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Old Bean Machine Fluffs, Windrows Hay
John Pitz says his Idaho hay operation isn’t big enough to warrant buying a commercially-built hay turner or windrow merger, so he built one himself. “The fields I work on are 5 to 15 acres, so I needed something smaller to pull behind my 30 hp tractor,” says Pitz.
  Originally he was going to build his own machine from parts of an old baler or windrower, then he found exactly what he needed in a neighbor’s grown up fenceline. It was an old abandoned Lockwood 6-row dry bean windrower.
  Pitz spent a half day in his shop removing rusty parts, fixing a few bearings, and replacing belts. He added swivel wheels to the back of the machine so his 30 hp tractor would only have to pick up the front of the machine, not carry the whole thing. He also added a second set of wheels, offset from the swivels, so the machine doesn’t drop into the narrow irrigation ditches as he’s driving through the fields. He figures the whole setup cost him less than $500 and about 8 hrs. of work.
  Pitz says the old tine pickup bean windrower works great to lift the mowed hay, fluff it slightly and deposit it in nice windrows. The hay dries evenly and doesn’t lose its leaves.
   “I use the turner on a 16-ft. swath to make 2 windrows,” Pitz says. “If I go up the field one way, then come down the opposite way on the other side of the swath, the two windrows are about 2 ft. apart. If the hay is lighter I can straddle one of the windrows and put another one on top of it to make a double. I can bale single windrows by straddling one of them with the baler.”
  Pitz says his home-built machine works better than a rake to make windrows at 4 to 6 mph. “I use the turner when the hay is fairly green, and it just fluffs the hay and doesn’t roll and twist it in a rope like a rake does. It cuts drying time by one or two days.” Pitts says that windrowing the greener hay also produces better hay because he’s saving more of the high-protein leaves.
  “This machine worked so well that I’m building a smaller one just like it using a 4-row bean pickup,” Pitz says. That one he’ll be able to lift and carry with the 3-point hitch on his small tractor.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Pitz, 3650 N. 1900 E., Filer, Idaho 83328 (ph 208 316-3007; johntfcfair@filetel.com).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #1