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Mower conditioners

Keri Davies Keri Davies | 11:54 AM, Wednesday, 27 October 2010

a mower conditioner

So Tony wants to buy a replacement mower conditioner, although Tom thinks they can manage with the old one. This piece of farm equipment is rarely mentioned in The Archers - indeed this may well be the first time - so here's a brief explanation of what it does.

A mower conditioner (commonly called a "MoCo") is tractor-towed machine primarily used in haymaking. This method of making winter fodder from grass is very vulnerable to bad weather. The cut grass has to be left on the ground to dry in the sun before it is made up in to bales. If it is damper than about 20 per cent moisture content, the hay can be of poor quality, subject to mould and infection. It can even spontaneously combust, because of the heat produced as the damp hay respires.

In a temperate climate like Britain, rain at haymaking time (usually late Spring) is common, so anything that speeds up the drying process is a boon to the farmer. A mower conditioner takes the grass as it is cut, and crimps and crushes it so that it dries more quickly when left on the ground.

There are two main methods. Roller conditioners pass the grass between opposing steel or rubber rollers with a pattern of zig-zag grooves, which crimps the grass. Flail conditioners beat the grass against the top of the machine, removing the grass's waxy coating.

Video of a mower conditioner in action

Detailed article from Farmer's Weekly

Image: FWI


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