Pull type silage chopper - The Combine Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-06-2019, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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Pull type silage chopper

So after getting my custom chopper bill last year I have decided enough is enough and going to buy a pull type chopper. Ether a John Deere or New Holland. Somewhere is the mid 2000s range and at lest a 3 row header. As far as header, I want to get a rotory style header. I raise a lot of oats/ barley and peas for feed also, so with that being said should I also look for a hay header? Or just stick with the round baler? I know very very littler about choppers.. What should I look for? What wears out first? With out getting the brand war started, what models JD and NH are the better ones? Can you load trucks with a pull type like the self propelled guys do? Power wise, I have a 7150 Magnum, or a STX440 quadtrac. Planning on having the wife run the cutter, so I want one big enough that it works the tractor rather than tractor overpowers the chopper. Thanks in advanced

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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-06-2019, 12:40 AM
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A jd 3970 or 3975. New holland fp230 would be similar size and a fp240 would be a bit larger capacity.
Look for worn out metal on the spout and behind the cutterhead. The condition of the feed rolls /knifes/ and shear bar/ cross auger if it has one and the blower paddles and housing. Parts can add up in a hurry so it would be nice to know the history of what has been changed recently on one your looking to buy. Nothing more frustrating then having your chopper break down in the middle of the day.

I would use the 7150 on the chopper too much HP and things will break. I'm not sure the rating on the 7150 but we used a 240 PTO hp tractor on our 3970 without any trouble. It will make the tractor snort if you want it to. Yes you can blow into trucks if it has the right spout on it but it doesn't work as well as a SP chopper for it.


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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-06-2019, 01:01 AM
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How do you feed silage now? If you have a vertical mixer already (that can handle the silage bales) making silage bales may be a very decent option for you.

If chopping is the way to go for sure...
Loading trucks can be done, likely requires a vertical chute extension, we had two separate with ours when we sold it.

I am assuming you are referring to headers for the chopper? Never ran a corn header on our pull type, just a pickup header that we used for barley and alfalfa mostly, sometimes oats or triticale or rye. Often found that a big swath (30+ft) would power things out too much (we ran a JD 3975 pulled by a JD 4640) could have used either a better transmission (power shift would've been great) or more overall power (if the driveline would handle it). Frustrating to try to load trucks on the fly if you are starting and stopping a lot

Regular wear items will be pick up teeth, knives, blower paddles, etc. Can get decent quality from aftermarket like kooima, etc. Higher hours will start seeing wear on cross auger, blower chute. Some bearings here and there. We did buy a complete new chute from kooima for our self propelled last year, and will be paying more attention to the replaceable liners before we wear through the entire body on this one.

All in all, you can absolutely make decent silage if you have the man power. The one fundamental difference between JD and NH pull type vs self propelled is the cross auger. They both have it and it is a drag on the power and efficiency. It's where ours would plug up the easiest (where auger dumps into blower). I honestly don't know if just pouring more horsepower to it can fix it or if it's just a bottleneck, no way around it. Setting the cut length shorter does help to keep it from plugging as much, but longer lengths do pack and feed better in many situations, so it's a bit of a trade off. This is one big benefit of the self propelled, everything is one big line, cutter feeds right into blower. There are one or two manufacturers of pull type choppers that don't use cross augers. jF Stoll is designed where the cutter chops up and throws material straight into the chute (no room for a kernel processor though, so not a great choice in corn) and Dion makes one with cutter, kernel processor and blower all in a line. But they are both pretty small companies with limited dealership coverage.

So yeah, that's what I think I remember. We never put a kernel processor in ours so no idea how that ties in, likely crammed in there somewhere. Take most of the shields off and leave them in the shop, you will need to get in there and grease things more than anything. Aftermarket walking tandems are likely a decent option if you can find it. I liked JD's individual knives vs NH's one piece curved units, but either can get the job done

Good luck, feel free to ask any other questions that float through...
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-06-2019, 08:41 AM
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You're going to have a lot of start up money from scratch, how bad was the chopping bill?

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-06-2019, 09:05 AM
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We use a JF stoll. Probably the largest capacity pull type out there. I would recommend it. It will make a 200 pto hp tractor work hard if u want it to.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-06-2019, 10:55 PM
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Dion makes a nice chopper. Fp240 new holland is probably second as far as capacity. Hay head for chopping grass type crops. We ran a fp240 for years till we went self propelled. 200hp tractor with 3 row corn head. You can load trucks but everything is on the wrong side. You might look into a smaller self propelled machine. Prices aren’t terrible compared to a bigger pull type and wear liners and other parts last longer
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-07-2019, 12:07 AM
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I can't recall what the weak point was with the 3970, but when I worked at an AGCO dealer, they ended up with a bunch of them(nearly new) on trade on Hesstons. Even the die hard green guys weren't willing to keep running them. And they were unmarketable, sat on the lot for years. Perhaps they have since been updated or upgraded and would be better now. Virtually all NH around here now, and a few JF's.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-07-2019, 12:39 AM
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I can't recall what the weak point was with the 3970, but when I worked at an AGCO dealer, they ended up with a bunch of them(nearly new) on trade on Hesstons. Even the die hard green guys weren't willing to keep running them. And they were unmarketable, sat on the lot for years. Perhaps they have since been updated or upgraded and would be better now. Virtually all NH around here now, and a few JF's.
Only trouble we have had with ours (3970 and had a 3960 before it) is keeping the top back feed roll bearings in them. Change them every year and they are good for us for the season. We only chop 1000-1200 ton a year though. The back cross auger can give trouble in grassy conditions also. It will plug up on the support right at the blower entrance. Never had trouble with that doing cereals. I like the smaller knifes on the jd we have a few small rocks and it's a lot easier and cheaper replacing a 6" knife then a full length one.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-07-2019, 01:01 AM
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Only trouble we have had with ours (3970 and had a 3960 before it) is keeping the top back feed roll bearings in them. Change them every year and they are good for us for the season. We only chop 1000-1200 ton a year though. The back cross auger can give trouble in grassy conditions also. It will plug up on the support right at the blower entrance. Never had trouble with that doing cereals. I like the smaller knifes on the jd we have a few small rocks and it's a lot easier and cheaper replacing a 6" knife then a full length one.
Feedroll bearings does sound familiar now that you mention it. They made it out to sound like they were complete lemons at the time. A couple bearings a year as preventative sounds viable.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-07-2019, 01:12 AM
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Feedroll bearings does sound familiar now that you mention it. They made it out to sound like they were complete lemons at the time. A couple bearings a year as preventative sounds viable.
There is a couple different change ups for them along with instructions of how to replace them so JD must of known it was a problem. They are a hex shaft bearing and easy to replace and not that expensive. We had a heck of a time a couple years ago keeping the bearings in it and getting the crop to feed. We replaced a couple worn out rolls and last year it was a totally different machine the best it has ever ran for us.

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