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Rotary Rake Question


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19 replies to this topic

#1 lfc

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 10:34 PM

I have two NH 256 rakes and a Pequea tandem bridge hitch that I use on mixed grass hay here in CT, although I usually only use the tandem hitch to double up later cuttings. With the lousy weather we've been having yet again this year, the first cutting is getting tall and I'm having more issues with the NH rakes roping green spots into the center of the windrows. I typically ted twice and rake twice, but there always seems to be some wet clumps that the tedder misses but the rake picks up. I've read a lot about the rotary rakes and how much better they are with making a fluffy windrow. I'm looking at a GA 4120 TH Kuhn. My concerns are that the 4120 rakes a 13' swath, and I'm affaid that this will be too big of an outside windrow to dry. I can take smaller cuts on the inside rows if needed, but I will need a full swath to start the field. Will the windrow dry that much better that I shouldn't worry? I could get a smaller GA 3200, but that model doesn't offer hydraulic lift which I think I want. Also, how do the rotary rakes do when raking the windrows the second time? Will they flip the windrow or just push it over to the side? I'm concerned that without flipping it somewhat there will be wet spots on the bottom still. Thanks for any advice.

#2 gf5205

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 07:11 AM

I have a GA 3200 and it rerakes the rows just fine. It doesn't really flip them as much as take them apart and make a new windrow. With the rotary rake you don't have the same need to flip rows that you have with the side delivery because you haven't made a "solid" windrow to begin with. You have to see it to understand the difference. I can't imagine going back to a parallel bar rake.

When we open up a field we frequently start baling a couple of rows in because the outside rows are in shade part of the day and don't dry as fast. We then rake them in by going counterclockwise and bale them last.
Greg
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#3 Haymike56

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 07:42 AM

I switched to a rotary 2 years ago and it is great. When you are raking it kind of stands the hay up in a fluffy windrow that allows the air to go through, no roping. Mine takes an
11' swath and I wish it would be wider. When I square bale with my hoelscher I have to drive between the rows and the tractor tires just touch the windrow edges.
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#4 lfc

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 09:15 PM

Thanks for the replies - I appreciate the help. Sounds like a rotary is the way to go and that it will do everything I need it to. The dealer looked at my 256's today, and I'm waiting to hear on the trade.

#5 Va_plowboy

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 03:09 AM

You will like it alot. I still use a p-bar here on my farm but we have a rotary rake on the big farm I work at. It seems to pick up hay in uneven fields betterthan the P-bar or V rake. We can mow with the Discbine w/roller conditioner in the morning, be done by 2 o clock. Next morning tedder around 11-12, rake with the rotary right after we ted, then bale about an hour after we rake. The hay will still be green in the windrow but not too green(30-40%). It dries fast in the row. We have put up alot of hay this year in 2 day cycles with the rotary. If we weather makes us go the third day, we use the v-rake for speed, since we don't need the drying effect of the rotary.

Edited by Va_plowboy, 27 June 2010 - 08:25 PM.


#6 Hayguy

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 07:31 AM

Why do you bother to ted the hay if you rake right after?

#7 Va_plowboy

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 08:24 PM

Why do you bother to ted the hay if you rake right after?


Because we usually take anywhere from 2-4 hours to rake a field. The hay being maybe 60% moisture when we tedder, gets down to 30-40% within 2-3 hours after tedded here usually. Then after we rake it, by the time we come around with the roller it is usually right on moisture wise.

One man operation usually, should have explained it better I guess. If we don't get it all baled that day we do it the next day.

#8 lfc

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 08:36 PM

Wow, I wish I could bale that soon after raking! I typically mow (Discbine) in the evening or early the next morning, ted around lunchtime, and ted again mid-afternoon. If all goes well, I'll rake it the first time that evening. Rake then the next day around 11:00, and then bale at 2:00. This works ok in light hay, but if it is heavy I need an extra day. I'm a one man show too, so I try to go with 300-400 at once so I can rake and ted pretty quickly. Our weather has been similar to last year with a chance of showers every other day it seems. The hay is so heavy now that I still need all the help I can get with drying.

#9 Va_plowboy

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 11:04 PM

Yea, we have had alot of rain this year. And the heat has been a killer. The rotary rakes will knock time off your dry down for sure. We get a good half day saved with ours. Only use the v-rake for speed.

