2007 - Volume #31, Issue #1, Page #03[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Swather Has Front-Mounted Rakes
"There are a lot of old swathers out there with worn out headers and not a lot of value for trade-in," says Tom Bootsma. "Our mounted rake can put them back to work. And smaller operators can now justify having a new swather, using it to cut and rake."
Bootsma's brother John, a long time hay producer, came up with the idea. He and Tom formed the company to make it a reality.
The rake frame folds up to an 8-ft. 6-in. transport width and opens up to as much as 25 ft. in the field. To connect the unit, the operator disconnects the swather header and drives up to the rake, which rests on flotation swivel wheels and a stand. Connect hydraulic and electronic connections, and the unit is ready to go.
A double-wheeled model is also available for use on corrugated fields or crossing pivot tracks. For transport, the swivel wheels lock in place, allowing it to be towed.
A control unit mounts in the cab next to the steering wheel when the system is first installed. It controls basket angles, widths and heights. A flow control valve keeps rake speed constant regardless of engine rpm.
Other advantages of the system include visibility, lighting and maintaining crop quality. The twin rakes are out in front of the operator, and swather light bars offer more than sufficient light for night-time raking. Thanks to the placement of drive wheels and the height of the swather, the crop is never driven on and the windrow passes easily beneath the drive unit.
Harvested hay quality is also enhanced with the 6 tine-bar basket design. It operates at a lower rpm than five tine-bar rakes, lifting the hay slower and more gently for less leaf loss.
The swather-mounted rake is also fuel efficient. "The engine generally runs at about half throttle, which is plenty for the drive," says Bootsma. "It uses about half the fuel used for swathing."
About five years were spent developing and refining the rake. The first units have been in the field for about a year and a half. So far the units have been adapted for Hesston, Case-International and McDon swathers, but Bootsma will develop adapters for other makes on request.
"On the Hesstons we use the arms that lift the header with a few modifications," explains Bootsma. "On the McDons, we build a new arm, but don't' change the machine itself."
The company is interested in expanding sales from the Pacific Northwest. Retail price is $22,900, but dealer discounts are available for buyers in a new area willing to demonstrate the rake.
"I think once a person gets behind the wheel and rakes hay in front of them, they will be impressed with how easy it is," says Bootsma.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Bootsma LLC, 2604 11th St., Baker City, Oregon` 97814 (ph 541 523-5400; fax 541 523-3333; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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