Farmers often grow hay and forage crops on ground too rough, steep or unsuitable for row crops. This means it’s especially important to prepare fields and machines for safe use. Remove stumps, stones and foreign objects, or mark them clearly to prevent upsets, breakdowns or dangerous driving situations. Inspect any dangerous ditches and banks for undercutting. Plan harvesting so equipment travels downhill on steep slopes to avoid overturns. Space tractor wheels as far apart as possible when operating on slopes.
Safe operation during baling depends in part on how well the baler is prepared for use before the season starts. This preparation may not only reduce field down time but also may prevent accidents. This pre-season preparation also will allow necessary lead-time to get needed replacement parts and to do a thorough preparation job. Always disengage the power take-off (PTO), shut off the tractor engine and take the ignition key with you.
Thoroughly clean the baler to remove any accumulated field trash or other debris. Lubricate all parts according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Proper lubrication can reduce unnecessary wear on parts and prevent overheating that could cause a fire.
Carefully check for loose or missing nuts, screws, guards or bent teeth. Replace missing guards to prevent accidental contact with the components they guard. Replace bent or missing pickup teeth to ensure effective feeding of material into the feed rolls.
Inspect all belts or chains for evidence of wear or breakage. Maintain belt tension according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Belt lengths should be matched to prevent slippage that can cause plugging and heat build-up. Belts that must be spliced should be trimmed and laced squarely. New belts should be checked periodically until they are broken in and length has stabilized. Before replacing a belt or chain, consult the operator’s manual for instructions on securing the upper chain or removing load from the belt tension springs.
Make sure the hydraulic hoses are clean and in good repair and hooked up correctly. Check the twine feeding and cutting mechanisms to see that they are working properly and that your twine is in good condition. Also check the slip clutch, roll scraper and rear gate latch to make sure they are adjusted and functioning according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Finally, check all lights and warning reflectors, and clean your slow-moving vehicle emblem. Check your fire extinguisher to see that it is in proper operating condition.
Crop Preparation and Baling
The terrain and the density of the crop determine the windrower speed. When operating over rough terrain or on hillsides, take care to avoid holes or obstacles that can tip a windrower or throw you from the machine. Crop density also affects the speed at which you operate the windrower. The more often you must unplug the machine, the higher the chances for an accident. If clogs must be removed, always turn off the machine.
Repeated plugging of the baler may tempt the operator to try unplugging the baler while it is running. Never try to unplug the baler until you have disengaged the power take-off and shut off the tractor engine. Also, never attempt to feed the material into the baler by hand or feet. One slip could be deadly. Never attempt to hand feed or remove twine from the machine while it is running.
|Never try to unplug the baler until you have disengaged the power take-off and shut off the tractor engine.|
The flywheel maintains the uniform momentum of a baler’s working parts. It also keeps the machine operating for a considerable time after power is disengaged. Never attempt to work on a baler until the flywheel has completely stopped.
The flywheel can be turned manually to permit slow motion observation of knotter function. However, it should never be turned while someone else is working on the knives, knotter or other moving parts.
Round Bale Hazards
There are some key points to consider when harvesting and handling large round bales.
Publication #: 2349
This Maine Farm Safety Fact Sheet is part of an educational fact sheet series produced by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. For more information on farm safety, contact your county Extension office.
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More