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One Machine Chops Bales Cornstalks
"With this rig I can chop and bale cornstalks in one pass, eliminating the time and cost of making separate trips. And, I can even bale on windy days without having the stalks blow away," says Lloyd Melcher, Floyd, Iowa, who mounted a stalk chopper to the front of his Vermeer F round baler.
Melcher, a farmer, who also does custom baling for area farmers, estimates that he baled 600 cornstalk bales last year with the chopper/baler rig, averaging 10 to 12 bales an hour. He says most farmers use the stalks for bedding but that some add moisture and use them for feed.
Melcher built his machine by adding the chopper section off of a Lundell 120 paddle-type chopper, with the hitch and auger removed, to the front of his baler.
"Initially, I tried removing the baler's hay pickup but I discovered it was part of the bale-forming mechanism," says Melcher.
After reattaching the pickup, he then mounted the 10 ft. wide chopper just in front of the 5 ft. wide baler pickup, bolting the chopper to brackets on the baler. He built a new cam on the baler so its pickup teeth pull back sooner to avoid hitting the stalk-chopper.
The difference in the chopper and baler widths necessitated adding fins behind the chopper to feed stalks into the baler pickup.
The chopper is driven off the baler's main drive via a shaft and sprocket that extends out from the baler to the end of the chopper. Melcher turned the baler gearbox around so it's now 1,000 rpm's.
An over running clutch welded to the sprocket allows the chopper's momentum to keep the paddles spinning while the chopper and baler are shut off for tying each bale as its made.
Melcher explains that the stalk-cutter paddles keep spinning until after the bale is tied so restarting the chopper and baler is easier.
Melcher notes that, if he was doing the job over, he'd mount the chopper further in front of the baler so there's more room for air from the chopper to escape, and so the choppers paddles aren't so close to the pickup teeth. He'd also use a chopper with 6 in. wide paddles, rather than the 2 in. wide paddles which, he says, chop the stalks a little too fine. "I also think the wider paddles would let me increase my ground speed. Right now, I go about 6 mph with my 2-150 White tractor but an 80 hp. tractor would be powerful enough," Melcher told FARM SHOW.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lloyd Melcher, R.R. 1, Box 21, Floyd, Iowa 50435 (ph 515 398-2446).

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1983 - Volume #7, Issue #6