1987 - Volume #11, Issue #5, Page #04[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Bagged silage cartYou can make chopped silage one bag at a time with a new do-it-yourself bagger cart that a Pennsylvania ag engineer says can be built for less than $100.
Designer James Garthe told FARM SHOW the cart works great for farmers who need a limited amount of silage. "The most important benefit for smaller or part-time farmers is that it's an inexpensive way to make good quality silage."
The cart is designed to be pulled by smaller tractors without hydraulics. It consists simply of an old wagon axle and wheels, and a curved cage that supports the silage bag. Garthe made the bag cage out of ¢ in. dia. PVC pipe slipped over heavy galvanized wire. The cage tilts forward 20? to facilitate filling and to hold the bag securely on the cart as it fills. Garthe says all parts, except the PVC and wire, can be found in salvage yards, or scavenged from old machines.
The cart tows directly behind a forage chopper or flail mower to instantly bag hay, corn or small grains as it's chopped. In hay, the crop is generally allowed to wilt for 15 min. to 3 hrs. after it's mown so it reaches the ideal moisture content of from 60 to 80% moisture. Filling the 4 or 6-ft. dia. bags (which are normally used to bag big round bales) takes about 10 min. but when the bag first fills the farmer or a helper must climb onto the cart and pack the silage with his feet. Once the bag has been packed, and then filled again to the top, it's simply tied with twine, transported to storage and a pin is pulled on the hinged cage so that the bag - which weighs anywhere from 1,400 to 2,000 lbs. - can be dumped onto the ground.
Garthe says good preparation of a storage site is important to minimize damage to the filled bags. He recommends a closely mown area or an area scraped closely with a blade to minimize punctures.
Testing is still in progress on the small-scale bagging system so detailed plans are not yet available. However, Garthe says the trailer can be easily built and the design changed to adapt to whatever materials you have on hand.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, James W. Garthe, Extension Agricultural Engineer, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Penn. 16802 (ph 814 865-4700).
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