Hay Day

Mowing, raking, round baling, and bale wrapping

By Geof Fowler, Jun 01, 2017
Hay Days Tools

Last week Tractor.com spent time behind the wheel of a Massey Ferguson 5711SL cab tractor. In that article we mentioned the tractor had been brought to the dealer, Big Boy’s Toys LLC in Pomfret, Conn. to have a Krone EasyCut 3600CV mower-conditioner installed. The installation coincided with a “Hay Day” Big Boy’s Toys was running for customers and interested parties.

Tractor.com tagged along and this week brings our readers coverage of mowing right to ready-to-store baled hay. First a little about the implements used.

Krone EasyCut 3600CV

The EasyCut 3600CV is a compact design side-pull mower-conditioner delivering a 11’8” cut width. The compact design allows for better than 90-degree angles, the ability to turn on a spot, and a 11’2” transport width. The suspension system Krone calls its DuoGrip center-of-gravity suspension delivers an even cut across the entire head and the ability to get right down to the ground for a close cut. A V-tine conditioner with adjustable speed and baffle plate controls conditioning intensity. SafeCut hubs utilizing efficient spur gear drives are roll-pin protected so when a blade collides with a rock, an easily replaced pin breaks. Quick change blades (4.4”) are part of the design and can be replaced in just minutes. Conditioner speed is 600/900 rpm. The gearbox is rated at 90 hp and the power take-off (PTO) is 100 rpm standard with an option for 540 rpm.

Krone Swadro 38T

The Swadro 38T is a single-rotor trailed rotary rake that operates with low power input. A tandem axle with (4) 18” Super Balloon floatation tires lowers and raises on a cardanic rotor suspension system. Cardanic motion can be likened to that of a jet on takeoff and landing, where the front wheels lift out before the rear on takeoff and the rear wheels touch down before the leading wheels on landing. In the case of the Swadro 38T, the cardanic suspension prevents the rake tines from being pushed into the ground or being left suspended in the air, the later which results in crop being thrown about and contaminated. The Swadro 38T has a narrow transportation width and a permanent lube system that is maintenance free.

McHale f5500 Round Baler

The f5500 is a 15-knife chopper baler with a drop floor unblocking system and a 4’ wide by 4.1’ diameter bale chamber. A galvanized 6.89’ wide, five-tine pickup system is designed to lift even the shortest of crop. A high-capacity rotor (15 knives) is utilized for uniform crop flow with the knives able to be engaged/disengaged from the tractor cab. The main drive is protected by a slip clutch, which alerts the operator when the system blocks due to less-than-ideal conditions. The operator then hydraulically lowers the drop floor which widens the feed channel. When the PTO is reengaged, the blockage is then fed through. The drop floor then can be raised and baling resumed. The mechanical systems are lubricated through a progressive greasing and oiling system which after a preset number of bales sets off an alarm, alerting the operator to top off the lube system. In-cab control displays important functions such as the floor position, knife pressure, knife position, tailgate position, and net feed status. The net wrap system can accept rolls up to 1300mm (4.26’) wide. Roll change is a “rock n’ roll” action, where the operator releases the wrap straps, rocks the roll from storage position over lip in platform, then rolls the net into the net box. The recommended minimum tractor horsepower for the f5500 is 90.

McHale 991BC

The 991BC is a trailed, cable controlled round bale wrapper that wraps the bale tightly, encapsulating the natural juices and ensuring the nutritional value. A simple four-lever control is utilized which can be mounted in a convenient operator location. The system uses a RDS electronics package which measures the RPM and number of layers. On the last second rotation, the system beeps, giving the operator time to slow the wrapping table which utilizes (four) heavy-duty belts. The wrap dispenser delivers the wrap evenly. Hydraulic cut and hold ensures there is no need to manually reattach film for the next bale. The RDS unit also allows the operator to vary table rotation (layers) and to store bale totals from different jobs.

Going To Work

The sun was shining when we drove the Massey Ferguson 5711SL and Krone EasyCut 3600CV to a nearby orchard where a few acres of ripe crop were ready to mow, condition and windrow. The 5711SL has a PTO output rating of 88 horsepower, which is narrowly at the minimum for the EasyCut 3600CV requirement. With crop in many places higher than the cutter top, the lush conditions spurred by plentiful spring rainfall in the Northeast, we wondered how the tractor/cutter combination would work. Quite well, we learned. Initially we set off mowing slowly, working our way up to 8.5 mph, but finally settling in at 5.0 mph which seemed perfect for the conditions. Not only does the EasyCut 3600CV do a nice job mowing and conditioning, but the design makes for a surprisingly agile package given the wide width, with sharp turns not at all problematic.

The following day the weather forecast wasn’t as nice with some forecasters predicting a washout. In short, the conditions were perfect to push limits. On hand for baling were the abovementioned McHale f5500 pulled by a Massey Ferguson 5610 (75 PTO Horsepower) and a McHale V660 pulled by a Massey Ferguson 8280 (225 PTO horsepower). When Tractor.com arrived at the Hay Day site, the latter combination had an issue with the PTO shaft, which required a run back to the dealership for a part. For this article we focused on the f5500, but have to add that later when the V660 was back in service, it was impressive to see how the higher horsepower setup with non-stop baling ejection worked.

With the windrows good and wet and the sky not letting anything dry out, the Massey Ferguson 5610/McHale f5500 combination impressed. The bales were evenly formed, dense, and though the tractor would bog down a bit as the bale neared completion, everything worked well. At one point the baler slip clutch sang and the operator had to drop the chamber and feed through the blockage. Even with an operator unfamiliar with the McHale system, the time from blockage to baling again wasn’t more than a minute.

As more bales were deposited, a Massey Ferguson 4710 pulling the McHale 991BC went to work picking up bales. The 991BC picks up a bale and transfers it to the belt table which begins to spin and wrap the bale. Meanwhile, the operator drives to the next bale and gets that ready to replace the wrapping bale when that cycle completes. The 991BC worked well, never jammed or needed attention, and easily kept up with the f5500. When the V660 repairs were completed, that tractor/baler went into action, while a Swadro 38T pulled by another Massey Ferguson 4710 did windrow clean-up work. As the last bales were wrapped, conditions worsened. Though those in attendance were soaked, no spirits were dampened, and everyone came away impressed at what a relatively inexpensive round baling solution could do. Thanks goes to Big Boy’s Toys for inviting Tractor.com to the Hay Day.


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