Machinery Chatter

Baler Bird's Nest

Wire wrapped around the twister shaft (left), normal wire twist (center) and twine knot (right). (DTN/The Progressive Farmer photo by Steve Thompson)

Q: We use New Holland 575 balers on our farm. We use wire if we are baling anything with seed in it (like oats or sudan) because the rats enjoy cutting the twine. On the other hand, some customers like twine, and others like wire. So we use plastic twine and wire. However, both balers sometimes have a similar problem, and it is an awful problem. The wire baler will occasionally leave more wire around the twister shaft and hook than you can imagine, and the twine baler can sometimes leave more twine in and around the billhook and twine disc area (many farmers call the billhook a "birdbill") than you can believe. My hands stay sore for two days after cutting out all of that wire and twine. Can you tell me what causes this problem?

A: I know what you mean by excessive wire and twine around the twister shaft and knotter system. It can be a pretty common problem with balers. I have enclosed an actual picture of your problem on a wire baler so other DTN/The Progressive Farmer readers can feel your pain -- and may have experienced your pain. (See photo accompanying this column: normal wire twist [center] and twine knot [right]; the twister shaft and hook [left] when bailer ties every stroke.)

It takes one plunger stroke (92 strokes per minute on the 575) for the baler to go through its tying cycle, which means the baler will tie 92 times per minute, or until the baler shears the tying system shear pin or is shut down. The pawl must be caught by the adjustable stop at the end of each tying stroke, leaving the tying system in home position.

Another cause of your problem could be with the trip arm. If the trip arm gets out of the metering wheel pulley, the metering wheel saddles can be adjusted by loosening the nuts on top of the bale case and sliding the saddles back. This adjustment relocates the pawl stop (adjustable), as needed, to catch the pawl at the end of the tying stroke but releases the pawl when the trip arm trips, which allows the baler to go through its tying cycle. Your owner's manual will give you specific measurements for these fine adjustments. Note: You can remove the wire from the shaft easier by raising the tying system and removing the hook, allowing the ball of wire to slip off the bottom of the twister shaft.

Each knotter can be raised separately on the twine baler by removing the pin that holds the knotter down and raising the knotter in order to get to the billhook area. Be careful when you raise the knotter. Keep your fingers on top of the knotter assembly when you swing it up because the twine knife will travel just above the top of the billhook when you raise the knotter. This is a safety hazard, as the twine knife can easily cut your fingers to the bone.


Q: I have a 1972 John Deere 4020 on which I installed a Great Bend loader. The shop that installed it tapped into the hydraulics under the cowling and into the hydraulic filter. When using the loader and depressing the clutch for a long period of time, I lose hydraulics. I realize depressing the clutch shuts off the rear pump, which feeds the front pump. But in talking to a neighbor, his earlier-model 4020 does not lose hydraulics with the front blade. They added an extra SCV (selective control valve) and work the blade through the SCVs. Is there a way to rectify the loss of hydraulics on my loader and continue using the joystick?

A: You will not gain any more continued flow from the SCVs than you are getting through the joystick. The main pump can only pump what the transmission pump supplies. I am thinking the cylinders on your neighbor's front blade are smaller than the cylinders on your Great Bend loader -- and the larger cylinders are using more oil flow. Small internal leaks in the system also may up the supply of oil and can go unnoticed under normal tractor operations.


Always be careful when hooking or unhooking to or from the tractor. Keep your feet from under the tongue of the implement. Never trust a jack. Most jacks are not strong enough to withstand side-to-side or fore-and-aft movement of an implement, especially if the machine is on uneven ground. When pulling up on the hitch pin, you are not in a position to move quickly. If your foot is under the tongue, it is in danger of getting crushed. Wear "smart-toed shoes" when hooking or unhooking equipment.


Write Steve Thompson at Ask The Mechanic, 2204 Lakeshore Dr., Suite 415, Birmingham, AL 35209, or email