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School Me on Swathers


zleinenbach

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can someone point me in the direction to learn some about these pieces of equipment? swathers, windrowers, self-propelled equipment.

I would like to know more about the process of them, what stuff is used when, do you use conditioner rolls if you’re making wet bales? All that stuff. I have zero experience so feel free to make fun of me and laugh before.

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Here in Central Iowa,  we bale  alfalfa hay.  So,we use a mower conditioner that cuts the stems on the plants. Then they travel through the crimping rolls to break up the stems to dry faster.   Machine deposits them into windrows to dry.  Some self propelled machines do the same thing.

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We have a NH Speedrower 220. It has steel conditioning rolls with a disc head. The only thing we change when making wet hay is the time allowed to dry, maybe an hour or two at the most. There are settings you can change, but it’s not necessary for our use. 

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i’m trying to plant wheat in the fall and utilize it for cattle feed in the spring.

currently the plant wheat as an erosion control cover crop, then spray it before planting. just seems silly to pay $ to spray when i’d assume cattle would eat it?

maybe it’s a pipe bomb dream, or more likely an uneconomical solution.

current situation is FIL has to get hay from neighbors who have extra. it’s all fine n dandy when there’s excess, but that wasn’t the case this year. just trying to utilize what we’ve got and sometimes it’s thinking outside the box.

but no one around here does that so I have no idea where to start looking. Disc mower versus sickle.? Do I bail it or shove it in a bag? Any precautions or things to worry about while feeding wheat? Am I an idiot and need to resort to lurking on the Internet on red power magazine? 

 

 

on a side note, has anyone spread turkey manure on pasture ground? 

wondering what rate would cause burning or damage.

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We utilize cereal rye for cattle feed. We used to bale it wet and put it in a bag, but have just been running it through the chopper the last few years. If you can get whatever you want, get one with a disc head. If you use it much, sections/guards are always worn out or broken and disc mower knives can be changed much more easily and will still cut even if mangled by rocks/debris. I haven’t seen a new mower with a sickle in a long, long time around here. 

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We planted rye and dry baled it in mid May usually.  We cut when it was in the boot stage. Made decent enough feed.  We fed it with a haybuster and they ate it well.  In the ring they wasted a lot even compared to other types of hay. As for windrowers and such, disc mowers with conditioners make up a good majority of the newer hay cutting equipment around here.  They do very well in alfalfa and forage crops like cane and so forth.  They don't so as well in grass.  That is where a sickle machine shines.  You don't have the speed but the cut is more uniform and even.  Either way you should be fine.  Disc mowers also require more horsepower to run effectively.  If you're under 125hp, I'd stick to a sickle machine.  It will run that just fine. It's on the low end for a 13-16' disc mower.  Traditional swathers are for windrowing crops so they can be gathered with a pickup head on a combine.  Sickle bar mowers are the old reliable.  No conditioners or windrowing ability but they allow the crop to air dry better.  North and West of me there are still tons in use.

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If you're gonna make grain hay, be sure it's beardless. Sickle bar is fine in grain hay. I have a NH, 1116, 14', double knife with a conditioner. They're a dime a dozen out here. Bad thing is only 4' conditioner, so they put it in a windrow instead of flat,= longer cure time, but cheap machines and easy to maintain. Sometimes you need to bump the rows to help with the drying. I tend to double on 2 ton or less per acre. As said, cut no later than milk stage on grain hay. Mine is used on alfalfa/grass or triticale/beardless wheat/barley mix. What kind of baler you use makes a difference on cure time.

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The downside I see with making grain for forage is having the weather to get it off in the appropriate time frame.  Rye comes hot and heavy here in May and if you have a wet month and cant get to it, it gets too far along and your pretty much stuck with a grain crop, or feed with drastically less feed value.  

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Swathers are the norm around here. Got draper heads for windrowing grain crops for harvest. Got auger and disc heads with conditioners (crimpers) for hay and forage. Some guys that are chopping hay or grain for silage use the draper heads since no need to crimp it and can run wider passes without raking. Some auger headers have narrow crimper rolls and you're limited how wide of a swath you can lay, some are 8 feet or wider and you can lay the swath to the edge of the tires on both side. Disc heads are very popular too but like has beennsaid not very good in a light stand. There's alot of different options out there. One thing that guys run in to issues with here is with the flail type conditioners in a grain type crop for dry hay, the flails will knock the grain out of the heads so a roller type crimper is preferred

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6 hours ago, zleinenbach said:

i’m trying to plant wheat in the fall and utilize it for cattle feed in the spring.

currently the plant wheat as an erosion control cover crop, then spray it before planting. just seems silly to pay $ to spray when i’d assume cattle would eat it?

maybe it’s a pipe bomb dream, or more likely an uneconomical solution.

current situation is FIL has to get hay from neighbors who have extra. it’s all fine n dandy when there’s excess, but that wasn’t the case this year. just trying to utilize what we’ve got and sometimes it’s thinking outside the box.

but no one around here does that so I have no idea where to start looking. Disc mower versus sickle.? Do I bail it or shove it in a bag? Any precautions or things to worry about while feeding wheat? Am I an idiot and need to resort to lurking on the Internet on red power magazine? 

