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Bale tree leaves with your hay baler
"It's a flat, belt-type header that gets low to the ground like the pickup headers used on some grain combines in Western states," says Cliff Kunes, Seneca Castle, N.Y., manufacturer of an add-on baler attachment that fits over the conventional hay pickup on a baler to get low to the ground to pick up tree leaves.
The add-on leaf header fits over the existing hay pickup, which stays in place. No modification of the baler is necessary. To bale leaves requires a baler with an auger type cross feed as found on Deere balers rather than a finger type feed. The header consists of a flat rubber belt 60 in. wide and 60 in. long with flexible teeth bolted to the belt. The teeth rake the ground and can even pick leaves up off paved city streets, says Kunes. He notes that the Wellsville, N.Y. department of public works bought a leaf harvesting header from him several years ago and they use it extensively each year.
"People rake their leaves into the street and after we bale, they pick them up again for use as compost. Or, local farmers haul them home forbedding," says John Palmer of the Public Works Department, who adds that the department first tried using an unmodified baler to handle leaves 15 years ago. "It couldn't pick them up off the street. Then, we tried a vacuum mechanism but that didn't work well either. Finally, we simply had to wait till it rained to load them with a tractor loader. That put us at the mercy of the weather. Now, we can bale when we have time and we don't ever have to haul leaves away."
Palmer says the city mounts the Kunes leaf header permanently on an old Deere twine tie baler. The baler is generally set to make bales about 2 ft. long. When damp, the small bales can weigh as much as 50 to 60 lbs.
"It's an economical, smart way for cities to handle the problem of leaves. Farmers who already own a baler could buy the attachment and bale up city leaves on contract," notes Palmer.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Cliff Kunes, Castle Harvester Co., Orleans Rd., Seneca Castle, N.Y. 14547 (ph 716 526-6238).


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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #5