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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought a New Holland flail machine new this year. I’ve adjusted it in many different ways. I’m strongly considering going to a roll machine as I thing the flails doesn’t crack the bigger stemmed grasses and clover very well. Does anyone run rubber rollers in similar conditions? Cutting grasses mainly with canary, Johnson within it. So bigger stemmed. I’ve never run rubber rolls so wanting some advice!
 

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We ran a number of NH rubber roll machines for about 20 years. In grass, I thought they did the job adequately. Definitely a huge improvement over no conditioning. One of the big side benefits of a roller conditioner is that it crinkles up the stem and promotes the formation of a fluffier windrow that tends to stand off the ground better and dries better. In alfalfa, the NH rubber roll is ok, if everything is tweaked to the limit they don’t do to bad but we found that the Massey/Hesston TwinMax conditioner is a considerably better choice.
 
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Always heard that flail is better than rolls in grass, but flail doesn't really crack the stem, but rather it strips the wax off it.
It may depend on the type of flail T or V or whatever.
 

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The flail (impeller) machines I have been around did not show adequate conditioning IMHO. I run rolls and will always run rolls either rubber or steel.
 

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Impellers/flails are supposed to be the textbook better option for grass hay than rollers, but my opinion is a bit different. I have no experience with other brands but switched from a NH with flails to one with rollers and feel the roller machine does a better job with dry down. Just my opinion, no side by side scientific trials to back it up. And this is in first cutting thick OG, Timothy, fescue type hay. In second cutting I notice no difference and might give a slight edge to the flails. Which makes sense as I don’t see how you can run stock rollers close enough to do much on fine stemmed grass. But I’m not as concerned about the dry down on the later cuttings as much anyway as usually easier to get it dry than heavy first cut. I also think the flails are lower maintenance and less need for adjustment than rolls.
 

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we run both....JD630 flail and a JD946roll......flails are simple and maint free for grass hay......have had rolls clog or wrap in heavy tall grass......dry down seems very similar with both.....any Leaf type hay we use the rolls to maintain leaves.......clover in grass hay is always slower and harder to dry down with either system
 

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If you are cutting large diameter stemmed crops, wheat, Sudan grass,etc, the roll machine cut hay will dry down faster. Those crops need the stem broken so the large amount of water stored in the stem can escape. My feeling is in the other crops a Tedder makes a larger difference than the conditioner. For simplicity and and a lower initial financial hit, the flail machine will do you well. We have sold a large amount of NH flail machines over the years and a very small percentage of flail owners switched to rolls when replacing the flail machine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If you are cutting large diameter stemmed crops, wheat, Sudan grass,etc, the roll machine cut hay will dry down faster. Those crops need the stem broken so the large amount of water stored in the stem can escape. My feeling is in the other crops a Tedder makes a larger difference than the conditioner. For simplicity and and a lower initial financial hit, the flail machine will do you well. We have sold a large amount of NH flail machines over the years and a very small percentage of flail owners switched to rolls when replacing the flail machine.
What is your opinion on rolls in OG, fescue, reed canary grasses and clover?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Impellers/flails are supposed to be the textbook better option for grass hay than rollers, but my opinion is a bit different. I have no experience with other brands but switched from a NH with flails to one with rollers and feel the roller machine does a better job with dry down. Just my opinion, no side by side scientific trials to back it up. And this is in first cutting thick OG, Timothy, fescue type hay. In second cutting I notice no difference and might give a slight edge to the flails. Which makes sense as I don’t see how you can run stock rollers close enough to do much on fine stemmed grass. But I’m not as concerned about the dry down on the later cuttings as much anyway as usually easier to get it dry than heavy first cut. I also think the flails are lower maintenance and less need for adjustment than rolls.
Would you say in first cutting with stemmed grasses/clover that the rolls do a better job than what the fails did in first cut? I noticed it seemed like in heavy first cutting the flails did hardly nothing or what it did do it wasn’t even.
 

