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Power Assist Trailer Helps Move Chopper Through Mud
"It really proved its worth in last year's sea of mud," says New York dairy farmer Bennett Palmer Jr., who with his father Bennett Sr., and brother Greg, designed and built a "power assist" silage wagon to keep their self-propelled forage chopper moving through mud and other "tough sledding."
The conversion, which they've used for two seasons, involves their model 1900 self-propelled New Holland chopper, with hydrostatic drive, and a 10-year-old Dump Chief silage wagon. "We actually had two basic problems not enough traction to keep the chopper rolling in muddy field conditions, and too flimsy a running gear on a 9-ton capacity dump wagon," notes Bennett Jr.
The Palmers solved both problems with their self-engineered conversion. They bought a used hydrostatic model 1890 New Holland chopper which had gone through a fire, salvaging the running gear, hydraulic pump and hydraulic motors. The fire-damaged motors and pump were sent out for reconditioning to restore them to "like new" condition.
The Palmers used a salvaged 10-wheel truck frame to make a chassis for the salvaged running gear, then set the dump wagon back on the "beefed up" new running gear with "power assist" final drives on each wheel of its two-wheel axle. About one-third of the silage load is on the chopper, and two-thirds on the wagon's axle.
A solenoid switch, operated from the cab, controls the hydraulically-powered silage wagon wheels. Whether standing still or on the go, the operator can switch from free wheeling to full power, or vice versa. Wheels on the chopper and wagon follow the same pair of tracks.
"The only change we plan to make for the coming season is to equip the wagon with larger tires to get more clearance under the axle, going from 18.4 by 26 tires to 18.4 by 30 or maybe even 34. With this change, the power-assisted chopper should be able to go right through standing water," says Bennett Jr.
He estimates that the power assist conversion, plus beefing-up the running gear, cost about $10,000, not including their own labor. "We probably could have salvaged final drives from a junked combine but the matchup would have been a lot more work than it was in marrying up the two related New Holland choppers."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Bennett Palmer Jr., Warner Gulf Rd., Holland, N.Y. 14080 (ph 716 537-9909).

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1987 - Volume #11, Issue #1