Springtime Hay Preparations

Springtime Hay Preparations

Through the winter months, it seems like spring will never get here. However, it is now upon us and nearly time to begin the process of baling hay. When you make that first trip out to your hay field, the last thing you want are breakdowns. The customer support team here at Tractor Tools Direct is here to help you avoid those breakdowns. This guide will help you identify any issues with your Ibex equipment prior to going to the field. A thorough inspection now will not only prevent untimely breakdowns but also prevent more costly repairs in the future.

Before beginning any maintenance, please review your Ibex equipment owner’s/parts manual as well as the quick start guide to ensure all annual maintenance items outlined in the owner’s manuals have been completed. All parts identifications in this guide are as labeled in the parts manuals for each piece of equipment. The maintenance suggestions in this guide are to be made in conjunction with annual maintenance outlined in the owner’s manual. Replace worn or broken parts with ONLY genuine Ibex parts.

Helpful hint: Before beginning repairs or maintenance that require disassembly, take a few pictures from different angles of the component before disassembly and during the disassembly to use as reference when reassembling.

A check of your parts and supplies inventory is a good idea. You don’t want to be halfway through baling a field only to discover you’re out of something. Consider how many rolls of twine or net wrap you used last year. You’ll need that many again this year. How many do you have on hand now? Do you have plenty of new blades for your drum mower? Do you have shear bolts on hand for the baler? Use this link to browse/order any needed supplies.

Helpful hint: If you want to use less twine, use the smaller side of the white plastic twine pulley.

As you complete the equipment inspections make a list of needed parts. Consider parts items that you needed last year. Wear items that stopped you in the field. The following is a list of the most common wear items we see customers purchasing.

  • Mower – blades, mounting hardware (if applicable), blade changing tool
  • Wheel rake – tines
  • Belt rake – tines, tine attachment bolts and nuts, tine holder, nylon supports, double tension rods
  • Baler – Shear bolts, pick up tines, stripper plates, pickup drive slip clutch wear plates, alarm switch, extra remote control for the wireless pushbutton tailgate

We recommend ordering all your parts and supplies at once for a significant savings in shipping. It’s generally cheaper to send a large box than to send several small ones. Use this link to browse/order any needed parts.

General Information

  • Begin with a review of the owner’s manual and quick start guide for each piece of equipment.
  • Grease all lubrication points. The suggested grease for all Ibexequipment is NLGI No. 2 grease.
  • Check the oil level in all gear boxes. The suggested oil for all Ibex equipment gear boxes is outlined in the owner's manual for each piece of equipment.
  • Check for oil leaks from all gear boxes. Repair as necessary.
  • Check tire pressure. The suggested tire pressure for all equipment is 28-30 PSI.

Helpful hint: If tires frequently lose air, have an inner tube installed in them.

  • Check all PTO shaft shields to be sure they turn freely on the PTO shaft and extend and retract freely. Ensure the retention chain is securely connected on each implement to prevent the PTO shield from turning freely with the PTO shaft.
  • Ensure that all guards and safety devices are properly secured and in good condition.

Drum Mowers

  • Ensure the safety curtain is in good condition with no rips or tears.
  • Inspect the blades for excessive wear. Never mix new blades with old blades. If any blades require replacement, install a full set.
  • Inspect blade mounting hardware for excessive wear. Grooves worn into the area the blade runs indicate replacement is needed.
  • For TS53 and TM67 mowers:
    • Check the breakaway pin for wear and cracks.
    • Lubricate the threaded rod that secures the breakaway pin.
  • For all C-series and all E-series mowers:
    • Measure the length of the spring on the breakaway mechanism. Remove the bolt that is inside the spring to separate it into two halves. Using sandpaper, clean the mating surfaces. DO NOT USE A GRINDER FOR THIS PROCEDURE, THE SURFACES DO NOT NEED TO BE SHINY. Apply a light coating of grease to the mating surfaces, reassemble the two halves, and tighten the bolt back to the original length.
  • E-series mowers only:
    • Remove the belt shield and inspect the belts looking for cracks and excessive wear.
    • Check for proper belt tension. Refer to the owner’s manual for tensioning procedure and correct belt deflection.


Wheel Rake

  • Inspect the rake wheels for missing, broken, or bent tines.
  • Apply penetrating oil to all frame pivot areas.
  • Connect the rake to your tractor and lift it off the ground. Turn the wheels by hand and listen for grinding or squeaking noises. If these noises are heard, you have bad bearings. Replace with new bearings.

Belt Rake

  • Inspect the drive belt for excessive wear and cracks. Replace if needed.
  • Inspect the carrier belt for excessive wear and cracks.
  • Inspect all tine carrier supports for cracks or bends. Note the tine mounting tabs, the mounting pivot rods, and the tension rod mounting tabs.
  • Inspect all tine carrier nylon supports. The tine carrier mounting pivot rod should fit snugly in the nylon support with very little movement of the rod inside the bushing.
  • Inspect all double tension rods. If any are found to be bent or broken, replace them.
  • Inspect all double tension rod nylon mounting bushings. Any found to have cracks or fit loosely on the carrier pivot rod, mounting pins, or inside the looped ends of the double tension rod should be replaced.
  • Replace any broken or bent tines.


  • Begin with a thorough review of the maintenance section of the baler owner’s manual.
  • Inspect hydraulic reservoir, valves, hoses and cylinder for leaks. Repair as needed.
  • If your baler is not equipped with a wireless push button tail gate kit, replace the 9-volt battery as outlined in the owner’s manual.
  • If your baler is equipped with a wireless push button tail gate kit, charge the battery as outlined in the owner’s manual. Replace the button battery in the remote control.
  • Be sure the shear bolt holder on the baler is full. Use only Ibex approved shear bolts.
    • Helpful hint: Store two 10mm wrenches on the baler, you’ll always have the tools to change the shear bolt.
  • Inspect the length of the springs on the pickup drive slip clutch as outlined in the baler owner’s manual. They should measure 1”. If they are longer than this, then thoroughly inspect the clutch plates by disassembling the clutch by removing the bolts and springs. New plates are 1/8” (.125) thick.
    • Helpful hint: Take a few pictures from different angles of the clutch assembly before disassembly to use as reference when reassembling.
  • Twine baler only - Install a new utility knife blade in the twine knife swivel bracket


Seemingly, the most important piece of equipment in this process is a tractor. Certainly, the most expensive. As with all your equipment the first step to proper tractor maintenance is a review of the maintenance section of the owner’s manual. Complete all the annual maintenance items outlined there. Some of the maintenance items on the tractor may be a bit more daunting. A conversation with the service manager at your local dealer or independent shop is a good idea.

Now that you’ve spent a few hours in the barn completing all your equipment maintenance, it’s a great time to clean up and organize. Make sure to have clear pathways to all your equipment for easy access with your tractor. Account for items such as your baler hitch pins, necessary tools, and fuel cans. Take a few minutes to think through last year’s season and consider any issues that slowed you down or stopped you. Eliminate the causes of those now.

The Tractor Tools Direct Team wishes you a safe and productive hay season!

May 1st 2024 Marti Goodwin

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