force dirt directly into the bearing along with grease.
  • Always lubricate sprockets and chains when the machine is turned off.
  • Whether in the shop or out in the field, always ensure the PTO is disengaged and the engine shut off before dismounting to service or adjust the equipment.
  • With mowers, square bales and all equipment, wait until all components have stopped moving before work occurs
  • Always lock and block the rear gate of a baler if you must be underneath it.
  • Be prepared for a fire. Carry a Class ABC fire extinguisher on ALL tractors. Ensure extinguisher are charged and in working order.
  • Keep all shields and safety guards in place. Replace immediately after maintenance is complete (don’t wait until you are ready to go to the field).
  • Consider removing dirt and debris with compressed air; water will cause rust and can reduce life of bearings and moving components.
  • Check implement tires carefully. After several months of not being used, repairs may be necessary.
  • hay bailerGo over all your machinery and tighten bolts, nuts and cap screws that have worked loose. This simple precaution can prevent serious and costly damage.

Regular maintenance and care extends the life of your equipment and maintains the value. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure