All aboard the ‘train’: Rake and bale your silage in a single pass

Below (see video) is the ‘Hay Train’. It’s a contraption that enables you to attach your rake (or grouper) to your round baler – thus carrying out two operations with a single pass of the tractor.

The ‘machine’ was doing the rounds back in 2012; the footage (below) shows the unit in action – coupling a ‘spider-wheel’ raker a John Deere 468 baler (which, in turn, is mated to a John Deere tractor).

The unit attaches to the baler’s drawbar (or tongue, as they say in the US) – allowing you to tow the rake in-line behind the baler on the road and off-set in the field. It was designed to pull eight, 10 and 12-wheel ground-driven rakes.

It comprises a 20ft-long boom (riding on a dolly wheel). A pivot (at the front of the boom) allows the rake to move in or out of the required line.

To attach or disconnect the rake, it’s simply a case of inserting/removing a pin and coupling/unhooking a pair of hydraulic hoses.

At the time, a price of around $5,000 was being quoted.

We’re not quite sure what’s happened to the ‘Hay Train’ concept since; there’s little mention of it on Premier’s website at present.

Who or what is Premier?

Premier is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana (US). There, it’s known as a manufacturer of machinery parts and accessories such as hydraulic earth-auger attachments, trencher attachments, pallet-forks, bale-spears and snow-ploughs.

As well as agriculture, it sells its wares into the light industrial and construction sectors. The company also custom manufactures parts and accessories – for bespoke projects. It claims to have the equivalent of four decades of “combined experience” under its belt.

Premier was founded back in 2001. The first products offered were so-called earth-augers; it now sells to customers across the US and Canada – though a network of dealers.

Front-mounted alternative

Earlier this year, we brought you details of Agronic’s approach to one-pass raking and baling. Its WR500 front rake is designed to be used on either a tractor’s front linkage or even on a front loader.

Also Read: Here’s the ultimate ‘one-pass’ system – for baled silage contractors

It’s principally aimed at contractors; the idea is that the rake is attached to the front of the tractor that’s driving the baler (or a ‘combi’ baler/wrapper).

While there are other front-mounted rakes out there, Agronic says its WR500 is purpose-designed for this job.

In work, the rake is in the ‘float‘ position – with its weight bearing down on its own wheels (as is the case for a typical ‘trailed’ rake running behind a tractor).

The working width (up to 5.1m) is hydraulically adjustable; the operator does not need to leave the tractor cab when switching from ‘work’ to ‘transport’ position. The transport width is close to 3.5m on ‘standard’ versions; it is possible to configure a variant with a transport width of just 3m.

Agronic

Drive to the rotors is hydraulic. Rotation speed of the rotors is controlled by regulating the oil flow. The tractor must be able to muster a minimum, continuous throughput of 20-35L/ min (which is relatively modest).