“Kuhn has a good reputation in the hay business,” says Prybil, who also does some custom work on the side.
After owning four roller-type mower conditioners of another brand, he made the switch to one of Kuhn’s new TCD center-pivot mower conditioners. He appreciates the wide rotor finger-style conditioning and versatility of being able to narrow up windrows or lay wider swaths depending on field conditions.
Prybil says that earlier in the year when weather conditions were wetter, he narrowed up the windrows so the ground in between could dry up and then he tedded. However, at other times in the season, he’s laid a much wider swath for quick drying and greater harvest efficiency.
The FC 4060 TCD, which has a working width of 13 feet, offers the flexibility of adjusting the swath width between three feet, seven inches and 11 feet, nine inches.
Prybil, 53, along with his wife, Kerry, and their two children farm near Riverside in Washington County, Iowa. His brother, Tom, lends a hand in the operation and the brothers rent some land 50/50. Owned and rented, Prybil operates roughly 950 acres – 450 of corn, 450 in soybeans and the balance in hay. He also custom plants and harvests an additional 350 acres of corn and soybeans, and custom bales around 1,500 round bales, occasionally being asked to mow some of that hay.
Prybil typically gets three crops of hay on his own operation, sometimes four. Mostly he makes round bales, but also hires some to be made into large squares. While he used to have pure alfalfa, his direct seeding is now 22 pounds of alfalfa mixed with six pounds of bromegrass and four pounds of orchardgrass.
This lifelong farmer and former dairy producer likes the way his new machine cuts on the ground – no matter if it’s first-crop with “massive amounts of hay” or second cutting with less volume, he says there’s “no difference in the cutting quality. It shears it right to the ground and can be adjusted for the crop.”
He says it’s also really easy to change the speed of the conditioning fingers.
“For first cutting, you can make them really fly, so the hay gets away from the knives quickly,” he mentions.
And while he used to have to adjust conditioner rolls, Prybil says “the hood is easy to push down to make the crop closer or farther from the conditioning fingers, which impacts the amount of conditioning.”
He really likes Kuhn’s Gyrodine swivel hitch that makes for tight turning and clean square corners, all while keeping the PTO driveline straight to minimize vibration and wear.
“As far as capacity and the way it mows and conditions the hay, the tractor isn’t laboring. The tractor can move faster and it does a fantastic job of mowing. If you want to change a setting, it is far better than my prior machine,” he says.
Prybil admits he initially had some reservation about a portion of the hitch system having to go on the drawbar of the tractor itself, as he uses the same tractor to rake. But the specialized hitch comes off the tractor “in less than 60 seconds,” he says. “It’s not a problem at all.” He mentions he needs “spacers” to make the drawbar right when moving from one tractor to another, but that “might take 3 to 5 minutes” only. He suggests a farmer might “want to mark the spacers, for future reference,” though.
Another feature Prybil says he really likes is the fact that he no longer has to change oil in the cutting bar every year. Such cutterbar oil changes are a thing of the past thanks to Kuhn’s lubed-for-life Optidisc cutterbar.
“They tell me ‘don’t worry about oil in the cutterbar,’” he says with amazement.
Further, the Fast-Fit system makes blade changes super simple. Instead of wrestling with a bolt to change knives, there’s a “special tool” that makes the job extra quick, he mentions. “I haven’t changed the blade yet, but with the discs it looks like a piece of cake.”
“The easy maintenance is unreal,” says this farmer, who’s had his neighbors come over to check out his FC 4060 TCD mower conditioner. He says they’re also “amazed by the way it works.”
His new mower conditioner is also heavy duty. “There’s a lot of iron in that machine,” says Prybil, who is impressed by “the way it’s built. I believe it won’t show fatigue.”
Prybil purchased his new mower conditioner from Helmuth Repair in Kalona, Iowa.
Prybil also acquired a new Kuhn wheel rake this year, the SR 612 GII SpeedRake. Not only is it much “heavier duty” than his old one, it can turn much sharper. He also likes the standard “wind shields” that keep the hay in place during windier conditions and prevents it from “wrapping around the wheels,” he says. He can independently adjust windrow width and raking width to match crop conditions and pickup of the hay.
A believer in Kuhn equipment, Prybil also has a new GF 5202 THA tedder. He says he relies on a tedder about 50 percent of the time during the haymaking season and definitely during first cutting. With four rotors and seven arms per rotor, this tedder is high-capacity.
Further, Prybil says there’s no more “digging into the ground,” courtesy of the Digidrive articulated frame that better follows the contours of the ground.
“They used their brain when they made it!” says an appreciative Prybil of Kuhn ingenuity.