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Swath Lifter For Small Grain
The problem of wet, beat-down small grain swaths that dry too slowly for quick combining has been solved on the Spielman farm near Twin Valley, Minn., by use of a home-made swath lifting machine.
Lloyd Spielman and son Mark, made their hydraulically-driven lifter out of the belt pickup unit from a pull-type combine, four belts and other parts.
"The machine picks up the beaten-down swath, separates it, and lays it back on the field in a swath that looks like it was just swathed," explains Mark. "The pickup was made to feed a cornbine so it doesn't tear apart the swath like some lifters we've seen."
The Spielmans have used the machine on wheat, barley and oats. "On oats, some grain is shattered out and lost but it's not a big problem, says Mark. "The shatter loss on wheat or barley is hardly anything.
Once the swath has been lifted by the machine, air circulates more easily through the grain. "You run the belts on the pickup slightly faster than your ground speed so, when the pickup fingers contact the swath, they stretch it. Also, the stubble is combed up. The machine does not move the swath to one side where it might fall into the tractor's tracks," explains Mark.
The Spielmans used the lifter on about 100 acres two years ago and figure they would have lost that crop without it. Last year, the machine wasn't needed at all. "When you need it, you really need it. We figure it pays off in the long run to have one of those lifters sitting in the shed, ready to use when needed," Mark points out.
"You can come back and combine much quicker if you've lifted the swath. Quicker drying helps keep the grain from sprouting in the swath. On barley, using the lifter can mean being able to retain malting quality," adds Mark.
The Spielmans have no desire to go into mass production on the lifter but do have fabrication plans available by mail. They've custom built a few for neighbors and find that it takes two men about five hours.
New belts are required, and cost about $300. Items needed, in addition to the belts and the used combine pickup, include some channel iron, bolts, tool-bar from a cultivator, a hydraulic motor, coupler and bracket. Although the Spielmans used a Deere belt pickup, just about any make belt pickup would work, says Mark.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Mark Spielman, Route 1, Twin Valley, Minn. 56584 (ph 218 567-8510).

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1981 - Volume #5, Issue #6