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Super Sweep Rakes And Bunches Hay
A machine to rake and bunch swaths wasn't available to suit Dusty Gilger, so he made one. He calls it a "super-sweep."
Gilger ranches near Boyes in Carter County, close to both Wyoming and South Dakota. During the winter, he feeds loose hay, a simple operation with the proper equipment.
Haying begins with a swather. The next step is bunching for picking up with a buckrake. His super-sweep is a bunching machine, two windrows at a time.
Finger rakes from a side delivery rake were mounted, one on each side. From each side a swath is raked to the center, where it is carried on a 10-foot wide floor or bed. The bed is simply a series of 3/4-inch square tubing dragging on the ground.
At the rear of the entire machine is a 10-foot dump rake. Hay is held over the bed of square tubing until the dump is lifted hydraulically.
The machine performs three operations. First, two swaths are raked to the center. Hay is held on the bed until a bunch of the desired size is loaded. At that point, the entire load is dumped, a bunch of 500 or 600 pounds.
There are only two hydraulic controls. One operates the two side delivery rakes, the other the dump rake. When moving down the road, the machine can be narrowed simply by raising the side delivery rakes to a vertical position. Width can be adjusted from 12 to 16 feet, simply by altering the attachments of the hydraulics.
Gilger made the first machine in 1977. It has worked fine in his operation ever since, he said.
Story and photos reprinted with permission from the Montana Farmer-Stockman.

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #6