Published by AMTEC on 08th Apr 2024

Common Power Harrow Problems: Troubleshooting Tips

In this blog we will be taking a look into the common problems encountered with power harrows and providing practical troubleshooting tips to help farmers in avoiding and/or overcoming these

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Power harrows are well known in the farming industry as an indispensable tool, crucial for soil preparation and optimal crop growth. However, like any farm machinery, power harrows are prone to a range of issues that can affect their performance and efficiency.

Tines: The Backbone of the Power Harrow

Bearing Housing Wears

The wear and tear of bearing housing is a common issue faced by power harrow owners. Over time, constant friction and strain can lead to the bearing housing becoming worn, and therefore affecting the overall functionality of the equipment. Replacing the bearing housing is essential to restore optimal performance. With an approximate cost of £200 each for replacement, farmers must budget accordingly and prioritise regular maintenance to prolong the lifespan of bearing housing.

Cracked Bearings

Cracked bearings pose a significant threat to the operation of power harrows. These essential components are subjected to immense stress during routine operations, making them vulnerable to cracks and fractures. Addressing cracked bearings requires a detailed approach, often leading to the disassembly of the harrow's top section to access and replace the damaged bearings. This intricate process involves a series of steps, including the removal of bolts and housing components, solidifying the importance of precision and expertise in the maintenance of your farm machinery.

Worn Bearing Seals

Worn bearing seals are a common occurrence in power harrows and can result in oil leaks and reduced functionality. While replacing bearing seals is relatively straightforward, it is essential to address any underlying issues that may contribute to seal wear, such as damaged bearings. Farmers must take caution during seal replacement, as it may uncover additional problems, such as broken bearings, which will cause the machine to need further repairs and maintenance.

Wearing Metal on Tines

The wearing down of metal on tines is a persistent issue that impacts the efficiency and effectiveness of power harrows. Replacing worn tines is crucial to maintain optimal performance, but it can become a costly repair, especially when considering renowned brands such as Lemken and their high quality spare parts. However, there are a few options to explore, including hard-cased metal versions which are typically the more expensive option and wield-on tips which are cheaper with a better reputation for lasting longer, to extend the lifespan of tines and reduce costs. With an average replacement cost ranging from £18 to £65+ per tine, farmers must carefully weigh their options and prioritise preventive maintenance strategies to maximise farming equipment longevity.

Packer: Ensuring Proper Seedbed Preparation

Bearing Issues

Packer bearings play a critical role in seedbed preparation, but their location can present challenges in terms of accessibility and maintenance. Farmers must be thorough when inspecting and maintaining packer bearings to ensure optimal performance and prevent issues such as uneven soil compaction. Addressing bearing issues requires careful attention to detail and sticking to maintenance best practices to reduce the risk of costly repairs.

Worn Packer Metal

The wear and tear of packer metal can significantly impact the performance of power harrows, leading to subpar seedbed preparation and reduced crop yields. Replacement of worn packer metal is essential to restore optimal functionality and promote consistent crop growth. This important task is relatively easy to complete on farm. Farmers must prioritise regular inspection and maintenance of packer components to prevent issues and ensure the long-term usability of their equipment.

Bent Scrapers

Scrapers can be bent out of shape and catch the packer, posing a threat to the effectiveness of power harrows. This makes the machine less efficient at clearing debris such as mud and stones, causing a build-up that will then grind the packer metal quicker and compromise seedbed preparation. Regular maintenance and inspection of scrapers is essential to identify and address issues properly when they arise. Straightening bent scrapers is a straightforward task but requires attention to detail to ensure proper alignment and functionality.

Side Skirts: Protecting the Power Harrow

Side Skirt Blades

Side skirt blades are key components of power harrows, designed to protect the side skirt from wear during regular use. These blades serve as a barrier, preventing soil and debris from causing damage to vital components. However, despite their important role, side skirt blades are often overlooked in maintenance routines and are not adjusted accordingly as the tines wear down.

Regular inspection and adjustment of side skirt blades is essential to ensure optimal protection and prolong the lifespan of your power harrow. As tines wear down over time, adjustments to side skirt blades become necessary to maintain proper clearance and coverage when passing through the fields.

Farmers must include side skirt blade inspection in their routine maintenance schedules. By regularly assessing the condition of side skirt blades and making necessary adjustments, farmers can reduce the risk of premature wear. Additionally, investing in high-quality, durable side skirt blades can provide added protection and longevity, ultimately saving farmers time and money on repairs and replacements.

General Issues with Power Harrows

Kuhn Models

Kuhn power harrows are renowned for their durability and performance, but they present unique challenges in terms of maintenance and accessibility. One common issue faced by owners of Kuhn models is the enclosed oil bed, which can slow down routine maintenance tasks such as oil level assessment. Unlike traditional designs that feature accessible oil reservoirs, Kuhn models require lengthy procedures for oil level inspection.

