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John Deere Maintenance Monday: Forage equipment safety

If you have used equipment you want to utilize to mow hay, you must learn up on the safety rules before mowing.

Radio interview source: Dennis Murphy, Extension Safety Specialist, Penn State University

 
In this edition of Maintenance Monday, we're answering a question from Drew in Wyoming. He bought used equipment to mow hay in a new pasture and is concerned about maintenance and safety. Any tips?
 
Dennis Murphy is an extension safety specialist at Penn State University. He says the safety rules depend on the type of machine used. Many acreage owners mow pasture with a sickle bar, which 
can be quite dangerous. 
 
"Most sickle bar mowers are pretty old and so many times the PTO guards on the machine itself are missing," he says. "There are belts that help drive the sickle bar, the sickle bar blade of course is obviously sharp or it wouldn't cut, and those blades break easily. The guards that are over the blades can break easily and getting those things in and out can be very frustrating and that's when people start taking chances."
 
The more modern conditioners have all the action happening under the mower itself. However, the hydraulics and the PTO can be a hazard, as well as other moving parts of the machine such as tines and blades. 
 
Murphy recommends to always check your forage cutting equipment at the beginning of the season to make sure everything is working properly.
 
"If it has a cutter bar of any type, they should be making sure that all the blades are intact and are not cut off, because that helps not allow things to plug," he says. "They want to make sure that the guards are also not broken. If they're using flail choppers, they just want to make sure that they're not broken. They should make sure that drive mechanisms like the drive belt are not worn, so that could be replaced."
 
After you've used the machine for several days, Murphy says it should be looked at again to make sure that everything is intact and operating as designed.

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