Tough grass, low-volume conditions made for rake

A 260-horsepower self-propelled rotary rake has been developed by Ploeger for windrowing grass in silage production.

“It’s a self-propelled belt merger, it has two five-metre-wide elements, which will pick up grass onto the belt and then you can discharge it left or right,” said Niels Antonissen of Ploeger.

“Or they can be separated, leaving space, about one metre and a half in the middle so you can also make centre rows. So it’s quite a flexible machine.”

He said the company plans on selling the machine in Europe, but eventually hopes to send units to North America.

The Netherlands-based company launched the CM4240 at Agritechnica last winter, and the machine it had on display was the fifth machine it produced.

“Last year, we had three machines in the field in those markets. One in Denmark, one in Germany, one in Holland, and we try to test in as many conditions as possible. We’re now ready to sell the first,” Antonissen said.

The CM 4240 is hydrostatic driven, four-wheel drive, rear steering, and the rear axle is adjustable with one a one-metre movement range to enable tighter turns in field position.

“For road transport to give you lots of stability it goes all the way to the back. When entering the field you can put it to the front to make sure you have a very short turning radius, making sure you can make the turns on headlands,” Antonissen said.

The two rotary rake sections lift up and fold back in 40 seconds with the push of a button to get into transport position.

He said there are other products on the market built to rake other forage crops like alfalfa, and that double driven swath rollers on the CM4240 were built specifically to handle all grass conditions.

“In Western Europe you have these sticky conditions, you have the high protein late autumn conditions, and very tough grass, low volume. In all these different circumstances this machine will do the job,” Antonissen said.

There are five rotary discs on each five-metre section and the pick-up is self-adjusting by always keeping the same amount of weight on the skids.

The rake can reach working speeds of up to 20 km-h, and the windrows are up to 1.5 metres wide so they are relatively uncompacted and easy to handle.

“You can do between 10 to 15 hectares per hour (25 to 37 acres per hour) and that means you have higher capacity, so you are less dependent on weather conditions,” Antonissen said.

Antonissen was speaking at Agritechnica in Hannover, Germany last November.

He said the Ploeger CM 4240 retails for about 275,000 Euros and they come fully equipped aside from an optional Raven CR7 GPS.

Ploeger is targeting custom operators that put up feed for dairy operators that have stringent feed requirements.

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