5 Signs It's Time for Replacement Hay Conditioner Rollers

5 Signs It’s Time for Replacement Hay Conditioner Rollers

October 24, 2022



Do you feel like your conditioners are not in optimal working condition? Have you noticed any loss of efficiency in your hay conditioning rollers? Well, like any other machine, your hay conditioner rollers suffer the effects of wear and tear.

After conditioning tons of various forage crops, these parts slowly wear out. This wear and tear may take years since most hay conditioner rollers are pretty durable. Be that as it may, the damage eventually adds up and will impact your harvest. So, how can you tell it is time for replacement Hay Conditioner Rollers?

Let’s dive in and review 5 signs that your hay conditioning rollers need replacement.

1. Increased Drying Time

You may have noticed that your hay drying time has increased over the last couple of months. This is disadvantageous since cutting and drying hay quickly is extremely important. If the weather is rainy, the urgency required is two-fold, as heavy rain can break off leaves and leach soluble nutrients from the plant.

In addition, you need to minimize the loss of carbohydrates through respiration, which stops after the plant dries to a 40% moisture content level. Also, reducing drying time is a crucial determinant in the RVF of your hay and should hence be of paramount importance.

If you notice an increase in the time it takes to get dry hay, it is probably a sign that it is time to replace your hay conditioning rollers.

2. Incomplete Stem Crush

Incomplete Stem Crush

As your hay conditioning rollers age, they lose consistency in the quality of forage they condition. This signifies that it is time to replace your hay conditioning rollers.

Look out for incomplete stem crushes. Unflattened stems imply a flaw in the roll pattern, hence necessitating repair or replacement. You should carefully consider the cost of repairs and replacement since, in most cases, in the long run, it is cheaper to replace than to repair the hay conditioning rollers.

Another sign is increased leaf loss. When your hay conditioning roller loses leaves of the alfalfa or any other forage crop you are harvesting, it compromises the hay’s nutritional value by reducing its RVF. Therefore, increased leaf loss and incomplete stem crushes are hints that you should replace your hay conditioning rollers.

3. Worn Out Rubber Says it’s Time to Replace Your Rollers

Most rubber factory rolls, when new, will have a 90-degree corner when molded. When this sharp edge becomes rounded, it loses its crimping ability.

When rubber rolls are new, they also have a softer, more resilient feel. As the rubber ages, it gets harder over time, and you feel this to the touch. As the rollers lose their softness and resiliency, they are not able to pass rocks and debris as easily, which results in more damage to the plant in terms of bruising and leaf loss. 

Therefore, make a habit of checking the rubber on your conditioning rollers to spot early on that it is time to replace these hay conditioners.

4. Reduced Critical Travel Speed

utting systems operating - Replacement Hay Conditioner Rollers

Critical travel speed is the maximum ground speed at which the cutting systems can operate without pushing the crop forward and leaving a ragged, uneven cut, according to a research paper by Kevin J. Shinners, a professor of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Although this speed is affected by other factors like available power and field roughness, a reduced critical travel speed could indicate that your conditioners are wearing out.

While working at optimal conditions, your hay conditioning rollers should operate at a cutting speed of 12 to 14 mph, on a self-propelled machine, or 3-5 mph on a sickle-cutting machine. If this speed reduces significantly, it could signal that your hay conditioner is losing efficiency, and it’s time to check your rolls, knives, and other components or look at replacing your machine.

5. Unusual Noises from Moving Parts

Your hay conditioning rollers are moving parts interconnected to other moving parts on your equipment. There are bound to be sounds generated as the system is operating.

However, keep a keen ear out for any strange noises from the components. These noises could signify that worn-out components are grinding against each other. It could also result from parts of the conditioning system being damaged. Therefore, unusual noises could signify that it is time to replace the conditioning rollers.

For example, bearing noise almost always means bearing failure. Check your bearings to see if it is warm or hot to the touch. This part being hot to the touch could lead to locking up or shaft failure as the bearings seize during cutting. Replace the bearings whenever putting in new rolls.

 Replace Rollers When Needed

Your hay conditioning rollers are bound to wear and lose efficiency over their lifespan. However, there is a readily available solution. We have the best and most extensive inventory of hay conditioning rollers on the market, all under one roof. At B&D rollers, we believe our product will be an excellent replacement for your rollers. Contact us today to replace your hay conditioning rollers or to learn more about how you can tell that it is time for a replacement.


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