 

 

on a side note, has anyone spread turkey manure on pasture ground? 

wondering what rate would cause burning or damage.

We do that.  Harvest wheat then plant silage behind it.  Wheat is good cow feed.  Makes sweet silage.  BUT here it needs 4 days in row.  We wont ted it since the corn stalks and such are hard on tedder.  Cut it and let it lay then day 4 rake and chop.  Here we make grass not alfalfa.  Also  .. wheats, triticlae, and rye for cover/inner seed crops.  We plant 40 to 50# a acre.  Lot of liquid manure, everyone used Mower Conditioner units.  Pull or self propelled.  10' is nice since rows dry easier vs my 15 and 16' units.  Smaller pile in row.  Prob 50/50 flail vs roller conditioning.  Flail is ok but dont dry as quick early season esp.  Flails use more hp.  With grasses plug more too imho.  We cut from 8 to 15mph with mowers here.  Goal is to cut it as quick as you chop it.  And with a 40' rake things go quick.  If we were rich wed have a triple set of Claas mowers.  Amazing how quick they do a field.  

Agco brands are most common here but Claas is close close.  Lot of NH pull behind but guys didn't recommend them when I asked before we bought a 3rd Massey/Agco one a few years ago.  Said plugging in heavy wet cover crops was main B.  Self propelled is faster but more to break.  Grease grease grease... then conditioners are under a lot of stress.  A 10' with a 80hp tractor be good for your size deal.  And the mower would last long time.  If used just looooook over good.  Its pretty easy to put big hp on an tear them up.

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3 hours ago, Cdfarabaugh said:

The downside I see with making grain for forage is having the weather to get it off in the appropriate time frame.  Rye comes hot and heavy here in May and if you have a wet month and cant get to it, it gets too far along and your pretty much stuck with a grain crop, or feed with drastically less feed value.  

All we grow here for innerseed/covers is rye.  And yes it fast and wet!  We make it into silage wetter than ill tell yall.  But man its nice feed

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Oh and fwiw for feed quality make baleage if someone can.  Way better when 40% moisture with rye esp.  Wheat mid 30% seems best.   We always figure if you make silage it lays 24hr.  Marshmallows/baleage 48 under same conditions.  

Hay would be min 5 days and 3x ted here

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so the baledge is just a matter of plastic wrapping enough to keep it from spoiling? 

or should i be looking at other storage means?

 

i’ve been reading wheats can cause bloating, are there ways to mitigate that risk?

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My 2 cents discbine will cut much faster and you will be glad you have it if you get down crop.  If the crop stretches from the turkey litter and you get  rain/wind blown over crop isn't out of the question.  Most guys here do what you are talking with rye or triticale.  Some drill bin run rye getting cost per acre way down. Direct cut barley is growing in acreage but it won't be off soon enough for you the way it sounds.  Nothing wrong with litter on pasture or hay ground.  Layer manure (potent stuff) is also used on hay ground.  Get a manure analysis and soil sample.  That will tell you tons/acre to apply.  Penn State university is $40 for manure analysis and something like $12 per soil test.  Maybe you have a resource like our university?  Don't discount the value of your turkey litter.  If you were here it would be worth something to you and to whoever you sell it to.

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1 minute ago, zleinenbach said:

so the baledge is just a matter of plastic wrapping enough to keep it from spoiling? 

or should i be looking at other storage means?

 

i’ve been reading wheats can cause bloating, are there ways to mitigate that risk?

Baleage is oxygen free environment.  You can wrap square or round individually wrapped or tube wrapped. 

I would guess and only guess bloating would be if the feed was really hot.  If it is in a bale i would think it would be fine.  I cant see how it would be different then the other small grains but maybe someone will correct me.

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the manure we sell each load out. 

this year we have a new crop renter and one stipulation was spreading manure on pasture here.

FIL says no due to it burning grass.

I say throw light loads on it and it can’t hurt this white clay mountainside…

 

he doesn’t have RPF to throw ideas at smart people.

and i dont have seniority to overrule him.

yet 😂

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