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Machine?

Posted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:39 pm
by lavacarancher
As I mentioned before we just came back from a trip to South Dakota and while on the trip we saw a lot of what looked like self propelled hay mowers. They looked like miniature combines but with a cutter bar on the front instead of a combine. What are these machines and what are their purpose? Is this what they call a swather? We don't have these kinds of machines in south Texas

If they are hay mowers why are they used instead of a tractor powered side cutter like a Kuhn? Just curious.

Re: Machine?

Posted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:15 pm
by alacowman
Cuts the hay and windrows it,In one pass..saves a lot of time I'm sure with those big fields . Wouldn't be good for south Texas,or here cause of the humidity...thinking more about it, if you were doing baleage here,it could be handy...

Re: Machine?

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:56 am
by lavacarancher
alacowman wrote:Cuts the hay and windrows it,In one pass..saves a lot of time I'm sure with those big fields . Wouldn't be good for south Texas,or here cause of the humidity...thinking more about it, if you were doing baleage here,it could be handy...


I can sure see its use for baleage but like you say, not appropriate for S. Texas . We need to spread the hay out once its cut so it dries.

Thanks

Re: Machine?

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:24 am
by m5farm
we have a hay guy here that has one , It does a good job but he tedders behind it ,

Re: Machine?

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:41 am
by m5farm
it frees up a tractor also. This guy does about a 1000 acres of hay and has contracts with several coops and chain stores

Re: Machine?

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:49 pm
by Faster horses
They have different size heads and come with conditioners if needed. We have had one since the early 70's. Now they have them with rotary heads, that cut faster. They are in excess of $100,000 new. Our first one was $7000. It was International 275, a cutting machine in those days. We have had New Holland, more IHC's and the newest and best was a John Deere. The only one we bought new was the first one. It had a 12' head, and the last one was a 20'.

Re: Machine?

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:08 pm
by cow pollinater
That's all I ever saw in CA. I didn't know they made anything else for cutting hay until I moved here to OK. In CA it's so dry during hay season that all they have to do is rake two windrows together in the late afternoon and then start baling around midnight to get whatever dew they can... little different story here. :lol:
I think the size of the forage being cut has a role in effectiveness as well. Alfalfa cut at 10% bloom is rarely over about a foot and a half so it dries nicely even in a windrow. When you cut whatever is out there based on weather windows you can wind up with some pretty big windrows.

Re: Machine?

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:08 pm
by lavacarancher
Faster horses wrote:They have different size heads and come with conditioners if needed. We have had one since the early 70's. Now they have them with rotary heads, that cut faster. They are in excess of $100,000 new. Our first one was $7000. It was International 275, a cutting machine in those days. We have had New Holland, more IHC's and the newest and best was a John Deere. The only one we bought new was the first one. It had a 12' head, and the last one was a 20'.


The cost is exactly what I was thinking about the swather. I just bought a new Kuhn 9'6" hay cutter and it didn't cost me anywhere near $100K. I pull it with a 75 HP John Deere, again, no where near $100K. After the hay dries I rake with a 12 wheel rake and follow the rake with a NH BR780 round baler pulled with a IH 1486. Of course I'm not baling 5000 acres either. Some of those fields in Kansas and Nebraska looked like they went on forever. I also noticed that most folks up there bale big square bales. Those square bales sure stack nice.

Re: Machine?

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:40 pm
by Faster horses
lavacarancher wrote:
Faster horses wrote:They have different size heads and come with conditioners if needed. We have had one since the early 70's. Now they have them with rotary heads, that cut faster. They are in excess of $100,000 new. Our first one was $7000. It was International 275, a cutting machine in those days. We have had New Holland, more IHC's and the newest and best was a John Deere. The only one we bought new was the first one. It had a 12' head, and the last one was a 20'.


The cost is exactly what I was thinking about the swather. I just bought a new Kuhn 9'6" hay cutter and it didn't cost me anywhere near $100K. I pull it with a 75 HP John Deere, again, no where near $100K. After the hay dries I rake with a 12 wheel rake and follow the rake with a NH BR780 round baler pulled with a IH 1486. Of course I'm not baling 5000 acres either. Some of those fields in Kansas and Nebraska looked like they went on forever. I also noticed that most folks up there bale big square bales. Those square bales sure stack nice.


The truckers like to haul them too. However, if conditions aren't right when you bale them, you have a lot of lesser quality hay. It's been known to happen.

Re: Machine?

Posted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:57 am
by sandhiller
That is a swather.

Hay goes through conditioning rollers to crimp the stems so the hay dries faster. For fine stemed grasses crimping might not help much. Tremendous difference on alfalfa & sudan type crops.

Don't have to be looking back all the time.
Most tractor mounted rigs have a much shorter bar, so takes a lot more running ti cover the same acres.

If comparing to a bar mower, the reel keeps the bar from plugging.

No running over hay when opening fields, so better for small od shaped fields as well.

Some are going to the rotating cutters. They drive them like they stole them, cover a lot of ground, use lots of fuel, takes lots of horse power, not likely to plug, leave a ragged cut, especially on shorter crops, regrowth can be slower.
Cost more. Need smother feilds than I have to drive that fast!

Here we cut with a 18 ft head on swather with a sickel bar, if hay is heavy, may only cut 14 ft to 16 ft.
When top dries, rake 2 swaths togather side by side, let dry some more. bale with a wide pickup head baler .

Very few big squares around here. What is baled that way is probbly for dairy, export, or trucking long distance.

They need to be stored inside, or tarped.

Hardly any big round bales around here ever are stored under cover.

If we need rain, go cut a lot more hay, down , if we are lucky, we will get more than .01 of rain before it all dries .

There are also pull type swathers.
Some guys put a swather head on a bi directional tractor, and pull a pull type hydroswing swather behind , usually both are 16 ft heads.

Re: Machine?

Posted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:14 am
by Silver
I would never go back to a sickle bar machine. Rotary mower conditioners are cheaper to operate and maintain, and far more productive.

Re: Machine?

Posted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:13 pm
by Mike