Modified Flail Chopper Windrows Corn Stalks
"There wasn't anything on the market that would do the job," says Iowa farmer Al Streff, who mounted an old corn picker conveyor on the back of his 4-row flail chopper to windrow stalks off to the side of the machine.
Streff totally enclosed the 3-ft. wide conveyor that runs across the back of the chopper. An orbit motor is used to power the conveyor and to control its speed. " It saves a lot of time baling stalks," says Streff, who feeds beef cattle. "We make double windrows by dumping onto the windrow from the previous pass after turning at the end of the field. The conveyor drops chopped stalks into the middle of the fourth chopped row so they don't get chopped twice. It makes a 3 to 5-ft. wide windrow. We used it last fall for the first time and were amazed how well it worked. We made about 500 bales. We were afraid that air pressure coming out of the flail chopper would cause the stalks to bunch up, but that wasn't a problem. We plugged it up only once or twice all year. When it does plug up, stalks come out the bottom of the chopper while the apron on the conveyor keeps running.
"We had been using a home-built hood mounted on back of the chopper that funneled stalks into a windrow out the back. The problem was that it didn't make a big enough windrow so it took a long time to make a bale."
The conveyor is off an old International 2-row corn picker. He used only the sprocket, bearings, and chain and used three 2 by 8-in. 10-ft. long tongue-and-groove treated boards to build the conveyor platform. He welded on 1-in. wide, 3/16-in. thick lengths of strap iron between the conveyor chains to make "paddles". New conveyor driveshafts were made to the proper length and attached to the conveyor which is mounted at a slight angle toward the front. He used 4-in. wide lengths of angle iron to support the conveyor, welding the angle irons to the chopper frame and axles.
He made the back and front sides of the conveyor out of sheet metal and covered the top of it with two lift-off metal-covered 2 by 4 frames. Four short lengths of channel iron, mounted at an angle on the back of the chopper's discharge chute, direct stalks onto the conveyor in the direction of travel.