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Homemade conveyor speeds hay making
Nebraska farmer Byron Gutz and his four brothers needed a windrower that would make big windrows in light hay cuttings, allowing their high horsepower tractors to make fewer trips through the field while chopping hay. They tried using large V-rakes but didn't like the rakes' uneven flow and tendency to leave dirt in the hay causing excessive wear on chopper knives.
So they built their own 16-ft. windrow conveyor from an old Deere haylage chop-per pickup head, side delivery rake frame, and a pair of Versatile windrower canvasses mounted end to end.
"It can be used on 12, 14, or 16-ft. wind-rows and lets us put up to 48 ft. of hay into one windrow," says Gutz, who notes that each of the brothers has his own farming operation but that they all own the haying equipment together. They grow a total of 300 acres of hay. "We've used it on 8,500 acres with no problems since we built it 10 years ago. It keeps our high horsepower tractors busy and speeds up chopping alfalfa hay, especially on the third and fourth cuttings which usually have lighter wind-rows. However, it worked so well and reduced chopping time so much that we now use it on almost all of our cuttings.
"By speeding up chopping time about 50% it allows us to operate machinery at slower speeds which is easier on equipment. There are fewer turns at the end of the field. Also, there's much less chance of leaving metal rake teeth in the windrow. It works equally well for baling or stacking hay. We operate it at 5 to 8 mph depending on the size of the windrow being conveyed. It leaves a nice fluffy windrow which dries fast."
Height adjustment for the pickup head is controlled by the 3-pt. hitch. The conveyor and pickup head are individually driven by hydraulic orbit motors which are hooked up to two separate remote out lets on the tractor. "The operator can match ground speed to pickup and conveyor speed and pick hay up gently without bunching the windrow. We usually pick up one 16-ft. windrow and put it on top of the one next to it for a 32-ft. swath, or, by picking up a windrow on the other side, we can make a 48-ft. swath. Any small tractor equipped with a 3-pt. hitch and two remote outlets can operate it."
Gutz and his brothers bought the Deere haylage chopper pickup head at a farm sale for $600. They built the conveyor frame and rollers and mounted the two Versatile windrower canvasses end to end. they removed the arches from the side delivery rake and rebuilt the axle to make it heavier, then mounted the pickup head and conveyor on the frame of the rake. "The pickup head is mounted on a pivot point so it floats to the contour of the field," notes Gutz, adding that total cost to build the windrow conveyor was less than $3,000.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Byron Gutz, RR 2, Box 140, Osmond, Neb. 68765 (ph 402 748-3706).

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1991 - Volume #15, Issue #6