Windrowers (also known as swathers) are used to cut grain and leave the stalks arranged in 'windrows' so that they can be threshed and cleaned later on. They are usually used in areas where direct combine harvesting is impossible or during especially rainy periods. They are also used when the grain has ripened unevenly and in the UK, oil seed rape farmers usually harvest with a windrower.
Because the cut grain dries out to become suitable for threshing, the harvest can be brought forward by up to ten days compared to when using a combine harvester. This reduces the amount of grain lost significantly.
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The standard design of a windrower is made up of a cutter bar (either powered by an engine or driven via a shaft from a tractor), a reel which sweeps the cut grain over to a platform and a conveyor belt (usually made of canvas) which moves the grain over to the side and drops it into a windrow where it will dry. The grain will all be arranged in the same direction ready to be threshed.
As well as cutting grain, windrowers can also be used for other crops such as potatoes and other vegetables. In the UK, windrowers are used extensively in harvesting oil seed rape.
The main question to ask yourself when buying a windrower is: do I need tractor-drawn or self-propelling?
Generally speaking, self-propelled models are more expensive than tractor-drawn versions but they do have several advantages. Firstly, self-propelling windrowers tend to deal with uneven terrain better than tractor-drawn ones because of their separately oscillating right- and left-hand axles and air suspension, although not all models will have this feature. Secondly, because they tend to be a much smoother ride than tractors, they're less tiring to use. Thirdly, they protect your tractor from the wear and tear caused by pulling a windrower over rough fields and lastly, self-propelled windrowers are usually more efficient than tractor-drawn ones and so reduce the amount of time spent harvesting.
Tractor-drawn windrowers are typically much less expensive than self-propelling models and tend to be simpler devices that are easy to move from tractor to tractor.
At www.farmmachinerylocator.co.uk we regularly take delivery of all types of windrower and are able to them offer them at unbeatable prices.
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