Zero grazing machine uses low ground pressure kit
(Volume 5 - 1996 Winter Edition)
Farmers are beginning to realise that the ever increasing weight of farm machinery is doing soil no favours, yet it seems that the days of using the small tractor for as many jobs as possible have gone. The dealer's logic, that a large tractor will do all the work of a small one and also operate big equipment, forgets the literal impression the machine leaves on the ground.
Some ten years ago Raymond Quinn from Co Coleraine decided to experiment with his cows’ forage and take advantage of the feeding value of fresh grass by using it right through to the end of December. he made his own lightweight zero-grazing machine that cuts and picks up fresh grass from the field. Over the early part of the winter he is picking up two tons a day and mixing this with silage 50:50. It reduces silage consumption and, as importantly, increases the the feed value of the forage considerably by raising protein, D-value and ME and reducing ammonia levels as a proportion of total N.
The low ground pressure rig is used to provide fresh grass all the way up to the end of the year
Cutting grass throughout this period in a high rainfall area means low ground pressure. The tractor he uses is a David Brown 990, weighing well under two tons, and running on tyres that are 30.5 ins wide fitted to a 32in rim. Fronts are 20ins wide on a 17in rim. He has a side mounted JF harvester which has a 4 cyl combine engine mounted on it. The additional weight of the engine is supported by a walking beam axle on the left, and all three tyres being wide ones off an Electricity Board Land Rover.
Harvesting wet and leafy grass present blowing problems, as the material doesn't project half as well, and the only answer is to get the harvester as close to the trailer as possible - hence the side mounting. The next difficulty was getting the side mounting around the wide wheel, so the original drawbar was adapted to hold the machine further out, and further back, reducing the blowing distance.
It must be the only engine-on JF single chop in the world - the spout is close to the trailer, as short wet grass doesn't blow at all well
The trailer is a New Holland forage box with added sides, riding on large wide tyres.
The result is a machine which has much the same ground pressure to the quad bike, allowing fresh grass harvesting in all ground conditions.
The 30in wide tyres on the DB990 give it an ATV foot-print, and the walking beam axle on the harvester and wide tyres do the same for the JF
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