Using a swath roller takes skill

Swathing widths have increased in recent years to 30 feet and beyond. A heavy crop cut at thirty feet or more needs only gentle downward pressure on the middle of the swath to be anchored properly. Air movement within the swath is important during curing and dry down.

The swath roller should lightly tuck edges. Being too aggressive with the swath roller may cause shattering of the more mature plants. The roller should gently roll over the windrow without much pressure while tucking the swath edges into the stubble. Using too much pressure, might press the swaths right into the ground making them more difficult to pick up with the combine (especially thin swaths). Also, a swath roller used too aggressively may cause the plants to flip up and back onto themselves which can make smooth feeding into the combine difficult, contributing to harvest losses. The swath roller should be adjusted with the goal of smoothing the swath to reduce the opportunity for wind to catch it and anchoring the swath into the available stubble, as opposed to packing it into the ground.

Evaluate field conditions and adjust the roller accordingly. The pressure (or height) and angle of the swath roller may need adjusting from field-to-field depending on differences in crop maturity and other crop characteristics such as height, canopy density, stubble density, disease levels, etc.