Not ones to miss an opportunity, during our recent Massey Ferguson mower review we also managed to get our hands on one of the firm’s twin rotor rakes. James Rickard tried it out.
As explained in our MF mower review (FG December 11, 2020), Massey Ferguson gained a large line up of mowers, tedders and rakes when parent company Agco, bought Fella.
Keen to find out what some of these additions bring to the MF stable, we used 2020’s second cut silage season to try out one of its twin rotor rakes. Our test model was the RK 802 TRC with a variable working width from seven to eight metres and a swath width from 1.2 to 2.0m. For those that were familiar with Fella, it would have been the equivalent of the TS 8055 Pro.
Comprising two 3.4m diameter rotors with 12 tine arms per rotor, our test model featured a steered axle, mechanically adjustable working width, height and cam track position, and required two, single-acting spools to lift the rotors (one spool each).
Standard control comes from one spool which will raise both of the rotors together. As we found though, having individual rotor control makes it that bit more flexible, especially if working into a lot of corners or in awkward shaped fields.
Like most twin rotor rakes, the RK 802 TRC features a single spine chassis, which has to be level for setup and working.
Keeping things tidy, the steering rod runs through the centre of the chassis, from the headstock to the rear wheels.
This goes a long way towards preventing build-ups of grass on the chassis. Also helping with this are the positioning of the rotor lift rams and locking mechanisms, which are placed under the chassis, not on top as many are.
From ground to the bottom of the chassis, the machine features a generous amount of clearance, which helped a lot with our heavy crop of second cut silage.
Driveline protection consists of ‘rattle’ clutches on each rotor. Also, rotor head cam-tracks are grease-able, but it does mean the rake has a lot of grease points. However, there is the option of the RK 802 TRC Pro, which features sealed rolling bearings in each tine arm and no grease points.
To adjust working width, it is a simple case of manually repositioning the parallel linkage bars which push out/pull in the rotor heads. To alter this position, the rotors have to be vertical for transport.
Working height can also simply be adjusted via a screw handle on each rotor, with the working height shown on the bogie’s chassis.
Further working height adjustment can be made on the rotor wheel bogies, which allows the rotors to be tilted left or right.
Underneath the rotor, a rod, held in place via an R-clip, alters the position of the cam track and therefore the timings of when the tines come into contact and leave the ground. Several positions allow plenty of scope for adjustment.
As you can probably tell, it is a rake which can easily be set-up, without the complication of electrics and hydraulics. It also means it is easy to get the most out of the rake and keep up a decent quality of work.
A generous amount of travel from the rotor, which can tilt fore and aft and side to side, helps with contour following. Underneath the rotor, its triangular bogie features a wheel either side and a dual-wheeled castor wheel at the front. Dual wheels either side of the bogie can also be specified, should you need them.
The bogie did a good job of following contours, helped by the positioning of the front castor, which is close to the rotor tines.
To avoid crop contamination, when the rotors are lowered it is the rear wheels of the bogie which touchdown first, much like a plane coming into land. This provides a smooth landing and avoids ‘clipping’ the tops of the swaths.
Tines are also bolted to the exterior of the tine arms, rather than wrap around them. This, says the manufacturer makes tine replacement easier should one break. The tines also have a greater range of movement compared to tines wrapped around a tine arm.
Should a telegraph pole jump out in front of you, the tine arms feature a failsafe whereby they will bend at a certain point on the arm. Should this happen, the manufacturer says they can easily be straightened.
When folding, rotors are pulling in by a parallel linkage, which helps reduce transport height. To lower transport height further, tines can be removed, with convenient tine storage at the rear of the machine. All tines are held in place on the rotor by lynch pins.