FW Inventions Competition 2021: John Baines’ single-pass forager

Complex category runner-up

John Baines’ single-pass forager

Farm manager John Baines runs a sideline machinery building/contracting business and one of his recent ventures has been to flail, collect and haul brassica residues to an AD plant.

To do this very specific job, he’s built a front-mounted flail mower and forage harvester combination that blows the material into a trailer towed behind his Fendt 930.

This complex machine was put together over the past 12 months with the help of Josh Inchley and it took a huge amount of work to design and perfect.

However, has turned an otherwise convoluted process involving another contractor into a one-man job.

The main components of the rig are a Standen potato haulm topper, a Kverneland/Taarup 10X forager and a set of potato harvester webs to carry the material between the two.

See also: High-hour Horsepower: 26-year-old forager still going strong in Herefordshire

What was involved

Getting all of these elements to work together was a tricky task.

First, the pickup and drawbar were chopped off the forager and the drive was re-routed to the rear of the machine.

As the front pto turns anticlockwise, they had to fashion a completely new driveline with a slip clutch for protection.

The topper is driven via a driveshaft that runs over the top of the forager and the potato harvester webs get their drive off the side of the flail.

There are three of these webs in total: two that act as mergers bringing the material chopped by the flail into the centre of the machine and another set at 90deg to send it into the mouth of the forager.

Other tasks involved fitting the forager with a new wiring loom and extending the spout so that it had sufficient height and length to fill the 18t Stewart silage trailer being towed behind.

This trailer was made with a V shape in the headboard for material to pass through.

Working speeds range from 4-5kph, and once the trailer is full, the forager arrangement is dropped off and the tractor hauls the load to the AD plant.

Although the machine was designed for collecting brassica residues, Mr Baines says it’s also capable of cutting beet tops, cereal wholecrop, hemp and more.

He’s built several other pieces of veg machinery, including harvesting rigs, and is currently working on a device to filter and improve watercourse quality.

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