22 October 1999

Crimper excels in the wet

When it rains at harvest

time its not all bad news.

For one Cornish contractor

offering a crimping service,

the extra moisture content

is just what he requires.

Andy Moore reports

CORNISH growers are almost queuing up to have their grain crimped, says contractor Phil Strout, who plans to harvest, crimp and ensile 2000t of grain this year.

Impressive tonnage for a first years business, but Mr Strout has a head start – the bulk of his existing customers were converted from his former mobile dry rolling service.

The main attraction for his customers, he reckons, is the ability to harvest three weeks earlier than normal and the subsequent higher feed value of the grain.

"With crimping increasing DM grain yields by up to 30% and offering better digestibility than dry rolled grain, our customers readily agreed to try out the service," he says. "Another key aspect is traceability – growers can feed crimped corn as a home-grown concentrate without worrying about crop assurance red tape."

After securing his existing customers plus a number of new ones, the crimping service was started in late June following the purchase of a Korte 1400 S2x2 crimper.

Manufactured in Finland and distributed in the UK by Somerset-based Kelvin Cave, the trailed 1400 S2x2 machine has a rated output of up to 30t/hr. To achieve this rate, Mr Strout uses two combines fitted with 18ft and 16ft headers.

"So far, outputs have been impressive with the crimper keeping up with the output of both combines. Grain up to 25% moisture goes through the crimper at 15t/hr – 35% grain at 30t/hr."

Throughputs are altered by mechanically adjusting two shutters at set positions to vary grain flow onto two fluted crushing rollers.

For grain at 25% moisture or below, adding water through an inlet onto the two crushing rollers can increase dampness. After passing through the rollers, crimped grain falls into the central auger which delivers to a discharge elevator. The discharge elevator can be positioned to the left or right of the machine.

Drive to the crimper is via a tractor pto, which on Mr Strouts 125hp New Holland 8160, is run at 600rpm in economy mode.

In addition to water for grain dampening, Kortes Crimpstore 2000 preservative liquid can, if required, be added via an inlet onto the two crushing rollers.

For short distances, the crimper, with its 5t hopper can be used to convey grain to store, discharging the crimped grain into a customers clamp. Longer distanced jobs however, require trailer haulage with grain loaded into the crimper at the farm using a telehandler. For the latter situation, Korte recommends crimping and ensiling should be completed within 24 hours of harvesting.

Mr Strout has tried the crimper in wheat, barley and oats at various moisture levels and stages of maturity.

"The highest yielding crop was triticale which came off at 4t/acre at 35% moisture," he says. "By harvesting earlier, straw yields have also been boosted to 5t/acre."

More bales per acre is especially good news for Mr Strouts customers, considering the high straw consumption among Cornwalls smaller mixed farms.

For contract rates, Mr Strout charges £6/t – kept low at this stage to allow for a thorough testing of the machine in its first year.

In the future, the crimper will be equipped with weigh cells for more accurate measurement in-stead of the combine yield monitor system.

Next year, Mr Strout expects to double the tonnage to 4000t – a rate he believes will justify the machines £20,000 cost over three years. &#42