Ive never been able to put up dry hay the same day and don't think it could be done. But if I mow (discbine) early enough in the morning and kick the next day soon as the dew dries, I can bale that the same day.

Alot of people kick hay right after they mow but it's not needed here. I let the top of it dry and flip it the next day to get the underside dry. Have to wait till its close to cured with the v-rake, but we can rake about 40% moisture with the rotary and bale just a few hours later.

You could also kick right after you mow, then kick it the next noon, rake it right after you kick it, then bale it right after you rake it here, as long as we use the rotary and theres 2-3 hours in between each phase.

When it comes down to it, with a rotary you really don't have to have cured hay when you rake, it can be pretty moist and still dry down great in little time. And it's awesome for uneven land.

#10 NEHerdsman

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 05:21 PM

I've got the GA 4120 TH and I love it. It is wide (especially traveling on the roads), but the large outside windrow doesn't have to be a problem. I've got a couple fields where the edges don't get much sun, and what I usually do is cut, then rake the outside row in, and sometimes two rows in (keeping them in separate rows. Then I ted. This keeps from throwing hay into the woods, but if you do the two rows in thing it makes the large windrow from your second reverse raking the second row in from the edge rather than the outside row.

But the windrows are everything good that folks above have sad, it really makes a difference. I don't think they'll pick up stuff that the bar rakes don't though, I've found that you have to be real aggressive with the tedder setting to do that. But when the rotary rake picks up those green clumps, they dry very fast - I've picked up green stuff cut tow days ago that looks like it was just cut, in the rotary rake windrow it'll dry in a couple hours. Pricey, but a nice piece of equipment...

#11 lfc

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 09:25 PM

That's a great idea on raking two windrows in - like you said it gets the heavy windrow away from the edge. I could angle the tedder, and although that would move the hay away from the edge it would still leave a heavy windrow on the outside. I don't think the 256 would handle that, but if the Kuhn will that is something I should try - thanks for the tip.
Heard from the dealer that they don't have any rakes in stock, which may be good as I could then consider the new GA 4220 with an extra tine bar. Problem is we have a week of good weather finally coming, and it would be nice to see how the rotary works then!

#12 Va_plowboy

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 08:49 PM

You may look at a few other brands also. Krone makes a great rotary rake for around the same price as the Kuhn. They are built really sturdy.

The Miller Pro is arguably the best rotary rake made. Very well built and long lasting.

#13 OhioHay

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 09:29 PM

We have run rotary rakes for the last 10 years. We had bar rakes before that and have custom baled after V rakes. Besides the dry down, a big advantage of the rotary is how nice it feeds the balers. I think not having the roped hay makes our balers take the windrows much nicer. As for brands, We had a Miller pro 2250 twin rotary for nine years. A good heavy rake. Rebuilt on rake after 6 years and the second one was on the verge when we traded it this year. Decided to go with a Kuhn 7922 this time. So far I am pleased with it. Felt the innerworkings may be a little better and have more longevity on the kuhn than on the Miller. Either way, I don't think you would regret buying a rotary.

#14 lfc

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 10:31 PM

Well, I bought a Kuhn GA 4220 TH today. Thanks to everyone for their advice which made me really want to get one. This is a new model, and has 11 tine arms compared to 10 on the 4120. There aren't any other brand options if I want a dealer close by. The rake is at the distribution center in NY, and hopefully it will be here in a few days. To save time and money, I'm going to assemble it myself. I hope it gets here soon, as we have a week of sunny days forecast - something we haven't seen so far this season. I've got lots of over-mature timothy that could put a new rake through its paces. I'll post back once I get it going and let you all know how I like it.

#15 Va_plowboy

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 10:39 PM

Good buy man! You will like it alot. Does the 4220 have the removable arms for transport and the hydraulic lift like the 45?

As was mentioned above. Speaking of the way the windrows feed into the baler was spot on. Did'nt think to mention it, but the windrows from a rotary will feed really even and uniform into your balers. I swear by the rotary and I'd say you will too.

Be careful around Groundhog holes and other hard bumps as the wheels can and will break off with a pretty good hit. I have seen a few broken, but never the one I'm using. Man with a Kuhn rotary on a farm down the road from us has broke 2 or 3 wheels off his gfrom groundhog holes. I figure he must be hitting them pretty fast. I like to run mine around 400rpm. Some wind them up near 540 but they rake alot better for me at around 400-maybe 425 in thick hay.

