With first cut just around the corner, last year’s silage season provided a chance to try out Fella’s latest rake, the TS 8055 Pro. Designed specifically for heavy-duty conditions, James Rickard puts it to work in fist cut grass.
Specifically designed for heavy duty conditions, with heavy wet grass and straw swathing in mind, the latest Fella TS 8055 Pro is an additional model to the firm’s twin rotor rake family and compliments the lighter-duty TS 800.
Comprising two 3.4m diameter rotors with 12 tine arms per rotor, the rake also gets more robust rotor heads, the TS 5, as found on the firm’s larger models designed for strength and durability. The rotor heads also feature maintenance free tine arm support.
To check out the rakes heavy duty credentials, we put it to work in some heavy first cut conditions.
Our version featured a steered axle, mechanically adjustable working width, height and cam track position, and required a single spool to lift both rotors.
Options include a flow diverter for synchronized lifting of rotors, although we found the rotors to lift pretty evenly without, or you can opt for an electro hydraulic system for individual lifting of rotors, particularly useful for when working into awkward shaped headlands. As we found though, just having the simplicity of pulling one spool lever for rotor lift makes operation very simple.
To adjust working width it is just a case of manually re-positioning the parallel linkage bars which affect the working width as the rotors are lowered. To alter this position the rotors have to be in their vertical transport position.
Rear axle steering is via a centre rod system connected to the headstock. For protection, the centre rod is housed inside the chassis, giving a neat appearance and less area for crop to gather on.
A generous amount of travel of the rotor, which can tilt fore and aft, and side to side helps with contour following. Underneath the rotor, a six wheel bogie (three pairs of wheels) also helps, with the two leading wheels positioned as close as possible to the tines of the rotor.
However, the engineers cannot account for every situation, and in a couple of extreme instances where the ground severely undulated, we did manage to test the drive protection systems. Protection consists of ‘rattle’ clutches on each rotor, which we can safely say work.
To avoid crop contamination, when the rotors are lowered it is the rear wheels of the bogie which touchdown first.
Tines are also bolted to the exterior of the tine arm, rather than wrap around it. This, says the manufacturer makes tine replacement easier should one break, and the tines have a greater freedom of movement compared to tines wrapped around a tine arm.
Working height can simply be adjusted via a screw handle on each rotor, with the working height shown on the bogie’s chassis via a decal.
Similarly, underneath the rotor a rod held in place via a R-clip alters the position of the cam track and therefore the timings of when the tine come into contact and leave the ground. Several positions allow plenty of scope for adjustment.
To lower transport height there is storage for tines at the rear, with tines are held in place on the rotor by lynch pins.
On the road, the rake tracks well and feels stable thanks to a wide track width of its axle. Maximum transport speed is 50kph.
To put into working position, a locking mechanism can be unlocked by pulling on a rope. Once lowered, the rotors are then limited to a certain lift height. To put into transport, the rope needs pulling again to unlock this limit.
Overall we were suitably impressed by the TS 8055 Pro rake. Super simple operation is a big plus and it easily coped with our first cut conditions.
Set-up and adjustment is easy, which is a big plus, which makes for a decent quality of work.
Power requirement seems low too, with our towing tractor operating in economy mode.