Windrow Merger Speeds Bailing
"By laying the windrows side by side and chopping or baling both at once, you reduce trips through the field, get less soil compaction and save both time and fuel," says Karl Sachse, district sales manager for Gehl Company, West Bend, Wis., manufacturer of the innovative new "Windrow Merger".
Mounting on the front of 100 hp or larger tractors, the machine picks up the windrow directly in front of the tractor and lays it next to the adjacent windrow so you can bale or chop both at once. The heavier hay flow going through the chopper helps produce a more uniform cut.
"It lets you make use of big horsepower tractors and choppers. Instead of driving faster to pick up single windrows in lighter hay -- such as second or third cuttings -- you can go slower but pick up two at once. And, unlike a front mounted rake, you don't get the leaf loss, or knotting and wrapping of the windrow," Sachse points out. The machine's also designed to work better on rock-infested ground, as it can be set low enough to pick up the windrow, yet high enough to avoid most rocks.
Although the machine's designed primarily for use with choppers, it can also be used to gather windrows for balers and as a windrow fluffer to speed windrow drying by moving the crop onto dry ground.
The 1,300-lb. unit mounts on a framework bolted to the tractor. Once initial installation is done, the machine can be taken off the frame by removing four pins, two hydraulic hoses and one spring. Sachse notes that while the machine requires a larger size tractor it probably uses a maximum of 10 hp.
The 10 1/2-ft. wide rig runs entirely off tractor hydraulics. The head, hydraulically adjustable up and down, rides on a large skid and has spring flotation. As you go through the field, the machine's 7-ft. wide hay pickup, picks up the windrow and places it on a 24-in. wide rubber belt. The belt lays the windrow to the side of the tractor. Belt speed is hydraulically adjustable by turning a knob on the bypass valve which allows you to place the windrow in the desired spot. With an optional "crowder" wheel the machine can handle hay from 7 to 14-ft. swathers.
A large plexiglass window on the left side of the machine lets you see from the driver's seat that the windrow is feeding in properly.