mardi 26 juin 2018

Hay making 2018

This years haymaking saga - A very wet April, May and Early June has lead to exceptional grass growth, when the dry hot weather finally arrived the meadow was 4 feet high! My finger bar mower with newly sharpened blades coped admirably, but the weight of cut grass on the bar meant stopping every 25m to clear it.

The busatis double reciprocating finger bar mower

Half way through the cutting a disaster - each set of cutter blades are held in place by a bolt with a conical end that locates in a counter sunk hole in the blades. The bolt ultimately works loose and before eventually parting company with the blades, vibrates itself to near destruction. Over the years the bolt threads are stripped and need to be re-tapped. This year the cast component that the bolt screws into, had its thread stripped so the bolt wouldn't tighten. Fortunately in the box of spares I obtained from the seller was another identical piece! Changing was a nightmare as the casting was locating on a double ball joint and a tapered pin - After 3 hours I succeeded and the rest of the mowing went plan.

Tedding the hay went without a problem apart from a broken tine on the tedder.


Next up was forming the rows for the bailer. Last year Nanou our neighbour did this. But he has just had an accident and severed his finger so he was in hospital. I went to see Michel at Courex who owns the "andaineur". He was fine with me borrowing it but the size of the machine was on the limit of the capabilities of my little tractor. I managed to collect it and get it into the field but When I tried to attach it to the power take off on the tractor the adaptor was too long. Normal these are removable and you can put an appropriate sized adaptor on suit your tractor - not so this machine! The adaptor was permanently fixed. No choice but to return the machine. In our steep field when I tried to exit uphill the weight of the andaineur lifted the front wheels of the tractor off the ground so I had no steering! Eventually Susie helped steer the tractor but exerting sideways force on the andaineur and I made it to the road. Implement returned all the rows had to be raked by hand.


Kuhn "cocinelle" bailer ( basically a John Deere machine made under licence in the 1950's)

Next up bailing. My old bailer refused to worked. For a whole day we struggled with only one knotter working and hence one string per bail. I tried every adjustment under the sun but it wouldnt work. At sunset I discovered that a piece in the knotter mechanism was broken and so the knotters weren't synchronised. After an hour of trying to free the broken part to adjust it, I resorted to removing it all together and swapping it with a part from the similar abandoned machine in the Pla d'Artigue. After re-synchronising success....until I ran out of bailer twine. The twine has to be old Sisal twine as modern plastic twine is too slippery for the old John Deere knotters. After trips to several suppliers in St Girons I found the twine and at last we bailed all the hay (including re-bailing most of the one string bails from the day before). over 200 bails compared to 130 last year.


Its not over until the fat lady sings  - the bails need to be safe in the dry of the barn. We borrowed Patrick and Michelle's bigger trailer to move the bails. With planks and ropes we managed to get 24 bails on the trailer so after 8 or 9 trips - which took most the day in 32 degrees of heat - the job was done. Definitely time for a Champagne celebration.



2 commentaires :

Anonyme a dit…

Greetings from USA, Hudson NY
Two things that might be helpful. 1. I know it wasn't a problem in this case, but in the future, if one side is making knots and the other knotter isn't. swap twine around to opposite knotters. If the problem continues but has now switched sides, it is the twine not the knotter. 2. I own a JD 14t early serial# and it will make knots with plastic twine, however I don't know if billhooks have been changed. However I dislike using plastic twine as it never degrades and always seems to get up in stuff like rototiller or bush hog, even when I'm careful about picking it up.
Been a fan of you blog for years, ever since You were first thatching the roof, keep it up. Good luck, Chip

Lee Sharp a dit…

Thanks Chip, still look at that document about US farming inventions from way back you sent.