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Self-propelled forage harvester

Self-Propelled Forage Harvester : General Information

A pneumatic silage harvester is an agricultural machine that is as well known as a forage harvester. It harvests not only grass, but corn and cereals that are not yet mature. A forage harvester harvests haylage in order to produce silage. The harvester then cuts a foraged plant into very fine pieces so that they can be easily consumed by livestock. Harvesters can be pulled by a tractor; in this case they are called trailed forage harvesters. They can, however, as well be powered by a proper engin. Nowadays, the most modern harvesters are self-propelled and can be accompanied by a tractor with a trailer. Current foragers can harvest up to 2000 tons of silage per day.

The silage process is done to conserve the grass or corn through a process of lactic and alcoholic fermentation. The feed is crushed, packed and put into silo to be fed to livestock. The forage harvester, unlike the combine harvester, does not stock what it reaps; the corn or grass is ejected from the chute into the tractor's bucket. Forage harvesters can be equipped with a fan so that they can send the silage to a trailer. To collect grass, the harvester is equipped with a spike roller which takes the cut grass towards a worm. The worm then carries the grass into the machine where it is chopped.

There is a lot of different equipment available for foragers, even if there is always the same cutting process. Rotary corn beaks or cutter bars can be used, and are traditionally mounted onto the combine harvester.

With a classical six rowed beak, daily maintenance is important to limit wear and tear. Rotary six rowed beaks require much less daily maintenance and its usage in the field is easier because it doesn't have to follow the beak's rows. They allow a more regular supply of silage and require less power. However, their weight is slightly higher up, and therefore cutting height can be quite high. The stopping time of the saws is relatively long.

Self-propelled forage harvester

Self-propelled forage harvester


Harvesters from Claas are currently the world leader in the field of SPFH. But manufacturers such as John Deere, New Holland and Case IH offer their own models. Krone is the last recognised producer of foragers on the market; it offers an extremely powerful machine with 1100 hp. beaks, with corn beaks of fourteen rows. It manages to remain light because chains are used instead of rotating drums.