Equipment Specs


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Agricultural Equipment
Equipment Specifications - RitchieSpecs
Free specifications for all classes of equipment
1996 Massey Ferguson 220 25 ft. Swather
Swathers, also known as windrowers, are agricultural machines that perform two tasks in a single pass through a crop: first, they cut hay, forage, seed, and grain crops,[1] then they windrow the resulting stalks to dry, for later threshing and cleaning.[2] Swathers are commonly used before combines in areas with shorter growing seasons, such as Canada and the northern Great Plains. This enables even grain maturation and curing before the end of the harvesting season. Swathing is also useful in reducing losses due to the effects of insects, hail, or frost.[3] Standing cereal crops in some regions (such as Canada), are windrowed to avoid losses caused by wind.[4]


[edit] History

[edit] Early Hay Harvesting

In the 1800s and early 1900s, hay was grown for a wide variety of farming operations in northern American states, and around the world. Haymaking was profitable for farmers in areas such as South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado at the time, as it was used for feed by horses and mules.[5] The drawback of harvesting hay was its time-consuming nature. Farmers were forced to use a variety of implements to carry out the entire process, which included mowing, collecting the mowed crop, manually arranging into windrows for drying, and raking or turning over the material in the windrows to assist drying.

1985 John Deere 2360 30 ft. Swather

[edit] The First Swathers

As early as the 1910s, brothers August and Ole Hovland of South Dakota had built 32-foot (9.8-m) swather for use on their own short crop harvesting applications. The brothers never marketed their invention, and it was essentially forgotten.[6]

By the 1920s, farmers in the Northern Plains began seeking a way to use combines for spring hay harvesting. As autumn frost was a prevalent issue in the area, farmers were apprehensive about leaving the harvest until spring, when wheat was ripe enough to be processed by a combine.[7]

Helmer Hanson of Lajord, Saskatchewan, sought a solution for this harvesting dilemma. Having known the Hovland brothers in his youth, he recalled their swather invention. Identifying an opportunity, Hanson began the development of his own windrowing machine. In 1926, he designed two 20-foot (6.1-m) swathers with the help of his brother, Ellert.[8] The swathers quickly gained popularity, and were soon duplicated. Engineers at International Harvester, having observed the operation of the Hanson brothers’ swather, developed their own model. In 1927, IH became the first company to offer swathers for sale.[9] These early machines were powered by a ground wheel, but subsequent models were PTO-driven. With the introduction of these implements, farmers were able to windrow hay, then process the hay using the combine during the appropriate season.

In 1949, Lyle Yost of Hesston, Kansas, formed a company by the name of Hesston Manufacturing.[10] The company soon obtained production rights for a combined hay harvester from the owner of an Iowa machine shop. By the 1950s, Hesston Manufacturing had unveiled their swather. As a result of this development, Yost achieved great financial success in the Great Plains. The popularity of the swather facilitated the growth of Yost’s company, which eventually employed over 1,000 people. In 1966, the company was renamed Hesston Corp.[11] Today, Hesston products are part of the AGCO family of brands.

[edit] Features/How it Works

[edit] The Swathing Process

Swathers comprise a large sickle-bar mower that cuts the plant just above the ground. Once cut, the standing crop is pushed by a reel into a mower. Wide, rubber canvases known as drapers are then used to move the crop to a slender opening that forms the windrow. Self-propelled swathers’ cutters must be properly adjusted for height to ensure that the crop is cut at the appropriate height. Some swathers can be used for double swathing, laying a windrow beside a previously lain one. These models are beneficial when crops are light, as they reduce pick-up losses. Additionally, side-by-side windrows make combine operation more efficient.[12] Certain swathers include pickup reels to lift crops that are close to the ground. Other crops need to be protected against the wind, and are therefore pressed into the ground stubble by the swather with a roller.

[edit] Types

Swathers, the most commonly used hay-cutting machines, are either pull-type or tractor mounted, using a tractor’s power take-off, or self-propelled;[13] pull-type swathers are the least costly.[14] As pull-type swathers are designed for crops such as peas, they are designed differently than their self-propelled counterparts.[15]

Self-propelled swathers are advantageous as they are able to start cutting without making tracks in the crop, as all their driving components are located behind the cutter. As well, self-propelled models consist of a drive system and tricycle chassis that enable them to turn sharply in such a way that they can avoid driving a wheel over the windrows.[16]

[edit] Common Manufacturers

[edit] Additional Photos

1989 Massey Ferguson 885 30 ft. Swather
1990 Versatile 4750 22 ft. Swather
1995 Premier 1900 30 ft. Pull Type Swather
1995 Westward 9000 25 ft. Swather
1997 Case IH 8825 HP 25 ft. Swather
2000 MacDon 3000 Pull Type Swather
2001 Prairie Star 4952 25 ft. Swather
2002 MacDon 9350 Self-Propelled Swather
2002 New Holland HW320 Swather
2005 Hesston 9240 30 ft. Swather
International 4000 Swather
John Deere 2420 21 ft. Swather
White 601 24 ft. Pull Type Swather
White 6200 20 ft. Swather
1980 International 4000 24 ft. Swather
White Cockshutt 501 15 ft. Pull Type Scraper
2000 MacDon Premier 1900 25 ft. Pull Type Swather
Case IH 750 50 ft. Duplex Pull Type Swather

[edit] References

  1. Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers. Equipment Valuation Assistant. Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Incorporated: 2004.
  2. Windrower. Britannica. 2008-09-23.
  3. Swathing. AB Heritage. 2008-09-23.
  4. Culpin, Claude. Farm Machinery. Granada Publishing Ltd: 1981.
  5. Wishart, David J. Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. U of Nebraska Press: 2004.
  6. The Swather. Prairie Public. 2008-09-23.
  7. The Swather. Prairie Public. 2008-09-23.
  8. The Swather. Prairie Public. 2008-09-23.
  9. The Swather. Prairie Public. 2008-09-23.
  10. Wishart, David J. Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. U of Nebraska Press: 2004.
  11. Wishart, David J. Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. U of Nebraska Press: 2004.
  12. Swathing. AB Heritage. 2008-09-23.
  13. Swathing. AB Heritage. 2008-09-23.
  14. Kubik, Rick. How to Use Implements on Your Small-scale Farm. MBI Publishing Company: 2005.
  15. Culpin, Claude. Farm Machinery. Granada Publishing Ltd: 1981.
  16. Kubik, Rick. How to Use Implements on Your Small-scale Farm. MBI Publishing Company: 2005.