In response to this, many farmers resort to drilling access points into the oil bed to facilitate easier oil level assessment. While this workaround may provide a solution, it can also compromise the integrity of the equipment and void any warranty coverage you might have on the machine. Farmers must be cautious when modifying Kuhn power harrows and read manufacturer guidelines to ensure compliance with warranty terms and conditions. Additionally, regular maintenance and inspection is crucial for identifying and addressing potential issues with a Kuhn power harrow before it escalates into a potential costly repair.

Hydraulic Folding Models

Hydraulic folding power harrows offer convenience and efficiency, allowing for easy transport and storage. However, they are prone to issues related to hydraulic systems, particularly the rusting of transport hooks. Due to their exposed nature, transport hooks are prone to corrosion, being in an open position for most of its life, with more exposure to natural elements.

Farmers should prioritise proper storage practices and implement prevention measures for corrosion to minimise the risk of damage. Additionally, regular lubrication of the hydraulic components can help maintain optimal functionality and prolong the lifespan of your equipment.

Larger Power Harrows

Typically spanning widths of six meters or more, larger power harrows are workhorses of the agricultural industry, covering a bigger part of your land with ease. However, their robust design and extensive usage make them prone to wear and tear over time, often getting ‘used and abused’ due to the sheer amount of land they must cover.

Farmers operating larger power harrows must carry out regular maintenance and inspection to identify and address issues before they escalate. Regular checks of critical components such as bearings, tines, and packers are essential for detecting signs of wear and ensuring optimal performance.

Additionally, proper adjustment of pulling speed is crucial for minimising stress on the equipment and boosting their operational efficiency. Operating larger power harrows at excessive speeds can lead to increased wear and a reduced quality of soil preparation, ultimately impacting crop yields.

Pulling Speed

The pulling speed of a power harrow is a critical factor that significantly influences its performance and longevity. Operating a power harrow at the appropriate speed ensures optimal soil engagement, uniform seedbed preparation, and minimal stress on the machinery and it’s parts.

However, working out the ideal pulling speed can be challenging, especially with larger horse-powered tractors. Excessive speed can subject the power harrow to unnecessary strain, leading to increased wear and reduced efficiency. In comparison, operating at too slow a speed can result in inadequate soil engagement and compromised seedbed preparation.

Conducting field tests and adjusting pulling speed based on soil conditions, equipment load, and tractor horsepower can help optimise performance and increase operational efficiency.

Regular monitoring of pulling speed during field operations is essential for identifying any changes, enabling you to make timely adjustments as needed. By maintaining an appropriate pulling speed, farmers can achieve optimal results in soil preparation and crop establishment.

Maintenance Neglect

Neglecting regular maintenance and greasing of power harrows can have negative effects on their performance and longevity. Over time, built up dirt, debris, and lack of lubrication can lead to increased friction, wear, and potential component parts failure.

To prevent maintenance-related issues, farmers must carry out regular inspection and servicing of their power harrows. This includes greasing moving parts, checking and replacing worn components, and conducting thorough cleaning after each use.

By investing time and resources into proper maintenance practices as detailed above, farmers can minimise downtime, repair costs, and equipment failures, ultimately maximising productivity and profitability on the farm.

Endurance Without Maintenance

Running power harrows without regular maintenance is a risky move that can result in long term issues, equipment failure and costly repairs. While power harrows are designed to withstand rigorous field conditions, neglecting maintenance can significantly shorten their lifespan and compromise their performance.

Optimal Power Harrow Performance

In conclusion, adopting a proactive stance towards troubleshooting common power harrow problems is the ideal strategy for farmers committed to sustaining optimal performance and farm productivity. By addressing issues such as worn tines, packer malfunctions, and general maintenance neglect, farmers can ensure that their power harrows function at peak efficiency throughout the entirety of the farming season.

This approach not only reduces the likelihood of unexpected breakdowns and costly repairs it also help establish a culture of continuous improvement and operational excellence within the farming community. By investing time, resources, and attention into addressing these challenges head on, farmers can help make their operations run smoothly.

Ultimately, proactive troubleshooting will aid in the optimal performance of your power harrows. By recognising early warning signs, tackling root causes, and embracing a culture of proactive maintenance, farmers can unlock the full potential of their power harrows, driving efficiency, productivity, and profitability across their operations.

Where can I buy new or used power harrows in the UK?

As one of the nation’s leading suppliers of used farm machinery and equipment, we offer a wide range of used power harrows, including a variety of models from popular brands, such as Kuhn, Lemken, Maschio, and more. With more than 25 years’ experience, we have the knowledge to help you get the best deal. Our 9-Acre site has hundreds of machines in stock. We’re conveniently located in central England.

Our customer-centric approach is at the core of everything we do, ensuring all the farmers that choose us as their equipment partner save time and money while making the best decisions for their needs. Contact us today by calling 01926 640637, sending an email to [email protected], or by using the contact us form on our website. Discover the ways we can help - you won’t regret it!

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