1998 - Volume #22, Issue #2, Page #25[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
His Combine Doubles As a Silage Chopper
"It lets me harvest silage and a cash grain crop in one pass through the field. We get a lot of low-cost feed that would otherwise be lost," says Stoll, who has a cow-calf operation and also grows 180 acres of corn each year, with 60 of those acres used for silage.
He designed and built a patent pending attachment that allows the forage harvester's header and cutter to be mounted on front of the combine in place of the regular cornhead. The harvester's auger and blower mount on back of the combine and deliver silage into a trailing wagon.
The header cuts stalks about 10 in. off the ground and delivers them into the cut-ter. The crop material is then delivered up the feederhouse conveyor and through the combine's cylinder and sieves where the kernels are screened out and delivered to the grain tank. Meanwhile, the remaining crop material continues past the straw walkers and sieves back to the auger and blower. "I'm using the combine like a self-propelled silage chopper except that it's screening out most of the kernels. About 80 per-cent of the kernels are screened and delivered into the combine's grain tank," says Stoll. "The grain tank fills about once for every two wagon loads of silage. Last year in 170 bu. corn I got 12 tons of silage per acre, containing about 40 bu. per acre of grain. The rest of the grain - 130 bu. per acre - went to our bins for drying. I was able to sell that corn in early September and take advantage of higher early season prices. The combine does such a good job we've had no dockage at the elevator for foreign matter."
Stoll usually tries to harvest when grain moisture content is about 25 percent. At that level the grain can still be easily dried and stalk moisture content is about 50 to 55 per-cent. Normally, he would cut silage at 60 percent stalk moisture but silage will ferment even at a moisture content of 40 or even 35 percent.
"One of the biggest expenses of operating a cow herd is the cost of feeding hay during the winter. By using the silage from corn that's also harvested for grain we can cut that expense in half. Another advantage is that if we watch what kinds of herbicides we spray on corn ground, the early harvesting allows us to plant a wheat or barley pasture crop and end up with good growth before winter for grazing. That also reduces the need for hay. Another advantage is that the bare ground will dry and warm up about 10 days earlier the following spring because there's no mulch to keep it wet, which allows earlier planting.
"At one time Deere offered a stalker header that was designed to mount on front of a silage chopper and be used after the corn had already been harvested for grain. The idea was to turn corn residue on the ground into silage. However, it got only the stalks and not the more nutritious cobs, husks, and leaves.
"I've been trying to come up with a way to make this idea work for years. I tried the idea first on a Deere 6601 pull-type combine, mounting a 2-row 38-in. header on it. I still use it and it works good. It only takes about 30 minutes for two men to unbolt the attachment so that a corn or soy-bean head can be mounted," notes Stoll.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Eugene Stoll, RR 3, Box 377, Stanberry, Mo. 64489 (ph 660 783-2964).
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