Lely Hibiscus 745 CD Vario rake review

By: Brent Lilley

Lely Hibiscus 745 CD Vario rake review Lely Hibiscus 745 CD Vario rake review
Lely Hibiscus 745 CD Vario rake review Lely Hibiscus 745 CD Vario rake review
Lely Hibiscus 745 CD Vario rake review Lely Hibiscus 745 CD Vario rake review
Lely Hibiscus 745 CD Vario rake review Lely Hibiscus 745 CD Vario rake review
Lely Hibiscus 745 CD Vario rake review Lely Hibiscus 745 CD Vario rake review
Lely Hibiscus 745 CD Vario rake review Lely Hibiscus 745 CD Vario rake review
Lely Hibiscus 745 CD Vario rake review Lely Hibiscus 745 CD Vario rake review

Farm Trader reviews the new Lely Hibiscus 745 CD Vario rake.

The new Lely Hibiscus 745 CD Vario in question spends most of its time rowing up hay and silage in front of a Lely Welger 435 round baler, but is also used in front of a loader wagon, a conventional and a medium square baler so its hydraulically adjustable width saves on down time and can make a row to suit whatever machine is following.


The first thing that struck me was just how compact this machine is compared to earlier models of rakes. The length of the main beam has been kept as short as possible, which along with a transport width of only 2.5 metres makes the machine impressively manoeuvrable. The rotor arms are the second noticeable difference and have been completely redesigned as a single piece heavy-duty arm that telescopes out hydraulically for the widest raking width.

Up the front of the main beam a hefty inverted U-shaped headstock mounts to the lower link arms of the tractor with plenty of clearance for the PTO shaft, a seriously heavy-duty greasable pin joins the headstock to the main beam, a steering rod runs the length of the main beam to the rear wheels that insures the rake tracks in line with the tractor when turning corners. A single stand directly under the main beam makes un-hitching safe and straightforward.


I’m probably stating the obvious when I say the rotors are the most important part of any rake, and Lely uses the same robust modular rotor head on all its rakes that features an adjustable closed cam track that is greased with special purpose grease in the factory for life to lower the ongoing maintenance requirements.

A huge positive in my opinion is that the rotor head on each side mounts to the underside of the rotor arm with a cross shaped double pivot point which allows movement in all directions which gives 3D ground following. A carriage under each rotor uses four wheels, two at the rear spaced as wide as possible and two as close to the front as possible which help support the weight when working but also help the rotor to follow the contours of the ground to ensure clean raking in undulating conditions.



The 3.8-metre transport height is achieved largely due to the rotors telescoping in when the machine is folded, without the need to remove any tine arms and for that reason tine arms are constructed of a single piece of tube steel that joins to the cam lever and is bolted into the rotor arm housing. While this does away with pins and sloppy connections which have obvious benefits, it does make removing a tine arm a little tougher if one gets bent for example.

Each rotor has 11 of these tine arms that extend from the rotor head out and as with all Lely rakes this model features ro-tine which has a curved shape to it. This when combined with a mounting position on the tine arm means the tip of the tine slightly trails behind the rotor arm causing the tine to pick up material and move rather than dragging it across the ground, therefore reducing soil contamination.


Controls are kept simple and therefore simplify the job at hand, interestingly Lely have stayed with a tried and tested hydraulic setup as opposed to the electro hydraulic route. Cleverly a single main ram spear on each rotor arm uses a separate hydraulic cylinder on each end for all functions.

On one end the longer double acting cylinders are used to fold and unfold the rake for transportation as well as being used to hydraulically adjust the width of the machine when it is in the working position. The best part about this set up for operators is that the machine also locks and unlocks itself from the transport or working positions, so there are no ropes to pull and the back window of the tractor can stay closed.

At the other end of the ram spear, the shorter cylinders are controlled from a separate spool valve that is used to lift the rotors for headland turns and the design insures the rotors are lifted clear of previous rows.

Working adjustments

There are a couple of working adjustments that can be easily made on the Lely. Firstly, like pretty much all other rakes, the height of the tines from the ground can be adjusted via a crank handle on each rotor allowing the carriage under the rotor to be raised or lowered altering the height. Something I can’t believe wasn’t thought of sooner is a clever scale under the rotor which makes adjusting them to the same height or returning to a previous setting very easy.

Due to the fact that I’ve spent a lot of time following behind rakes, the best modification in my opinion is the adjustable cam track which is located under the rotors. It has 13 positions that adjust the rotation of the cam track giving you control over the position of the tines when they lift from the ground to drop the material.


The verdict

Lely’s slogan ‘Innovators in agriculture’ really does ring true with the Hibiscus 745 CD Vario rake. Loads of great ideas have been crammed into the design, such as the cross shaped pivot for 3D contour following, the curved ro-tines delivering clean raking, the adjustable cam track and the hydraulic variable width all features that combine to form the perfect swath.

All these features combine to establish an innovative and high performing machine that will be very popular with operators.


  • Heavy-duty overall construction of the rake to give a longer lifespan.
  • Impressive 3D contour following in undulating conditions.
  • Hydraulically adjustable working width.
  • Machine locks and unlocks from the transport position without the need to pull a rope.
  • Adjustable cam track for evenly shaped swath in all conditions.
  • Sealed rotor housing and cam track means less maintenance.
  • Transport height of only 3.8 metres without having to remove tine arms.
  • Curved Lely ro-tines gently lift and shift the material with less drag and contamination.


  • Tine arms are a single piece of tube bolted in to the housing which is more time consuming to remove if an arm is damaged.
  • Tines are mounted around the tine arms which can be annoying if you need to replace the inside tine. However in the event of a tine breakage the tine is held captive on the tine arm and not lost to the crop.

Read the full article in the latest issue (#222) of Farm Trader magazine. Subscribe here.

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