Farm Ireland

Wednesday 26 July 2017

How to get your haybob ready for the new season

The original machine may be decades old, but it's still a mainstay for many haymakers. Follow these tips to keep it in fine shape

The Haybob is still available today from it latest owners, the French firm Kuhn
The Haybob is still available today from it latest owners, the French firm Kuhn
Check both rotors for excessive play, which could indicate bearing failure. If they become loose then the crown and wheel gear assembly driving the rotors could slip, damaging them and making for an expensive repair
Use a good quality parallel punch to drive out the roll pin with a hammer. Rollpins are notoriously difficult to shift with anything less than a hard parallel punch so it is worth investing a few euros in a decent metric set of parallel punches. A six-inch nail just won't do the job
With the bracket removed, you can turn the bracket hinge plastic bush 90° so it can be removed. It can be fiddly if there is a build up of rust in the bush housing
The condition of the tyres and tyre pressure is important. The PTO shaft below features an over-run/overload protection device. Make sure this is greased regularly, but don't pump too much grease into it or it will slip too much
Two pumps of grease a day would do, and grease the hard-spicers at each end, the guard and the sliding lemon tube of the shaft. The PTO cover needs to be in good condition with its securing chains intact both from a safety perspective and from a grass wrapping on the shaft perspective
The input PTO shaft bearings are susceptible to failure, especially where the machine end of the PTO guard is missing or damaged and the crop wraps on the shaft. Check the shaft for play or end-float, or safely run the Haybob for a while and, when stopped, see if the housing gets warm, which would indicate bearing failure
The Haybob's 'headland-management system' has been the cause of many a lift arm stabiliser failure (and heart-stopping moment on the side of a hill). It works fine for going round in circles without lifting the machine but is better left in the locked position
Haybob tines are colour coded for left and right, plus there are wide and narrow versions. The general consensus is that wide and narrow tines are fitted alternatively, five wide and five narrow on each rotor. If changing all the tines, don’t remove all in one go
Leave one on board on each rotor as a guide to refitting correctly or take a picture before dismantling as practical insurance. It is not unusual to break tines over rough ground or hitting a foreign object. Replacement is relatively easy with two 19mm spanners, just make sure that the tine is snug up against the bolt and clamped tight. You do not want a tine to fly off, particularly if using the Haybob with a tractor without a cab

Bruce Lett

The original PZ Haybob is now several decades old and was perhaps the first machine of its kind that could tedd out and row up crops quite efficiently. Tractors as small as the Massey Ferguson 35 and Ford Dexta could handle it quite easily and were the ideal pair for working in smaller plots and fields.

Incredibly, the original Haybob is still available new, though its parent company has changed. While the most recent owner of the Haybob is French firm Kuhn, it is undoubtedly still the Haybob.

There are also numerous copies of it out there, but like the original they are perhaps not as popular nowadays because as farming has evolved, wider and perhaps more efficient machines are being used to tedd out silage and hay to help dry it. The Haybob still has a place, though, particularly among those making baled silage and hay.

In a recent conversation with aftermarket agricultural parts supplier rep Mick McCabe of Sparex, I discovered that the Haybob is still very much in use as he informed me that they would sell a few hundred 'hay-gates' or windrowing gates every year for them.

Sparex is among the many aftermarket agricultural parts manufacturers, including McHugh components and Fastparts, to supply the farming industry through agricultural dealers with a broad range of parts for the Haybob.

Mick's boss, John Laffan, director of the Waterford-based firm explains: "The Haybob is still a very valuable tool, especially the further west you go. Not so much for big silage operations where bigger rakes and tedders are used nowadays, but certainly for baled silage."

There is still a big demand for parts as John explains: "While the usage is less each year, every year I am surprised by how much we sell for them. Last year we had a good run on parts again for the Haybob. They get pulled out of the woodwork everywhere when the silage and hay seasons come in."

As a rough benchmark as to how many machines are still out there working, John says Sparex would sell between 300 and 400 hay-gates (windrowing gates) every year.

"These would get damaged while reversing, or wouldn't be aligned properly and when bent, the tines hit off them damaging them more," he says.

One of the common 'fails' on the Haybob is the spring on each tine bracket for keeping them upright when the rotors aren't spinning.

"We sold 2,000 left-hand and 1,500 right-hand tine springs last year," he points out. This confirms that there is still a Haybob or two in use out there."

On that note, the following is a guide to getting your Haybob ready for the coming season.

Indo Farming

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