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Home-Built Bale Slicer Makes Great Feed
“My brother and I used to slice big hay bales with a rotating drum that had protruding knives,” says Sam Blank of Narvon, Penn, “but hay stems and twine sometimes got wrapped around the drum. We decided to build our own system using a sickle bar cutter that would slice pieces of hay from big bales and hopefully not plug up.”
  Sam and his brother built a rectangular shaped chamber large enough to hold different sizes of round bales or large square bales. Blank says it’s about 5 ft. wide by 6 ft. long with 4-ft. tall sidewalls. It’s open in the back and has a wood floor with a slatted chain similar to the apron on a manure spreader or silage wagon. “The chamber stands on four legs that can adjust the box height from a few feet off the ground up to a level that would put sliced hay in a small feed wagon,” Blank says. Bales are placed in the chamber by a loader tractor or skid steer.
  “The slicer operates like an old fashioned sickle bar without the fingers,” Blank says. “Two sickle bars are mounted together with a cam drive moving the sickles in opposite directions, creating a slicing action. A small hydraulic motor that gets its hydraulic power from a 13 hp gas engine drives the cam. Increasing or decreasing the hydraulic flow to the motor changes the sickle speed.
  “We mounted the sickle on hydraulic arms so it can move down the face of a bale by its own weight, or an operator can regulate the speed of the cut,” says Blank. “When it’s done with one cut, we raise it up so the platform apron chain can move the bale backand start another slice down.”
  Blank says, “we usually cut 3 in. of hay from the face of a bale at a time, which makes a real nice texture for dairy cattle.” In the past year Blank’s brother used the machine to slice about 100 bales without any problems. He says the gasoline engine provides plenty of power to run the hydraulic cylinders that lift the slicer as well as the motor that drives the sickles.
  “It works better than the rotary drum, and it works better than a tub grinder where a complete bale goes in at once,” Blank says. He plans to build and sell hay slicers for around $6,400.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Samuel Blank, 203 Churchtown Rd., Narvon, Penn. 17555 (ph 717 768-7105; www.sunsetcreation.com).

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2012 - Volume #36, Issue #4