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Row-crop Forage Harvesting Equipment

The first and oldest system requires a row binder to cut and bind the crop into bundles. Horse-drawn row binders were supplanted largely by the tractor-drawn power-takeoff row binder. Usually the bundles of corn or sorghum were dropped on the ground, then manually loaded on wagons, trailers, or trucks and transported to the silo. Now this system has been supplanted by power-operated field forage harvesters.

The second system of harvesting and chopping green row crops consists of a combination plant-cutting unit and a chopping unit. The complete machine is called a field forage harvester. The field forage harvester performs the functions of both the row binder and the silage cutter, as it severs the standing stalks from the ground and chops them into silage in one continuous operation in the field. It does, however, require a blower at the silo.

There are at least ten advantages of the field forage harvester. They are as follows:
  1. Eliminate the drudgery of lifting and loading 10 to 15 tons of heavy green bundles of corn per acre.
  2. Provides ensilage at lower cost.
  3. Provides more than of feed per silo
  4. Permits filling the silo when the crop is at the right stage
  5. Makes ensilage with greater feeding value.
  6. Provides more uniformly of feeding value from any part of the silo.
  7. Provides a more uniform, solid pack without air pockets, thus preventing molds.
  8. Causes no wilting of leaves or loss of previous moisture
  9. Leaves no mud or contaminating soil bacteria on butts
  10. Avoids soggy material which often occurs when the silo is filed too only with green, immature corn.