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Frequent Contributor

New member looking for haybine advice

Just found this place and it looks nice. I've been looking at buying a haybine for my small (hobby farm really) operation. I've been looking at John Deere 1209s more or less because I bleed green, but they also look easy to work on and fall in my price range ($2000-$3000). Last year I used a New Holland 489 that we ended up putting a lot into because of a bad wobble box. I was just wondering if anyone had any experience with the 1209. Also, I was wondering about the pros and cons of a self-propelled versus a pull type. Thanks!

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Veteran Advisor

Re: New member looking for haybine advice

You will be much happier with the NH over the long run I have run both and the NH does a much better job over the long haul. It sounds like you got an abused one.  As to the self propelled over the pull type that depends on acres and tractor availability. If you are baling lots of hay the 9 footer will be better for you. ALso what type of hay do you put up?  If it is mostly alfalfa than you should stick eith the sickle mower. if you are in to a lot of grass look into a disc mower. I would look at kuhn's as they had lots of good used ones and they hold up well for their age.

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Frequent Contributor

Re: New member looking for haybine advice

I do mostly grass, but last year we had the chance at a little alfalfa so we did that, yoo. I don't do a lot, about 25-30 acres first cutting. I just bought a '69 John Deere 2020 with 48 loader. It's about 55hp. The only draw back is that I only have two hydraulic remotes, so what I can run is kind of limited. I did find a New Idea 5209 in my price range, but it has two cylinders, so I don't think I could run it unless I jerry rigged a manual swing on it. I only ask about SP mowers because I found an older Hesston 8 footer. I'd prefer just a pull type though. Seems like they would be more to maintain, but easier to operate. Also, what is the advantage of flail conditioning versus rolls?

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Veteran Advisor

Re: New member looking for haybine advice

I've used pretty much everything but the new disk mowers, which I have only seen working from the road.  Anyway, here goes:

 

Pull type vs. self propelled.  The self propelled is far and away more convenient to operate.  With the head right there in front of you, it is much easier to see what is going on while still driving, as opposed to having to always look back.  The self-propelled will also have either a hydrostatic drive, or on some older machines a variable-speed drive at the very least.  This gives you a little more capacity because you can continually drive the optimum speed for field conditions.  Pulling with a tractor requires you to either pick a gear that is a happy medium, or continually shift.  Not a big deal if you have a power shift, but I don't.    However, the tractor part of the windrower is the expensive part to fix.  Don't even get me started  on how many times we could have rebuilt the entire cutterbar for the price of fixing a leaky hydro unit.  Also, it is one more engine & drivetrain to upkeep.  If you are short a tractor, maybe a good idea, but if you have enough tractors, maybe not.  Since you are not a full-time hay producer I doubt the acre or two per hour more productivity of the self-propelled would be worth the trouble of one more engine to upkeep, batteries to charge, etc.  

There are also two types of pull types:  trailing, and swing-tongue.  Trailing types you generally pull around and around the field, working towards the center.  Swing tonge machines go back and forth across the field after you do the edges to give yourself room to turn around.  If you are just swathing, not a big deal, but if you are planning to use your swather to make a windrow, the swing tongue are far better to follow with a baler.  The swing tongue takes 2 hydraulic circuits, and some trailing units only need one once swung out to field position.  Also, with a swing-tongue machine, if your tractor doesn't have a cab, you can start from the downwind side of the field, and not have all the dust/bugs swirling around you as you go.  With a trailing type, you will always be eating dust on at least one side of the field.

Crimpers vs. flails.  The flails won't plug in an anthill or slug as much as the crimper type, but the crimpers do a far better job on things like alfalfa when it comes to even conditioning without pulling off leaves.

As to brand...I hate to tell you this since you are a JD guy, but until fairly recently, the JD units just weren't up to snuff with the competition.  The New Hollands would run away from them like nothing, and even the Hesstons would cut just as fast or faster, while being simpler, easier to maintain, and less expensive.  Around here we see mostly New Holland and Hesston.  The New Holland are for the guys covering more acres, and the Hesston are for the smaller acerages.  The biggest differences I have seen are the New Hollands cut more acres per hour, and the Hesstons are simpler, easier, and cheaper to fix/maintain.    Dealer support needs to play a part, as well, especially in older machinery.  In your price range you should be able to get a late model 1014, or better yet, an older 1160.

 

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Frequent Contributor

Re: New member looking for haybine advice

I really appreciate the advice. I think you have talked me out of a JD. I only ask about the self-propelled because I found an old Hesston, but I more or less bought my 2020 for doing hay, so I have a tractor. It's not a power shift either. I can't really go any larger than 9ft though. I have gates I have to squeeze through and I have one field I have to transport it to and a 9 footer takes up more than half a road as it is. I'm in mid lower Michigan, so my fields are kind of spread out. I'll definitely look into Hesstons. I thought about them, but never knew much about them. I found a nice looking New Holland 469 I think I'll go look at. I also know I can get a hydraulic circuit selector valve, so I could run more than one cylinder, however, they aren't too cheap so it would lower how much I could spend on a machine. I still have the 2020 to fix (threw a rod bearing, last rebuild gone bad), too. I'm really glad I found this place. I've never had somewhere to go and get feedback on equipment before buying. Thanks again!

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Veteran Advisor

Re: New member looking for haybine advice

If you look at a Hesston, if it is one of the older style machines with the sickle drive pitman arm at the top of the header, and the big wobble arm on the side, be very sure that the bearings on the center of the big wobble arm are tight.  Any looseness and it will hammer the bearings out in only a few hours.  Once you see one up close, you will see what I mean.  To check for looseness in that arm, grab and end, and try to wiggle it side to side in the bearings.  Anything more than the tiniest amount of play, and it is loose.  I have a LOT of experience with the older style Hesston machines with the crimper style conditioner.  Ours was an old self-propelled machine.  The header part, once we went through it was very trouble-free (if I checked the bearings in the wobble arm 2 or 3 times a season) but the self-propelled part was just worn out in constant need of something.  The swing-tongue we have now has been though many, many acres, with very little repairs, just regular wear stuff. 

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Advisor

Re: New member looking for haybine advice

   I suggest a pull type as that means 1 less engine and drive train to service.   I have a NH 479 and do both grass and alfalfa.   This is the only haybine I have experience with but I can't imagine anything else working any better.

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Frequent Contributor

Re: New member looking for haybine advice

Okay, thanks, I'll look for that. I don't find as many Hesstons in my area as New Hollands though. I'm at the mercy of TractorHouse and Craigslist as far as finding machines. I do have to pull it home, too. Also, I see some of these Hesstons have steel rolls on them. What's the advantage of steel rolls?

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Frequent Contributor

Re: New member looking for haybine advice

The one SP I found in my price range was a 1960s model, so it will probably need some work and I'm not looking for anothe project right now. I found a very nice 469 I'll probably go look at this weekend. The 479 and 469 look similar. They look pretty simple and easy to work on, too.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: New member looking for haybine advice

I think most of the old models had steel rollers.  The newer ones have one steel, and one rubber.  I think the steel is more durable, and the rubber is easier on the crop, while still giving a good crimp.  The steel/rubber combo kind of splits the difference, with the bottom roller steel, which is the one that carries the weight of the crop as it goes through.

 

One last thing to mention, a machine with contitioning rolls should have the rollers as close together as practical but they SHOULD NOT TOUCH when the machine is run empty.  There is an adjustment somewhere to achieve this.  Too far apart, and they don't condition thin crops as well, but if they touch, they wear each other out when empty, and the whole machine will have vibrations going through it.

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