Baler-Mounted Chopper Handles Hay Or Stalks
"It lets you chop and bale corn stalks in one pass as well as hay and other crops in windrows," says Cory Westhoff, project engineer with Heartland Mfg., Inc., New Vienna, Iowa, about the company's new baler-mounted chopper that mounts ahead of the baler pickup.
The new model 669 Crop Processor is a complete redesign of the company's original add-on shredder introduced 8 years ago. The older model 561 shredder -- which is still on the market -- is chain-driven off the main baler drive and handles two 38 or 30-in. rows of corn stalks or soybean stubble. Both machines use reversible flail knives. The new Crop Processor is 69 in. wide, has an adjustable shear bar, and will handle three 30-in. rows as well as windrows. Powered by its own gearbox, it can be used on other crops such as hay, oatlage, rye grass, etc., and it cuts the crops into an average 4 to 6-in. lengths depending upon many variables.
"We've tested three machines for one year with great reviews from the operators," says Westhoff. Twelve additional machines were built to use this fall. "We demonstrated the Crop Processor mounted on a Deere 566 round baler at the recent Farm Progress Show near Amana, Iowa. We made 1,800 to 2,100-lb. wet corn stalk bales that were 4 ft. 10 in. tall and 5 ft. wide. These bales were silage wrapped for feed. Farmers were impressed with how fast we could make bales and with the short cut length and density of the bale.
"The main use for corn stalks has been bedding, but corn stalks are also used as feed. With the Crop Processor the baler pickup is raised above stalk height, instead of running on the ground, therefore dirt is not pulled up into the bale, making a better feed or bedding product. The flail knives cut and deliver the crop into the pickup area. Plus, the Crop Processor picks up some lost grain from the field which gets mixed in with the stalks and stubble. And you save time by being able to chop and bale in a single pass. The short cut lengths create denser, heavier bales, saving storage space and handling time.
"Our Crop Processor can be used to make either dry or silage hay bales. Dry bales can possibly be used in TMR mixer wagons instead of tub grinding. Due to cut length, the number of cut ends, and the higher density of the bale, the silage process is also improved.
A gearbox and Gates Polychain GT belt drive unit mount on the baler hitch to power the Crop Processor. A pto shaft from the hitch to the rotor housing has its own slip clutch. Another Polychain belt-drives the rotor up to 2,400 rpm's. The new-style Deere flail knives cut and throw with decreased horsepower requirements. The hitch is ex-tended 2 ft. to make room for the gearbox. A forming shield under the hitch helps guide windrows into the Crop Processor. A pair of cylinders adjusts the rotor height on-the-go. It takes a minimum of a 100 hp tractor.
At this time the Crop Processor fits Deere 535 and 566 round balers. The machine is patented and sold exclusively through Deere dealers. The Crop Processor will be introduced to dealers in February of 1997. Prices are currently being set.