Hay Tools | Wheel vs Rotary Rakes

Hi. I'm Bryan Messick with Messick Farm Equipment. We're going to talk about today raking. We're going to hit a couple of things. We're going to talk about a wheel rake which is this is a carted style rake. We're going to look at some other type of wheel rakes and then we're going to talk about some rotary rakes. We're going to tell you what we feel is what's best for what operation, try to answer those questions that say, "What rakes for me? What's the best rake out there and why should I choose this rake?"


We have here a ProCart series rake. This is a carted mounted wheel rake. These come in a variety of sizes. New Holland offers them in three types. This is a 10-wheel rake. This is a 1022. Next to us is a 1225, which is a 12-wheel rake. We're talking a total number of wheels on the side. We're not counting the one in the middle. When we say this is a 10-wheel rake, we got five wheels running down each side for a total of 10 wheels making our raking width.


On the carted style rake, the advantage of this rake is covering large acreage with less dollar. This is going to be our cheapest rake we're going to talk about price-wise, most cost-effective rake to cover over 22 feet of working width. You can't beat it for raking hay into a windrow cost-effectively. People say, "Well, then let's rake everything like that." Well, you get into first cutting hay and you're doing small square bales, you can't have 22 feet of hay in one windrow. You won't get your bale through it. That's where smaller rakes come into play such as a rotary style rake.


Secondly, you'd say, "I have a lot of stones in my field." This might not be the rake for you either. These rakes run on the ground. If you notice, there's no PTO shafts. There's no hydraulic drives on these wheels or anything. The wheels are not ground driven. These wheels are driven by running on the ground. They have to be hit the ground to make them turn. Turning is what brings the hay into the center so they have to be driven on the ground. Anything this rake touches, it brings it into the center and deposits it on the windrow. We like to tell people if you've got nice, clean fields, this is also the rake for you.
The other thing we want to caution you when shopping for rakes like this, you'll notice this rake has a center wheel. We call this the center kicker wheel. The reason we feel this is adamantly important is the crop that runs down the center is not being moved if you don't have that. When I say it's not being moved, it's on the ground. We're going to pile all this other hay on top of it. Now that wet hay underneath there never got moved. We piled dry hay on top. It never gets a chance to dry.


With that center kicker wheel, that moves that hay off to the side. It gets re-raked and brought back over and incorporated with the other head. We feel it's a must. It is an option, but we feel it's a must for us. Also, with this carted rake, you are limited in how wide you can make your windrow. You want to make sure you size up the width that this is going to deliver to the baler that you're using.
This is another type of wheel rake. This is a New Holland 1833 DuraVee. The 18 part of that stands for the number of wheels in the wheel rake, the same as how the carted style was. There is 18 wheels in our raking width. That's nine per side. We're still going to have our center kicker wheels. Still going to be important like we talked about. The biggest difference in this rake is the rake does not fold up and over itself, it folds in. What that lets you do is adjust your working width. You can have working widths of anywhere from as little as 12, 13 feet out to 30-plus feet. A rake like this is 33 feet, you can rake out to. It lets you vary your width of your raking.


The other thing it lets you do is it lets you adjust the size of your windrow. On the back of this rake, we can hydraulically or manually, depending on the options, move your windrow in or out. It lets you control how big a windrow you're going to have. Each one of these rakes is independently held up with a spring to control your flotation on the ground. Our center kicker wheels are mounted and continue to move the crop in the middle out to the side and have it raked back.


You'll see these bars upfront, you say, "Well, how's the rake unfold?" These are transportation bars. If you're going to be trailering this rake down the road, we want to put these in. It locks the rake so it can go straight down the road because this is incredibly long when going down the road. We want to make sure it's stable. Again, you'll see there's no PTO shaft. There's no hydraulic motors. The wheels are driven off the ground so this rake is run on the ground, sweeping the ground clean, bringing everything into the center. Like we talked about, you're able to adjust the width of your windrow and you're able to adjust you're working width. That is a key difference in the DuraVee rake versus our carted style rake.


We have been talking about all different styles of rakes, wheel rakes, carted rakes. This is going to be a totally different animal. All those other rakes we talked about were driven by the ground. This is driven by a PTO shaft. We're going to start here. We're going to hook to our tractor on the drawbar, we're going to hook up your PTO. PTO is going to come back. It's going to power rotor. That rotor is going to turn around. It going to remind you of a helicopter rotor. That's where the huge difference is between a wheel rake and a rotary rake are. A rotary rake is picking the crop up and moving it over against the curtain. We are not dragging it across the field.


Krone, for instance, on this rake has an exclusive tine that has a cupped system. That tine is designed to pick up the hay, let it ride high on the tine, carry it across, and deposit it. We are not dragging it across the field. If you remember when we talked about wheel rakes, we've talked about the rakes again being powered by the ground and raking all the material including rocks, dirt, and everything else that's there because they're driven on the ground. This is driven off a PTO. We are picking the hay up, carrying it across, and depositing it against a curtain.


We're going to get a lot less ash content in our hay, meaning dirt, a lot less rocks and foreign material in a rake like this because we're just moving it across, we're lifting it, moving it and depositing it. What that also leaves is a much fluffier taller windrow at the side. Let's air get in underneath it and lets it dry faster. You look at that and you'd say, "Why wouldn't everybody on a rotary rake if we're saying it's no rocks, less ash content?" Well, you're limited in width. A rake like this particular size has a 13-foot working width. That's all I can cover. It's 13 feet. That rotary rake we looked at up there did 22 feet, almost double. You're limited in size.


Yes, they make double rakes and triple rakes in a rotary style. Now, you're looking at a cost difference. Rotary rakes are more money than a wheel-style rake. Do we feel they're better? Depending on your application. Some people depending on the conditions, they don't have stones, a wheel rake is just fine. If you've got stones and you're worried about ash content, a rotary-style rake. This rake ultimately will bring your material in a much gentler way into the windrow and it will continue to let it dry. With Krone's exclusive design teeth that lifts the crop and carry it, it will give you a nicer product at the end once baler.