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He Rakes And Bales In One Pass
Finding a way to rake and bale at the same time became a necessity for Gary Burks after his son graduated from high school and left the farm. His first try at a front-mounted V-rake was, in his words, "a wreck!" Due to difficulties transporting it between fields and problems keeping it out of fences or turns, Burks set it aside.
"I needed something that would work in small fields and tight areas and move from one field to the next quickly and easily," he says.
His solution was simple and effective. At the time he had a 540 Hesston baler and two Ford 513 right-side delivery rakes. He designed and built a hitch that attached to the baler axle, allowing him to tow the rakes in-line behind the baler on the road and off to the side in the field.
He welded a length of 4-in. square tubing to the axle of the baler, just missing the right wheel by an inch or two. It extended just past the end of the baler. A length of 3-in. steel tubing connects to the end of the 4-in. tubing with a pivot pin. This allows it to pivot away from the baler at a right angle or back behind the baler at a left angle. A short length of chain welded to the 3-in. tubing secures it in both positions. At the end of the 3-in. tubing, he mounted a 1 7/8-in. ball.
To tow the rakes down the road, the 3-in. tubing is swung behind the baler and locked in place with the chain.
The first rake hooks to the ball hitch. Burks mounted a two-wheel dolly to the hitch of the second rake and trails it directly behind the first.
"When I get to the field, I drop the rakes, pull the baler up and swing the 3-in. tubing out to the side," says Burks. "Once my brace bar is in place, I connect the chain and hook the first rake to the ball. I swing the second rake to the outside of the first and pin it."
Burks makes a single pass without the baler working, raking two windrows together. On his next pass, he begins baling. If the hay crop is light, he can simply shut down the baler every other pass and bale four rake widths at a time.
"The only problem is that I have to back the baler up to kick the bale to the right of the first rake," says Burks. "I just do that while putting on the twine so I really don't lose any time."
A side benefit includes raking at slower speeds, which reduces wear and tear on the rakes. Raking behind the baler also enhances drying, as opposed to baling right in front of the rake, notes Burks.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Gary Burks, D'Air Farms, 440 Burgin Rd., Starks, La. 70661 (ph 337 743-5487).

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2008 - Volume #32, Issue #4