Roll conditioning crimps the stems and gently scuffs away the protective wax from the plant’s cuticle layer. Roll conditioning is considered the most versatile system of providing gentle conditioning of delicate legume crops and aggressive conditioning of tall cane-grass crops.

Flail tine conditioning strips away the protective wax from the plant’s cuticle layer by passing the crop over a spinning rotor equipped with flails which carry the crop, scuffing it against an adjustable hood.

Flail systems are most frequently used in grass hays because they easily strip the waxy layer off robust grass stems.

Why does this feature matter?
Conditioning is a mechanical function to improve drying rate, making it possible to harvest sooner than a non-conditioned crop. Once moisture levels have dropped and plant respiration ceases around 70 percent moisture, the closing of the stomata traps the remaining moisture, further drying slows significantly.

Conditioning provides openings to the plant’s structure to provide an exit path for moisture, allowing drying to continue at a faster rate. Conditioning typically lowers moisture levels from 70 percent to around 20 percent.

The most prevalent conditioning systems are roll and flail (tine) type. Because rollers and tines condition in different ways, it is important for operators to determine which conditioner better meets their needs.

How much weight should this feature carry in my buying decision?
The decision of which type of conditioner an operator needs will be dependent on what types of crops they will be mowing.


Operators should carefully consider how aggressively they want to condition their crop, and how much flexibility they want in terms of adjustment for the conditioning.

An operator should also make sure the mower conditioner they choose has the proper width and features to be compatible with other equipment on their farm.

For maximum hay quality, it’s critical to cut and harvest at the proper stage and dry the crop rapidly, while minimizing crop respiration losses, which lowers the overall digestibility of the hay.

The sooner the crop can be harvested and the quicker it dries, the better the forage quality. Rapid dry-down reduces dry matter loss and lessens the loss of total digestible nutrients (TDN).

Many factors influence crop dry-down speed. Very important are swath width and conditioning methods. Considerable attention should be paid during buying decisions as to the type of conditioning needed and the benefits provided by conditioner designs.

What is your company’s specification for this feature?
Vermeer: The MC2800, MC3300 and MC3700 mower conditioner models are offered with either a roller or tine conditioner option. The roller conditioner consists of durable, steel-contoured rollers with an aggressive profile.

The roller has the ability to break down tougher crops but can also be adjusted for gentler conditioning of leafy crops as needed.

The tine conditioner features free-swinging, steel v-tines with two speed settings and positioned alongside an adjustable concave plate to set the conditioning level. This is a simple conditioning mechanism that scrapes the surface of the material being cut.

Krone: Krone offers three conditioner types: steel v-tine, intermeshing steel rollers and intermeshing rubber rollers. The majority of the conditioners offer full-width conditioning with the option to lay the crop flat across the machine’s working width or in a windrow.

The conditioner is driven by a gearbox to eliminate any power loss that may occur with belt systems.

A two-speed gearbox that is easily adjustable runs the v-tine conditioner. Selecting the 600 rpm setting will offer a gentler conditioning, while the 900 rpm will offer more aggressive conditioning.

In addition, the diamond-plated baffle plate can be moved closer or further away from the conditioner to vary the conditioning intensity. The ability to select the conditioning intensity makes the Krone v-tine conditioners very versatile for many crop types. The v-tines are made from steel for durability and long life span.

The roller conditioner is powered by two synchronized gearboxes. One gearbox powers the bottom roller while the gearbox on the opposite end powers the upper roller.

The rubber rollers are shaped in a chevron pattern with a polyurethane coating for resistance to wear. The distance between the top and bottom rollers determines the conditioning intensity. This gap can be adjusted by a bolt at the end of the conditioner.

New Holland: New Holland’s chevron-intermeshing rolls are well established for alfalfa. These rolls are gentle on crops, retaining leaves while providing adequate conditioning.

Aggressive roll patterns and adjustable roll gap contribute to consistent conditioning. Hew Holland also has a chevron pattern steel-on-steel roll design. The steel design is best suited for cane-type and grass hays.

It is more aggressive than rubber rolls, which does not make it practical for delicate legumes like alfalfa. In flail systems, New Holland’s LeaningEdge provides more uniform conditioning of grasses, increased conditioner capacity, higher reliability and lower maintenance costs.

Flail pivot points are offset from center, causing flails to lean back 20 degrees, producing more outward crop pressure against the conditioning hood, providing thorough conditioning by increased scuffing of plant stem wax.  FG