Good luck with it and lets hear some feedback soon.

#16 lfc

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 09:27 AM

The 4220 has the hydraulic lift, but not the removable tines - that is the 4221. It is an extra $600, and since my fields are mostly connected I doubt I would go through the effort of removing the arms much. It would be handy for winter storage, but I'm assuming I could unbolt the arms if needed.
The small tires do scare me, but the tedder holds up with the small tires so I'm hoping the rake will do the same. Groundhogs (we call them woodchucks) used to be an issue, but lately we don't see them as much.
I'm a little sad to see the 256's go. Raking was one of my first tractor chores, and I spent many hours bouncing around on our Farmall A with a pillow on the pan seat, striving for those perfect corners. Once we rebuilt the engine on the A you could rake in 4th if you kept your hand on the throttle which really helped with covering the acres. I still use the A once in a while, but I'm affaid the Kuhn will be too much for it - plus the fact it has no hydraulics.

#17 NEHerdsman

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 10:15 AM

If the 4220 is like the 4120, the arms are held on with the Kuhn "roll pin in a roll pin" method, removable, but not something you'd do every day. Ask me how I know - little story about the help trying to rake hay that was already in the round bale. Arms cost $116 each, btw. :( But removing the arms on the 4120 for transport would be of no value as the widest part of the machine is not the tines, but the support structure above the tines.

I pull the curtain off over the winter, so I've replaced the roll pins that hold the arms for curtain with linch pins, it's pretty easy to remove then. Saves about six inches, fits where I want it in my barn then. :cool:

I got the 4120 as my dealer had one left over and gave me a great deal on it - all other thing s being equal I should have the removable times model as I do a lot of road travel, but things were unequal to the tune of about $2500, so...

#18 lfc

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 08:49 PM

I see what you mean - the frame folds up too on the transport models. Oh well, considering I used to store two of the 256's, I guess I can fit in one Kuhn. It is going to be a tight squeeze through the door openings though.....

#19 Va_plowboy

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 02:16 AM

The 4220 has the hydraulic lift, but not the removable tines - that is the 4221. It is an extra $600, and since my fields are mostly connected I doubt I would go through the effort of removing the arms much. It would be handy for winter storage, but I'm assuming I could unbolt the arms if needed.
The small tires do scare me, but the tedder holds up with the small tires so I'm hoping the rake will do the same. Groundhogs (we call them woodchucks) used to be an issue, but lately we don't see them as much.
I'm a little sad to see the 256's go. Raking was one of my first tractor chores, and I spent many hours bouncing around on our Farmall A with a pillow on the pan seat, striving for those perfect corners. Once we rebuilt the engine on the A you could rake in 4th if you kept your hand on the throttle which really helped with covering the acres. I still use the A once in a while, but I'm affaid the Kuhn will be too much for it - plus the fact it has no hydraulics.


REminds me of when I first started out. Raking was also my first job on the farm. Around my second year (about 13 yrs old) I was starting to get good, or so I thought. You know how thaat goes. Well I was on the old 4000 ford pulling a ford 513 rake. Turned it too sharp and caught the rake with the rear tire. It throwed the rake all the way up onto the fender and right beside me. Almost hit me! Dad had a heck of a time getting it down. We still have that rake and eveytime I see the bent bottom of the tougue, it reminds me too keep the turns narrow.

That same tractor caught fire while I was square baling about 2-3 years later. They said the starter wire must have been bare and arced on the fuel tank. I remember seeing the sparks and then the flames were everywhere. The tanks on those, as most people know were right above your knees. I jumped from it so fast I never put it out of gear or shut it off. It baled another bale before running out of the row and finally died about 50ft from where I jumped. Scared me to death as a kid.

Edited by Va_plowboy, 04 July 2010 - 02:21 AM.


#20 lfc

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 10:00 PM

With the loop drawbar on the A you couldn't cut too hard or the hitch would bottom out on the drawbar. I can't really think of any bad experiences while raking but we also had a 4000 that caught fire, ours from a bad extension cord to the block heater. It was in the free stall barn, and a passing car saw the smoke. We frantically shoveled sand from the stalls on it, and got it out before the fire department showed up. Melted the intake manifold, and the rubber gasket on the fuel tank was starting to melt. We traded it in, but an employee at the dealership fixed it up and still uses it.




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