2012 - Volume #BFS, Issue #12, Page #48
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Double-Duty Combine Fitted With Mower Head
James and Jordan Balmer’s family combine does double duty as a mower tractor. When their custom haying business needed a mower upgrade, they put their combine to work rather than buy a bigger tractor. Switching from mowing hay to harvesting crops takes about 8 hours, but it’s time well spent, says James Balmer.
“It works better than a tractor because the wheelbase is just right, plus you can see what you’re doing better than with a tractor,” he says. “We’ve had other custom harvesters check it out. Some of our customers were impressed, and others wondered what we were doing.”
The new disc mower was a front-mount, 30-ft. Pottinger that they chose for size and speed. All they needed was a pto drive and 3-pt. hitch instead of the usual header mounting arms.
“We took a gearbox off a pull-type Deere chopper and mounted it on the right hand side of the combine,” explains James. “We ran a belt from the pulley that ran the rotor on the header to a pulley on the gearbox and a shaft from the gearbox to the mower.”
In order to mount the mower, the Balmers had to remove the front portion of the feederhouse or throat section that moves up and down with the header. A top link arm was mounted to this lift point. Two lower link arms were mounted to the combine axle.
Once the mower was in place, the combine required a little fine-tuning, says James. “We tuned the motor up for a few more horsepower. We also put a smaller pulley on the gearbox to reduce the pto speed to the mower.”
With few purchased parts other than the mower, the Balmers’ modification paid off well. They estimate saving $120,000 on the new tractor that they otherwise would have purchased. The dual-purpose combine hasn’t slowed them down either.
“The speed is pretty good,” says James. “We’ve mowed at 13 to 15 mph a couple of times.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, James Balmer, 11283 County Rd. V, Glen Haven, Wis. 53810 (ph 608 482-2712; balmer900@hotmail.com).

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2012 - Volume #BFS, Issue #12