Video: ‘We didn’t want an expensive machine; that’s why we went this road’

AgriLand paid a visit to Geoffrey Brennan from Co. Kilkenny – a tillage and beef farmer who cuts his own silage.

He’s taken an interesting approach to this task, having mounted a modified Mengele (SH40) harvester on a self-propelled John Deere 5830 drive-unit.

John W Anderson spoke to Geoffrey to find out why. He explained: “We wanted more power [for the Mengele]; we also wanted hydrostatic drive.

“We actually had a self-propelled [Mengele] SF300 for years, but the problem was that second gear was too slow; third gear was too fast.” Geoffrey explained that it didn’t have a hydrostatic transmission; instead, it had a conventional clutch – coupled to a simple (belt-based) variable-speed drive system.

He added: “The harvester part [at the front] had the capacity to take grass in faster, but the engine used to get hot – [partly due] to the intercooler taking in pollen.

“Then we came across the John Deere [5830]; she had more horsepower and she had a hydrostatic [transmission]. So we started from there.”

He explained: “We stripped it; we took everything out. We even took out the blower box.

We put in a 60mm shaft, with a pulley on it, and brought three belts forward. We now have the Mengele driving at 620rpm.

“We fitted a three-point linkage to the John Deere – to lift the whole chopper unit. The Mengele has its own ram for the pick-up.

“Then we had to get a right-angle-drive from the pulley out to the head. We got a gearbox off a Claas butterfly mower; I believe that’s rated at 300hp.”

Geoffrey noted that the revs (on the Mengele) have increased from 580rpm to 620rpm; he reckons that this “increases the blow on the machine”.

He added: “We’ve always had a Mengele; this is a 2013 machine. We brought her in from Germany; she was too good to scrap, so we said we’d modify it for the John Deere.

We’re doing about 350ac – between myself, my brother and a neighbour; we do his as well. We’re picking up 35-42ac a day; that’s plenty for the equipment we have. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10ft or 20ft swaths.

He concluded: “We didn’t want an expensive machine; that’s why we went this road.”