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Rem's Chaff-O-Matic
Chaff has been the main feed for Leo Redekop's 80-cow beef herd in Central Saskatchewan for the past two winters. With equipment he's invented to gather up chaff from grain fields, he's able to "harvest" about 145 tons of chaff in less time than it would take to harvest an equivalent 100 acres of hay.
"Last year, I was able to pick up enough chaff feed for the winter in 2 1/2 days," Redekop told FARM SHOW. He dumps the chaff in big 60-ton stacks, covers them with plastic and treats the chaff with about 3 1/2% ammonia by weight. The resulting feed after 3 to 5 weeks has a protein content of about 17% and about 53% TDN. "We've been able to feed treated chaff without any grain until calving time each of the past two winters because of the high protein and energy levels in the chaff. In a bad weather year, we might have to supplement with grain."
Redekop gets about a ton of chaff off 6 acres of 35 to 40 bu. wheat. A 60-ton stack will feed 18 cows for about 165 days. He self-feeds out of the 25 by 80-ft. stacks with an electric fence, rolling back the 40 by 100-ft. sheets of plastic as the cows eat. Weed seeds are sterilized, he says, by the ammonia treatment.
So how does he go about picking up the chaff off nearly 1,000 acres of harvested ground?
"We use a chaff blower which fits on our combine, and a dump wagon which pulls behind the combine. The wagon automatically dumps 600-lb. piles of chaff in the field as you combine," says Redekop, noting that both pieces of equipment are made by REM Manufacturing Ltd., in Swift Current, Sask.
After harvest the piles can be picked up whenever there's time. He says it doesn't hurt the chaff to get wet as long as it's picked up before it snows. "There are no worries about the weather or time constraints, as is the case with making hay," he notes.
When he first started collecting chaff, Redekop used a hand-operated grain vacuum to pick it up in the field but he found it too cumbersome and says it took too long. So, he designed a machine to pick up chaff called the "Chaff-O-Matic" which is now also manufactured by REM Manufacturing.
The machine looks like a big snow blower and uses the combination of a pickup reel and vacuum power to pick up the chaff. It's 10 ft. wide and picks up the 600 lbs. piles in 30 to 40 secs. It uses a combination of pto power from the towing tractor and hydraulics to power the vacuum fan, pickup and the blower that loads the chaff into a trailing truck.
"We tow it behind a tractor and then tow a grain truck with a specially-built box extension behind it. It'll hold 3 to 3 1/2 tons and, once it's full, the operator simply unhooks the truck and drives it back to the pile," explains Redekop.
A few Saskatchewan farmers who have also been feeding chaff use the REM chaff blower on their combine but pull a forage wagon behind the combine and handle the chaff while they're combining. Redekop says he doesn't feel there's time at harvest to do more than harvest. He likes the convenience of being able to pick up the chaff whenever he has time.
Redekop used his first prototype machine last year to pick up his own chaff, plus another 3,000 acres for nearby farmers. This year, REM Manufacturing began building the Chaff-O-Matic, which comes with blueprints for the grain box extension. The Chaff-O-Matic sells for $7,500. A blower and dump wagon combination to handle the chaff as it comes off the combine sells for about $4,600 (Canadian).
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Leo Redekop, Box 907, Watrous, Sask. SOK 4T0 (ph 3'96 946-2491).


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1983 - Volume #7, Issue #5