Chopper Mounted On Turn-Around Tractor

Pennsylvania dairy farmer Gilbert Linde, of Union, has the only forage harvester of its kind in the entire world. It was designed and built by him two and a half years ago and has now been used successfully for two seasons.

Essentially, Gilbert's unusual machine is a self-propelled 2-row forage harvester. A Deutz 8006 provides power to the chopper assembly, which features a 3-pt. hitch and special gearbox for pto linkage. He built the machine because he saw it as a challenging and satisfying project. Also, it enables his family to have greater flexibility in harvesting. Up until two years ago, the family relied on custom operators to fill their silo.

The tractor is driven in reverse, and the chopper unit is directly behind the driver's seat, Gilbert has to pilot the unit from a seat on the fender. The clutch would be inaccessible there, so special linkage was required to solve the problem. As for the brake pedals, Gilbert says he just twists his foot a little and reaches them that way.

The longer than usual discharge spout took some thinking, too. It even works without an auxiliary blower, although that wasn't the original intention. "It broke," Gilbert explained, pointing to the spot at the base of the spout where the blower was supposed to be. The fan, he says, significantly increases efficiency and he intended to get it fixed and working again.

Transferring power from the tractor to all the different cogs and chains was no small matter either. The original equipment just wasn't designed to handle the angles which Gilbert encountered on his machine. But he overcame it all with gear boxes and an extra pulley here and there.

Not surprisingly, the weight of the chopper attached to the rear of the tractor required quite a few weights to be added to the front of it. It handles the load well.

As on the more conventional self-propelled units, Gilbert can operate all controls -- including the hitch for trailing wagons -- from his seat on the fender.