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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Deere 820 moco, 9' sickle with rollers.

The alfalfa got pretty big before we got a dry enough forecast to cut it. I tried driving it like I stole it, which to me means running as fast as the reel would roll across the ground if I were empty. This feels like a lot of stress on everything.


I tried slowing it down which then seems to cause the reel to stop up as there is so much material between the cutter bar platform and the reel.


I was just about to try cutting a bit higher off the ground when I blew out a driveline ujoint whatchamacallit.


I've also considered that my moco can't handle this much material, that would be a bummer.


You guys have much more experience, I'm hoping some advise on how to expect the best in heavy alfalfa. Thanks.
 

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Don't know jack about your machine, but curious if all the drive components are in good working order and tight as well as a good sharp sickle.

Maybe your broken whatchamacallit is pointing you to an issue.
 

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I'd say keep it loaded up if it working. My theory is if you can keep a nice soft mat of hay going through the machine your not overloading it. Make sure your ujoint thingamajigs are phased and lubed properly and giver.
 

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Full bloom alfalfa cuts hard , you need a new sickle in good guards ,run it at pto speed ,ground speed depends on conditions
 

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Yes, make sure tractor RPMS are right up there at PTO speed. I'm curious as to why going slower makes material build up. . . that doesn't make much sense, I've cut about every style of hay imaginable over 40 years, and I've never seen going too slow causing other trouble than wasting time. Yes, things chatter less and get quieter when you load it down, and I've seen thick tall tangled alfalfa that cuts easier than fine grass, that's what give me trouble. Your reel teeth should dang near drag across the cutter bar. . .material build up suggests it might be too high, or too far forward. Though seemingly someone else has used this and it was working. Only sign usually of driving too fast in alfalfa is you leave really long stubble behind, in my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
On the far end of the sickle bar, the last guard has a top on it which is broken off (new one on the way). And by design that guard sticks out the far end of the header by about an inch.

That is causing a snag point which seems pretty small, but in thick alfalfa, it seems any snag is too much. I got to looking and a new version of this moco had a thing bolted on that end of the header to guide material out an inch or two so it doesn't snag up. I think I found that part on the diagram and for another $25 have one of those on the way.


The deck isn't exactly smooth yet, the machine had to winter outside this year (in the building from here out since the building is now ready).


All of that, plus some build up of snagged material on that far end got enough material in the far foot of the header to stop the reel (which is probably fine that would normally be a belt slippage).


The CV style UJoint must have not had much left in it to bust when all of the spinning parts can stop with belt slippage.


The reason I was concerned about going slow was the rollers trying to crimp the alfalfa before the cutter bar cut it off. In my mind I wouldn't want that condition. If I rip right along then maybe I'm easing that issue?


My tractor is a gas 2030, I think about 65hp at the pto which is an issue here I think. I'm a bit short of pto speed at max rpm as the controls are set right now. Maybe I need to fiddle with the throttle linkage so I can get it all the way up where it should be.


Thanks for the feedback guys, helps to hear what you've learned already.
 

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65 HP should be fine for a 9' sickle style mower. I run a 5303 JD on a 9' Hesston, before that only a 1520. Rotary a whole 'nother ball game.

That far end of the cutterbar snag is an ongoing trouble it seems. Yes, make sure all your guards are all there. There is also a "section and a half" knife section for the end usually. It looks like 2 small knives in one piece, it reaches out the end just a tick farther helping the end to clean cut. Is that there?

I see what you're saying about the rolls sucking in the alfalfa. Is the reel speed adjustable on the mower? Like most things with a reel, the reel speed / ground speed ratio should be close to each other, like it should look like the reel is rolling over the ground, or juuuuuuust a little faster. Like I said, in my experience, alfalfa usually cut good until you go so fast you're leaving long stripped stubble (if it mats down in a wind that'll happen too).

Hey, good news though, I'm glad your crop turned out good!
 
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