Forage harvesters are farming implements used for automated harvesting. You can find them either attached to a tractor or as self-propelled units. Both forms use drum or a flywheel with knives for chopping forage. The chopped form (silage) is blown out through a tube into a carrier linked to the harvester or to another adjacent vehicle. Larger self-propelled forage harvesters also contain paddle accelerators for speeding up the unloading process.
As different types of forage differ in their hardness and flexibility, different kinds of blades are used in the chopping heads which can be detached and reattached to the harvester.
Since its inception self propelled forage harvesters have gone through a series of improvements in their design and structure and now you can find models as if they are specially crafted for your purpose. They have helped farmers saving them immense manpower and speeding up the entire farming operation. They are quite indispensible if one desires to practice extensive farming in its true meaning.
Forage Harvester and Accessories
Looking back into history, as per the records of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), the first one to patent a forage harvester was William J. Conroy from Quebec, Canada in the year 1891. The preliminary machine had a sickle to cut the crop with system to lift it into a cylindrical curved bar cutter-head. That time the machine failed to gain much commercial success but marked the starting point of very useful and vital farming equipment.
In 1926, Floyd Waldo Duffee built silo filler having attached hay loader. With the consent of ASABE, J. I. Case Co. decided to build a model for Duffee to perform tests. At the same time, the Fox River Tractor Co. was on its way to develop another kind of forage harvester under the guidance of its chief engineer, Erwin W. Saiberlich. The company rolled out its first harvester in 1932 and later re-released it in 1936 with some improvements. The Saiberlich model of forage harvester became so popular that till mid 1980’s most of the forage harvesters carried its preliminary design.
The most important brands of forage harvesters are: John Deere, Claas, New Holland and Krone.