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  1. #1
    Veteran Member jimmysisson's Avatar
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    1993 NH 2120 (the best), 1974 MF 135 (sold, but solid), 1947 Farmall A (bought, sold, bought back, sold again), 1956 MH50 lbt (sold, in 1980, darn it)

    Default sickle bar problems

    I'm trying this thread here hoping for some insight. I've had some experience, mostly bad, over the years with sickle bar mowers. Last weekend was the most recent, with an almost-new Kuhn 6' basic unit. What can be done to prevent the just-cut grass from clogging the guards and pushing to-be-cut grass away from the sections? Go faster? Slower? Higher or lower pto speed? If all the world had purely rectangular fields to mow, I'd be ok, but when you have to overlap or stray onto an already-cut area the thing clogs immediately. Going back over the area makes it worse.
    Any ideas?
    Thanks, Jim
    "Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly" Mae West

  2. #2
    Silver Member
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    Dec 2004
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    2- 65 M-F, 6245 Zetor /loader, GC2600 M-F /loader, BX24 Loader/BH

    Default Re: sickle bar problems

    One of the easiest ways to avoid this was the way my grangfather taught me, when you get the end of the row raise the bar enough to not get in the cut grass and then make a 270 degree turn and come back into the row traveling 90 degrees from where you left off. That being said i have never found away to eleminate all of the balling up. sometimes you just have to get off and clean the bar off. Rich

  3. #3
    Super Member Farmwithjunk's Avatar
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    Where do I begin.....

    Default Re: sickle bar problems

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmysisson
    I'm trying this thread here hoping for some insight. I've had some experience, mostly bad, over the years with sickle bar mowers. Last weekend was the most recent, with an almost-new Kuhn 6' basic unit. What can be done to prevent the just-cut grass from clogging the guards and pushing to-be-cut grass away from the sections? Go faster? Slower? Higher or lower pto speed? If all the world had purely rectangular fields to mow, I'd be ok, but when you have to overlap or stray onto an already-cut area the thing clogs immediately. Going back over the area makes it worse.
    Any ideas?
    Thanks, Jim
    I used a sickle bar mower to cut hay for the better part of 35 years. I demo-ed a disc mower for one cutting, and borrowed a New Holland haybine for another along the way, but for the most part, I was stuck in the 19th century. So, I've cut my fair share with a sickle bar.

    Keep sections sharp. Hold downs need good tension, but not too tight. Gaurds, with their integral ledgers need to be straight and ledgers sharp edges. Ground speed is important. Grass won't "lay" right if you're going too slow. Too fast and the bar will knock over the grass instead of cutting. It takes time and experience to get the right "feel" on speed. PTO speed needs to be at 540RPM. Some mowers have adjustable pulleys that can "over-drive" the mower to allow knife speed equivilent to 540 PTO rpm, with actual PTO speed less than 540. Owners manual for the mower should cover that issue. Cutter bar "aproach angle" is important too. (Adjustment made with 3-point hitch top link) Play with that adjustment to see what difference it makes. Guards need slight downward angle, without being too steep. Again, if you don't have the owners manual, get one (EBAY?) There will be a good bit of usefull info on basic set-up. From there, experience is the best teacher.

    But even if you have EVERYTHING "just right", you can't "re-cut" mown grass/hay with a sickle bar. It wil ALWAYS plug. Seldom is anything ever as easy as it appears. Mowing hay (cutting weeds?) with a sickle bar is no exception.

    PRACTICE---PRACTICE---PRACTICE!
    There are three kinds of men;
    1.) The ones that learn by reading
    2.) The few who learn by observation
    3.) The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

  4. #4
    Gold Member
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    May 2004
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    SW of Minneapolis, MN
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    2003 Kubota L3430 HSTC

    Default Re: sickle bar problems

    In my experience, the grass has to be very dry to get excellent results when sickle mowing. Even if the grass is dry above, but wet or damp near the ground, you will have plugging issues. Also, check the cutting height. Cutting too close to the ground can cause plugging. In addition, if you are mowing with the wind at your back, the cut grass can have a tendency to not want to fall gracefully. I have had to cut some areas one way to get a good cut. When all works well, a sickle cut area can look as neat as an area cut by a RFM.

    OrangeGuy

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