A preseason maintenance checklist for large square balers.
The Forage Is Ready. Are You?
Ensuring optimum forage quality means working fast. Working fast means your equipment needs to be ready to go when you are. There’s nothing worse than unexpected downtime in the middle of the season — especially when it was preventable. Even if you carefully prepared equipment to sit over winter, fluctuating temperatures and months of sitting idle can result in maintenance requirements. A thorough once-over on every piece of equipment is a great way to start the season. Inspecting belts, chains, bearings and other components for signs of wear and replacing them before things become an issue can prevent downtime in the field. Additionally, greasing all lube points and running equipment for a few minutes can get your season off to a smooth start.
When it comes to your large square baler, here are some helpful tips for preseason maintenance.
1. Check the pre-compression chamber trip door
The pre-compression chamber trip door, sometimes called the stuffer trip, controls flake size, making it a very important part of your end result. If the door is not functioning properly, you could end up with oversized flake or more than a 1-to-1 ratio, which can result in poor quality bales in some forages.
Make sure the spring tension is correct and the door actuates properly before heading to the field. Your operator’s manual will provide the tension values for your particular model.
2. Inspect twine tensioners
As with the stuffer trip, too much or too little twine tension can reduce bale quality. Generally, 15 to 20 pounds of tension is recommended, but consult your operator’s manual for exact specifications for your machine. Too much tension will keep knotters from functioning properly. Too little tension will result in slack bales and long tails that make transporting bales difficult.
3. Make sure the knotter lube system is properly functioning
Creating high-quality bales relies on all baler components working properly, including the knotter lube system. Before heading to the field, ensure oil is cycling through and getting to all knotter heads. If these components are not properly lubricated during operation, you run the risk of damaging the knotter head, which can lead to expensive and extensive downtime.
On Hesston by Massey Ferguson large square balers, you can check knotter head lubrication manually through the monitor. You should see oil coming out in all the spots around the knotter heads. If it is not, contact your local Massey Ferguson dealer for a service call.
4. Verify chamber pressure
Make sure the load is correctly set for the bale weight and type of crop you are harvesting. Values may have been tweaked at the end of the prior season. Additionally, it’s important to export any tracking data from last year so you can start with a clean slate.
5. Be ready for in-season routine maintenance
It’s always important to be prepared for in-season maintenance with a stock of ware parts and consumables like twine on hand, but this season, planning ahead will be especially important. Work with your local dealer to make sure you have access to all the parts you need before the season gets underway.
An Ounce of Prevention
Taking time at the start of the season to inspect equipment and make replacements when necessary can mean the difference between a successful season and a frustrating one. Talk to your local dealer or contact our Massey Ferguson service team and make sure you’re ready for 2022!