Particularly in the hobby sector or in a part-time farming, small tractors and the appropriate attachments are very often used. These are very maneuverable and are therefore also suitable for working smaller or very angled areas. To ensure that the mown grass can also be used as silage or hay as feed for the animals, it must first be raked. There are various rakes available for operation with small tractors.
Rakes with different techniques – rotary rakes, belt rakes, and etc.
A basic distinction is made between the two main techniques. In addition to rotary windrowers, so-called belt windrowers are also available. In a band rake, several tines run at right angles to the direction of travel and convey the hay to the side along with a swath plate. This creates loose swaths that can later be easily picked up by a baler or loader wagon.
In a rotary windrower, several tines move in a circular pattern. In the area where the swath is formed, the tines are raised by means of a so-called cam track. This prevents them from moving the hay back behind the rake. As a rule, rotary windrowers require somewhat more power than belt windrowers. Belt rakes are already available for small tractors with an engine power of at least 18 hp. To drive a rotary rake, the engine power of at least 20 hp is required.
Another difference is that a belt rake is significantly shorter than a rotary rake due to its design. This means that less force is exerted on the rear hydraulics of the small tractor. A belt rake is therefore also suitable for small tractors that achieve a somewhat lower lifting force on the three-point linkage.
The Tractors landscape rake is a great option for maintaining your lawn. This type of rake can be used to collect debris, pick up leaves, and get rid of small rocks on the surface. It works by simply attaching it to your tractor’s three-point hitch or front loader bucket. The teeth of this tool are spring-loaded which means they will adjust accordingly when going over certain surfaces such as gravel or hard-packed dirt. You would use this more often in the fall season since you’ll need a way to clean up all those fallen leaves from trees around your property line.
Easy handling of the windrower
Of course, it is important that a windrower can be easily hitched to the small tractor. This is done on all designs on the three-point linkage of the hydraulics. The windrower is driven by the tractor’s PTO. Most units operate at a PTO speed of 540 revolutions per minute.
In addition, it should be easy to adjust the height. The tines should capture the entire clippings, but not penetrate the soil. Therefore, it is important to be able to precisely set an optimum height. Over time, a certain amount of material fatigue occurs on the spring tines. Therefore, the tines on each rake should be easily replaced. In any case, it is recommended to always have some spare tines on hand. Then, if necessary, quick action can be taken without interrupting work in the long term.
When is the rake used?
Often in spring, the meadow is first leveled with a meadow harrow. After the grassland has been mowed with a mower, the tedder loosens the hay over a wide area to support its drying. The rake is then used to rake the flat hay into a compact row, the swath, for subsequent baling.
- Use of the meadow drag
- Mowing the grassed area with the mower
- Turning the withered crop with the hay tedder
- Gathering the hay with the windrower
- Pressing and bringing in the hay or silage
Often, the process now starts all over again with the meadow harrow – depending on how uneven the area becomes until the next crop emerges.
Rakes require little maintenance
As a rule, the rake is used after the tedder – either for hay or silage. Therefore, much of the moisture has already evaporated from the material. Silage has a moisture content of about 45 percent and there is still about 25 percent moisture in the hay. Therefore, the moisture contained can no longer cause corrosion on the windrower. Cleaning is therefore simple and, above all, quick. In most cases, the rakes do not need to be cleaned at all.
However, it is important to lubricate all moving parts of these machines regularly. A universal or multigrade grease is very suitable for this purpose. This is simply pressed into the existing grease nipples with a grease gun. This will make the rakes last a very long time and will not cause any damage.