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New Holland 56 rake


IH Forever

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My hay making is very small scale these days. Just some grass hay for a little roughage for the few calves I feed out to butcher. I use an old wheel rake that we used back when we had a lot of alfalfa and oat straw to bale. But it doesn’t do the best picking up the fine grass I sometimes get in waterways and old pastures. I’d like an IH 35 rake but most I see locally are more than I really want to spend. Noticed a NH 56 locally for a good price. I think these are a good rake, but never used 1. Any comments? What’s different between the 56 and 256?

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24 minutes ago, IH Forever said:

My hay making is very small scale these days. Just some grass hay for a little roughage for the few calves I feed out to butcher. I use an old wheel rake that we used back when we had a lot of alfalfa and oat straw to bale. But it doesn’t do the best picking up the fine grass I sometimes get in waterways and old pastures. I’d like an IH 35 rake but most I see locally are more than I really want to spend. Noticed a NH 56 locally for a good price. I think these are a good rake, but never used 1. Any comments? What’s different between the 56 and 256?

I bought a 56 a few years ago for $300? The dogs in the hub had failed and they made it a solid drive axle. Seems to work ok. I raked maybe 3 acres with it since I got it and it picked up ok. Mine is only a 4 bar, but has the ability to be a 5 bar, the holes are there. If I was dealing with much fine grass, I’d make sure to get a 5 bar rake 

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Run a 256 which is the 56 sucessor. Have no complaints about it.

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I even got the older model of the 56,the 55.I hook two 55s up to double rake hitch and rake.I bale 2 cuttings off 40 acres max any more and they work fine. They are NOT a high speed rake, They work best at a medium speed. Two fast and they wanna fly apart, and they do a better job just moving along. You  can always sell them ,people will always buy them. They also seem to be going up on value, not too many $200 around like there was years back.We had a 56 rake growing up and the only difference I seen is the wheels are offset on the 56.

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6 hours ago, Lazy WP said:

I bought a 56 a few years ago for $300? The dogs in the hub had failed and they made it a solid drive axle. Seems to work ok. I raked maybe 3 acres with it since I got it and it picked up ok. Mine is only a 4 bar, but has the ability to be a 5 bar, the holes are there. If I was dealing with much fine grass, I’d make sure to get a 5 bar rake 

Yes, this is a 5 bar. I have no desire to get a 4 bar rake. As you said that wouldn’t be great in my conditions.

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I've had a 56, a 256, and currently use a 258 on my little hay patches. They're very simple, very little goes wrong with them. I gave the wife's uncle $50 for this one, and put another hundred into it. The darn thing just works year after year, so long as it's kept greased and the bolts are checked periodically. You'll not find a rake that will do a cleaner job than one of them.

Mac

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I have a 56 and a 256.  Right now using the 56 as the the 256 has a gearbox problem I haven't checked into yet.  The 56 was bought new by my Dad in 1965 I believe for around $550.  He traded an old rake paid $100 cash and the dealer carried $250 on a note til the first of the year.  Still have original owners manual with the receipt still tucked in it.

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I ran a 256 for years. Like said the dogs do wear out but fairly easy to replace. I put new tires on at same time. Other than that grease and teeth. Only reason I got a 258 last year was because when my dad and brother used it on wet straw (out of a 30’ header) it got tweaked. That much wet material was too much for it. I still used it for a couple years after but I couldn’t get it adjusted the way I would like. I think they still got $1000 for it when they sold it and got a new one for straw. Mine only does hay now. 

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5 hours ago, stronger800 said:

We have had three 256’s for 25-40 years.  The dogs in the rear are about all that wears out. A Rough one will still bring $1000 here in NY.  A 56 is the  essentially the same thing. Buy it 

even upside down, you can see the offset axle of my oldest one. -F1AF5ACA-91E3-4BDC-9F4C-4AE753938695.thumb.jpeg.2735fb1d240ca610db59e8e96ecc7bec.jpeg I was bored one weekend  last winter 

If you get bored this winter let me know, I’ll send mine up. 😁

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Dad had a new holland rake when I was growing up. Dont recall much ever going wrong with it. Don't recall the model but 55 or 56 sounds right. Gotta say tho I don't know if anything works real good in thin grass.

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I bought a 256 in 1971. Paid $850 for it.  The dealer put the rake on open acct and let me pay over 30 days. Raked alot of hay. Traded it for a used Allen folding rake around 1980. Was one of the first in the area to have a folding hydraulic drive rake. Sold it in 1987? When i got out of farming. The New Holland was trouble free the time I had it.

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3 hours ago, stronger800 said:

I think our last one was $5600 new, and that was all of 20-25 years ago.  I think they were up  toward 10k when they were discontinued. I wish I had purchased a pair of 258’s before that happened.  

What,NH doesn't make them anymore?

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No, they stopped making those five years ago? Maybe longer. There is no worry of them ever discontinuing parts I would not think, but you can’t buy a new one.
We switched mostly  to Kuhn rotary rakes probably 15 years ago so I was not paying complete attention but I don’t plan on selling my 256’s anytime soon either

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  When side delivery rakes were still a big thing 40 plus years ago they would bring a thousand plus dollars.  Then they got down to 200-300 dollars 10 years ago but with inflation and the Amish wanting them they are around 700-800 dollars currently for a good field ready unit.  

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20 hours ago, Lazy WP said:

I bought a 56 a few years ago for $300? The dogs in the hub had failed and they made it a solid drive axle. Seems to work ok. I raked maybe 3 acres with it since I got it and it picked up ok. Mine is only a 4 bar, but has the ability to be a 5 bar, the holes are there. If I was dealing with much fine grass, I’d make sure to get a 5 bar rake 

I have heard that 4 bar NH56  rakes exist but have never seen one. Could somebody that owns one post a picture. 

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24 minutes ago, Wisconsin Ron said:

I have heard that 4 bar NH56  rakes exist but have never seen one. Could somebody that owns one post a picture. 

I lied. Mine is a 5 bar. Sorry. Must have been thinking of my father in law’s John Deere rake. 

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We had a dolly wheel 660 when I was a kid, as soon as we bought the first new 256, it was the first one to go. Also had three of the International’s, I cannot remember the model number of those, they were good  but Not nearly as popular or as valuable as a new Holland so I sold the International’s next

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12 minutes ago, Dirt_Floor_Poor said:

When I was younger, before we used wheel rakes, we ran a 660 John Deere and a 256 New Holland. I much preferred the 660 because it had a dolly wheel. When we quit using side delivery rakes we had the 660 and a 670 Deere. 

Dolly wheel must have been an option, not standard equipment.  I have seen many NH256 and IH35’s that have them.

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2 minutes ago, IH Forever said:

Dolly wheel must have been an option, not standard equipment.  I have seen many NH256 and IH35’s that have them.

I just thought it was easier to turn around with the dolly wheel. This was using an 8N as the primary rake tractor. How times have changed. I saw many farmer engineered dolly wheels around here on old New Hollands. It must have a been a dealer preference or regional thing. All the Deere rakes had it, but I rarely saw a NH with it back then. It was more common here on later NH rakes, but they were on the way out then. They both raked good and rarely gave problems. The 660 is still here, but I haven’t hooked on to it in 20 years. 

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