Works with a reciprocating knife which can be removed for sharpening.
Figure 1: A reciprocationg knife mower
Figure 2 and 3: A front mounted mower (left) and a rotary mower (right)
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Front Mounted Mower
A reciprocating knife mower which has a ground speed of up to 10km per hour, and has a variable cutting width depending on the job at hand.
This type of mower has four revolving knife discs which from time to time require sharpening. This mower can mow at a speed of up to 18km per hour and has a cutting width between 1.2 and 2 metres. These machines can be set to form wind rows by combining alternative swaths of cut hay. The cut hay can then be baled directly from the swath.
Rotary cutter suitable for slashing cotton stalks, bush regrowth, crop residues and long thatching grass. It has a cutting width of 1.2 to 2 metres.
2. CONDITIONING MACHINES
Once a crop of grass or lucerne has been cut for hay, particularly crops of thick, green material, it must be dried out and brought into a suitable condition for baling or stacking. This is done by keeping the material ‘fluffed up’ in the swath so that wind and sun can reduce the moisture content from about 80% to 20%. At this moisture level, the hay is too dry for rotting, caused by bacteria decay, to take place. Furthermore, hay that is dried out quickly will keep its green colour and sweet smell. Hay that has become bleached has lost much of its nutrient value and all the carotene, and loss of carotene means loss of the Vitamin A in the material. The best hay is made quickly before it can be affected by rain or too much exposure to the sun. Rain washes out the nutrients and sun bleaches them out.
Figure 4: A trailed mower conditioner
The machine in Figure 4 is a trailed mower conditioner with a working width of 2,4 metres. It has a rotary fixed tine conditioner system, and will cut a heavy crop of grass or lucerne and at the same time leave the swath in a loose, fluffed up condition to allow for quick drying.
The machine below in Figure 5 is an old-fashioned hay tedder which is run over the cut swath. The revolving tines fluff up the cut material and leave it in a loose condition. With a heavy crop, this may be done twice a day until the hay is ready for baling.
Figure 5: An old fashioned hay tedder
Figure 6 and 7: An acrobat swath turner or hay rake (left) and a combined swath turner and sidedelivery rake (right)
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The illustration in figure 7 shows a combined swath turner and side delivery rake. A centre section can be removed to allow tow swaths to be turned over, and with the section in place, two swaths are both turned and raked together into one larger swath for baling.
The illustrations in figure 6 shows an acrobat swath turner and hay rake which can be set to turn over two swaths or to rake two swaths into one large swath for baling. This is an efficient machine with few moving parts.
3. BALERS AND BALE HANDLING
Figure 8: A Square bailer
Figure 9: Square bales on a flat bed trailer
The baler shown in figure 8 can be used to pick up and bale hay, straw or maize stova. The pickup width is 1.5 metres, and two swaths of a thick crop can be handled if they have been raked together. The length and density of the bales produced can be altered by adjusting the bale outlet at the back of the machine. The weight of the bales will vary from 13 – 20 kg depending on the material, and output will depend on the thickness of the crop. The illustration in figure 10 and figure 13 show methods of handling the bales using machines rather than hand labour.
Figure 10 and 11: Bales thrown directly into the trailer (left) and bales can be stacked by hand (right)
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Two methods of handling bales. In Figure 10 the bale is being thrown directly into the trailer from the baler, and in figure 11, bales are stacked and loaded from the ground by hand.
Figure 12: Producing large round bales
This type of baler being used to produce large, round bales. The hay is not cut or chopped in any way, but is rolled up and tied with string. Each bale weighs about 0.5 tons. These bales are looser and use less string than the small bales, but they require machinery for moving and stacking. It is claimed that these balers make better hay than the smaller balers because the hay can dry out in the bale more easily. In wet climates these bales are covered with plastic and stored in the field.
Figure 13: Mechanically loading large bales