This year’s silage season is fast approaching, so farmers and contractors are being reminded to check their machinery is set up correctly now, to ensure its longevity and maximise silage quality, before the pre-silage rush.

Craig Bryson, territory sales manager at Krone UK, shares his top pre-season checks for mowers, tedders and rakes.

“Although it can be tempting to cut grass short to maximise harvest volume, when setting up your mower for the first cut of the season, it’s important to avoid cutting too low, as an increased cutting height will encourage optimal regrowth and recovery,” he explains.

“To avoid the mower smearing the soil, make sure the mower is set up as flat as possible, with the lowest pressure on the bed, to allow it to follow the contours of the ground. This ensures that the tedder and rake achieve a clean pick up, ultimately reducing soil contamination.

“When entering a field, drive forwards for about 20 feet, stop, and clear the swath to ensure you’re achieving the desired cutting height, along with a smooth and even cut, before continuing,” he says.

Mr Bryson adds that it is important to check the mower discs for signs of wear and tear early, so that repairs can be made in good time.

“If there’s any excess wear on the mower you feel could be cause for concern, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to your local dealer. Krone mowers have replaceable wearing parts that are easy to install on-farm,” he says.

“Premature or excess wear may be a sign that the mower has been set up incorrectly, so getting it sorted now can save you time and money in the long run.”

The particularly dry 2022 season may mean some farmers and contractors have not used their tedder for well over a year, so regular maintenance may have slipped under the radar.

Mr Bryson encourages farmers to conduct maintenance checks working from the front to the back of the machine, for example, checking that universal joints are intact and greased, with guards in place, and making sure there are no broken or bent tines. He also recommends checking tyre pressure ahead of the season.

“If tyre pressure is too high, as the tedder is driven over hard, rough ground, it’ll be shaken excessively. But if it’s too low, the machine will sit unlevel and cause the tines to scrape the ground, risking soil contamination,” he explains.

“Once in the field, check the tedder height is set correctly, with a base setting of 20mm tine tip to stubble, so it moves the whole crop, however it might take a few runs to get this exactly right.

“For the tractor, checking the top link and stabilisers are in good condition will help prolong overall machine performance. For example, if the stabiliser is loose, it can cause the machine to swing. Keeping on top of this will help elongate the durability of the machine,” says Mr Bryson.

“Making sure machines are serviced regularly, stored clean and pre-season checks are carried out early puts you in good stead to get parts ordered promptly at a fair price, while helping to prevent issues in the field, to maximise silage quality.”