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OG, fescue, and timothy the flails work fine. Not familiar with canary. Clover would benefit with rolls. I can not remember when the last time was I saw a field of clover. Used to be a lot of clover grown in this area. There is a small amount of alfalfa grown.
 

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Would you say in first cutting with stemmed grasses/clover that the rolls do a better job than what the fails did in first cut? I noticed it seemed like in heavy first cutting the flails did hardly nothing or what it did do it wasn’t even.
I think rolls do well in first cutting OG, and if you are mix clover in it definitely go with roll. I switched to flails in a krone and have been pleased with the conditioning on first and on later cuttings as well. Cut your OG early and you won’t have the stemies. The rolls really shined on Timothy that had gotten a little tall
 
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You have to remember that the concept of what each conditioner type does to the hay is different. The rollers will give you a visual crimp and/or crush of the stem whereas the flails are supposed to scuff and rub the waxy layer off. So in side by side trials the windrows would visually be different.

As others have mentioned, regardless of conditioner type a tedder is still an invaluable tool. I personally feel the rollers helped us reduce the number of tedder passes we make in first cutting in most conditions.
 

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Also full disclaimer - in recent years we’ve been wrapping more of our early first cutting in order to get it off fast and dodge weather. So for that we obviously aren’t drying it down all the way to dry hay levels. We also don’t have as much clover mix hay as we used to. So some of my perceived faster drying may not be a true comparison. Overall for straight grass hay I don’t know there will be a ton of difference with either machine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If you guys have
OG, fescue, and timothy the flails work fine. Not familiar with canary. Clover would benefit with rolls. I can not remember when the last time was I saw a field of clover. Used to be a lot of clover grown in this area. There is a small amount of alfalfa grown.
If you have buyers for a like new used flail machine I have one 😃. I’m going to go to rolls. I just need to make the trade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The flail (impeller) machines I have been around did not show adequate conditioning IMHO. I run rolls and will always run rolls either rubber or steel.
Do you think your rolls do a good job with clover and with grass? I’ve only ran flails but I feel rolls would do better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think rolls do well in first cutting OG, and if you are mix clover in it definitely go with roll. I switched to flails in a krone and have been pleased with the conditioning on first and on later cuttings as well. Cut your OG early and you won’t have the stemies. The rolls really shined on Timothy that had gotten a little tall
Does blades of grass in second and third cutting like OG really need conditioned? To where flails help in that condition? I’ve always ran flails but wondered if it really helped or not.
 

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Does blades of grass in second and third cutting like OG really need conditioned? To where flails help in that condition? I’ve always ran flails but wondered if it really helped or not.
My philosophy is get it down and in the barn as quickly as possible. Yes, I think it speeds drying on 2 and 3rd cutting. Typically, I will cut starting at 10am and ted the end of the day. if conditions are right, I often can bale at the end of the next day. Too many times rain or enough showers to mess things up have appeared on days forecasted with "no chance" of rain. I use the forecast to cut by but then push the envelope as much as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
We ran a number of NH rubber roll machines for about 20 years. In grass, I thought they did the job adequately. Definitely a huge improvement over no conditioning. One of the big side benefits of a roller conditioner is that it crinkles up the stem and promotes the formation of a fluffier windrow that tends to stand off the ground better and dries better. In alfalfa, the NH rubber roll is ok, if everything is tweaked to the limit they don’t do to bad but we found that the Massey/Hesston TwinMax conditioner is a considerably better choice.
So you would say rolls are definitely a better option than flails?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
My philosophy is get it down and in the barn as quickly as possible. Yes, I think it speeds drying on 2 and 3rd cutting. Typically, I will cut starting at 10am and ted the end of the day. if conditions are right, I often can bale at the end of the next day. Too many times rain or enough showers to mess things up have appeared on days forecasted with "no chance" of rain. I use the forecast to cut by but then push the envelope as much as possible.
Do you think NH Chevron rolls would help dry down in second / third cutting as well ? What type of machine are you running?
 
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