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Baler-Mounted Rake Wheels Chop Stalks
Iowa farmer Mark Paulsen found a way to bale corn stalks without having to chop them first by mounting 4-ft. high wheel rakes on front of his Vermeer 605 round baler.
  The ground-driven rakes - two on each side - gather stalks, leaves and husks into a windrow that feeds directly into the baler.
  "It saves a trip across the field," says Paulsen, who custom bales about 4,000 acres of corn stalks each year.
  The four rake wheels mount on a 3-ft. long extension of the baler tongue. Paulsen also had to extend the pto shaft 3 ft. A pair of arms made from rectangular steel tubing extend outward at an angle from the tongue area, and two wheels U-bolt onto each arm. The rakes fold up hydraulically for transport via a single cylinder that operates off the tractor hydraulics. The cylinder has a sprocket welded onto the top of it that allows a length of roller chain to raise each arm.
  "The rake wheels walk right through residue and comb it off the ground," says Paulsen. "The wheels break most of the stalks off, leaving stubble that's 4 to 5 inches high. If the stalks are dry it'll windrow up to 90 percent of the residue on the field. The rake wheels cover a total of five rows. I drive with the rear tractor tires on top of two rows which leaves a flat area to rake the stalks across. The faster I go, the more the wheels kick the material in toward the baler. I usually go about 8 to 9 mph in the field.
  "I mounted it on my 1994 Vermeer baler two years ago. It worked so good that when I bought a new 1996 605K baler last year I immediately mounted a rake wheel attachment on it, too.
  "I bought the wheels new from an implement dealer and spent a total of about $1,500 to $2,000 to build the attachment. A neighbor with a new Deere round baler mounted a $4,000 commercial stalk chopper on front of his baler, but after he saw my rake wheel attachment he took the chopper off and built an attachment like mine. He said the chopper had too many moving parts, pulled hard, and was dirty.
  "I had been using a 15-ft. wide Loftness shredder that also windrows the stalks, but I didn't like it because it left the material too loose and chopped it up too much which made it hard to keep the bales together. It was like trying to make a round bale out of silage. My rake wheels leave longer stalks that wrap up tighter and allow the bale to keep its shape a lot better.
  "The bales I make range from 3 to 6 ft. high. The smaller ones are generally used in hog buildings. I also contract with Harlan Great Lakes Chemical which shreds and pelletizes the bales and uses them to make plastic products.
  "I also custom bale 4,000 to 5,000 bales of hay each year. By pulling a pin I can remove each outside wheel and run only one wheel on each side to tuck the hay in. Both outside wheels are mounted on telescoping arms that slide in much like a receiver hitch on a pickup."
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Mark Paulsen, 2712 Elm Lane, Elk Horn, Iowa 51531 (ph 712 764-5550).

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1997 - Volume #21, Issue #6