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Baler preparation tips

Baler preparation tips

An infrared thermometer could help identify hot spots on the equipment

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Producers may be getting their balers ready to for fall haying.

To help ensure balers are in good working order, connected with Jim Franceschetti, product marketing manager for hay and forage with Case IH Aftermarket Solutions, to provide tips on what to check before operating the equipment.

One of the most important places to start is to inspect the PTO and CV joints, he said.

If that connection is faulty, the baler won’t work properly.

“That’s the lifeblood of the baler and driving all the power,” he said. “Also make sure hydraulic hoses are in good condition and connections are clean.”

The best place to start on the baler itself, Franceschetti says, is the operator’s manual.

“The manual will have maintenance interval levels outlined in detail,” he said. “Use that to make sure you’re tackling those preventative maintenance measures.”

Farmers may also want to consider calling their local dealers.

The people working at these locations could have some additional information not found in the operator’s manual.

“These people are a wealth of knowledge and are in your corner,” Franceschetti said. “They’ve probably got some advice on how to do things that maybe you didn’t consider.”

When looking at the baler itself, operators might want to start by turning it on.

Farmers should be able to hear anything of concern, and an additional tool might be useful to identify invisible issues.

“Getting an infrared thermometer and walking around the equipment can be very helpful,” he said. “If there are areas where the temperature is really high, that could be mean there’s added friction in a bearing to cause that temperature to skyrocket.”

Cleaning the baler before using it this season is another important tip.

Which tool a producer uses, however, should be considered carefully, Franceschetti said.

“Balers do a tough job and residue can get into them,” he said. “Using an air compressor is great to get all the debris out. I know some people like to use pressure washers and farmers just need to practice some caution. With that water coming out at such a high pressure, it doesn’t take much to knock something loose or cause damage.”

The components coming into contact with crop material also need to be checked.

Fields can contain foreign material that can damage crop engaging components and other parts of the baler.

“There’s a lot of stuff you can get caught in the baler,” Franceschetti said. “Look to make sure rotor cutter blades aren’t chipped or bent. It’s fairly easy to tell if they need to be sharpened or replaced.”

Calibration is another important part of baler preparation.

Comparing multiple moisture sensor readings will help ensure accuracy, he said.

“A good way to do that is take the reading from inside the cab and, if you have a portable moisture sensor, stick that in the bale to see what you’re getting,” he said.

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