«Previous    Next»
Home-Built Narrow Row Silage Chopper
When he couldn't find a narrow-row silage chopper on the market, Butch Kerkhoff of Redwood Falls, Minn., built his own 22-in. head out of two used 4-row, 30-in. heads and mounted it on his self-propelled Deere 5460 power unit.
"It lets me use the same planting and cultivating equipment on my corn, soybeans, and sugarbeets. And the 22-in. rows result in higher silage yields," says Kerkhoff. "I spent about $3,500 to build it."
He bought one used 4-row 30-in. Deere "stalker" head that was in good shape and another one that was in poor shape. He slid the two center units on the good head to-ward the outside, then mounted a row unit from the damaged head at the center to make five rows.
Kerkhoff built the narrow row chopper head three years ago and has used it every year to cut about 200 acres of silage. "I al-ready had the Deere 5460 self-propelled power unit which had a 3-row, 30-in. head mounted on it. My 5-row, 22-in. head has about the same capacity except that I have to drive slower with it, at about 3 mph in-stead of 4 1/2 mph. I can cut 60 to 65 tons per hour and fill six tandem axle trucks an hour, each carrying about 10 tons of silage. I figure I've used my narrow row header to cut almost 10,000 tons of silage since I built it.
"Originally I intended to build a 4-row, 22-in. head but I found that it would have been narrower than the power unit, which would have knocked down corn. Deere sells a 22-in. corn head for combines, but not a narrow row silage chopper head. The only other alternative is the Kemper head but I think it's too expensive - about $38,000 for a new 15-ft. model.
"I believe that 20 or 22-in. row corn will catch on with farmers like 30-in. row corn did 25 years ago because it yields 5 to 7% higher. A lot of farmers in our area grow sugarbeets on 22-in. rows which caused many of them to start growing 22-in. corn and beans. Our local Deere dealer now sells mostly 22-in. row equipment.
"I had trouble finding Deere "stalker" heads because the company didn't build very many of them and they haven't built any new ones for about 10 years. However, they're ideal for this modification."
When he made the switch to narrow row corn, Kerkhoff also switched to a different kind of corn for his silage - TMF hybrids from Mycogen Seeds (720 St. Croix St., Prescott, Wis. 54021 (ph 800 692-6436). Its protein level runs from 1 to 1 1/2 percent higher than regular corn. "It saves hundreds of dollars in purchased protein. It also grows 2 to 3 ft. taller than regular corn," says Kerkhoff, who raises beef cattle.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Butch Kerkhoff, Rt. 4, Box 97, Redwood Falls, Minn. 56283 (ph 507 249-3956).

  Click here to download page story appeared in.

  Click here to read entire issue

To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.
Order the Issue Containing This Story
1997 - Volume #21, Issue #1