Raking hay with a rotary rake is a common practice in agriculture to help gather and prepare hay for baling or storage. Rotary rakes are efficient and can handle a wide range of hay types. Here’s how to rake hay using a rotary rake:
1. Equipment Preparation:
- Ensure that your rotary rake is in good working condition and properly attached to your tractor or other power source. Check for any damaged or missing parts.
2. Adjust the Rake:
- Rotary rakes typically have adjustable settings for the working width and the height of the tines. Adjust these settings to match the width of the windrow (row of hay) you want to create and the desired height of the tines above the ground. Consult your rake’s manual for specific instructions on adjustment.
3. Drive to the Field:
- Drive your tractor or equipment to the field where the hay has been cut and is ready for raking.
- Start at one end of the field and position the rotary rake with the tines facing down to the ground. Lower the rake so that the tines gently touch the hay without digging into the soil.
5. Engage the PTO (Power Take-Off):
- If your rotary rake is PTO-driven, engage the PTO to power the rake. Ensure that the PTO shaft is securely connected to your tractor’s PTO output.
6. Begin Raking:
- Slowly drive the tractor forward while the rotary rake’s tines rotate. The rotating tines will sweep the hay into a windrow behind the rake.
7. Overlap Passes:
- Make overlapping passes as you move across the field to ensure that you gather all the hay. The amount of overlap depends on the width of the rake and the size of the windrow you want to create.
8. Adjust as Needed:
- Monitor the quality of the windrow and make adjustments to the rake height and working width as needed to achieve the desired results.
9. Rake in a Straight Line:
- Try to keep the rows as straight as possible to make the next steps of baling or collecting the hay more efficient.
10. Turn at the End of Rows: – When you reach the end of a row, lift the rake slightly, turn the tractor around, and lower the rake back to the ground before continuing in the opposite direction.
11. Complete the Field: – Continue this process until you’ve raked the entire field.
12. Finish Raking: – When you’ve finished raking, disengage the PTO and raise the rake to its transport position if necessary.
13. Baling or Collecting: – Depending on your workflow, you can now proceed to bale the hay or use other equipment to collect and transport the gathered hay for storage.
Always follow safety guidelines and precautions when operating heavy machinery and equipment, including tractors and rotary rakes. Additionally, consult your specific equipment’s manual for detailed instructions and safety recommendations.