Swathers/Mower Conditioners

(Jamie) We’re back! Let’s join Kyle and Dave as they discuss swathers, mower conditioners.
(Kyle) Hi this is Kyle Bauer, have the opportunity to visit with Dave Murdock. He’s with New Holland. And New Holland is the early innovator of what I call a swathers, or took the process of mowing and putting hay into a swath or a wind row, all in one operation. Can you tell us about that Dave? (Dave) Yea, back in 1964, before that time frame everybody was using a separate sickle bar mower and then they had a separate conditioner assembly that they had to pull either in tandem with the tractor or by separately going down through the field. New Holland in 1964 came out with the original Haybine Mower Conditioner, which combined cutting and conditioning into one operation. And it basically revolutionized the industry because we were able to combine operations. We gathered the technology, in 1965 we came out with the Chevron Roll Conditioners on the Haybine. That technology and innovation has worked well enough that we really haven’t had to do much of anything to it as far as improving the way that that system works. It provides a very uniform method of conditioning the crop, conditioning the stem so that the moisture escapes from the stem, but minimizes the damage to the leaf of the alfalfa plant so that you still retain the leaves and the nutrient value of the plant to maximize your feed value efficiency. (Kyle) Isn’t it amazing though, that you can take that technology from the early to mid-60s and you use it on so many different crops all around the world and yet the farmer expects you to make an implement that can do whatever they’re asking it to do in all different kinds of conditions? (Dave) Well, it’s certainly a challenge. The nice thing about this is that we have several different adjustments that we can work with. So depending on whether the customer is doing legumes, whether he’s doing grasses, whether he’s doing high tonnage forages, we have the capability to make those adjustments to the conditioning system so that we can maximize the efficiency of the conditioning, which maximizes the efficiency of the dry down, which allows the customer to get into the field more quickly so he can get the crop up at its optimum. So, it’s a very big challenge, but it’s one that we have risen to over the years. And we continue to lead the industry that way. (Kyle) Now a few years ago there was another innovation that was made when we went from a sickle bar to disks. (Dave) Yes. That’s correct. That happened in the early 1970s. Disk mowers came into play here as a result of the South American Fire Ant invasion that we had. It was a design that allowed us to cut through ant beds without having to stop and unplug the cutter bar and the conditioner assembly. So that was a true innovation. The other big advantage that a disk mower give us, or a disc mower conditioner gives us, is an increase in ground speed. Even by today’s standards if you have the most current technology on sickle bar mower conditioner, you’re limited to a maximum ground speed of about seven miles an hour, as far as cutting speed. A disk mower conditioner allows us to start out at about six miles an hour and go as fast as you want to go. I have a lot of customers that are running self-propelled machines that are running 10, 12, 14 miles an hour through the field. And they’re putting 16 to 19 feet through the header on the disk mower conditioning a crop and doing a very good job of getting the dry down and covering the larger number of acres that we have to cover on a daily basis now in order to keep these guys on their 28 to 32 day cycle as far as cutting crops. (Kyle) We’re visiting with New Holland. We’re visiting about swathers, mower conditioners. This is Kyle Bauer reporting. Back to you Jamie.
(Jamie) Thanks, Kyle. Next up is this week’s Kansas Soybean Update.

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