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Combines & Harvesters Discussion Forum

swathing oats

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08-12-2017 22:53:22

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Got the Versatile 400 out today and cut one small field, maybe 8 acres. Have too much hay to go the next few days to swath more than that right now. This was the first the swather has been out of the shed since '14... couldn't put three dry days together last fall, and I had clean oats in in '15 - no need to swath then. Took a while to get gas to the carb, but then it fired right up and ran nice.

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08-14-2017 08:11:33

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 Re: swathing oats in reply to fordfarmer, 08-12-2017 22:53:22  
Never swathed oats or wheat. never had the weed problems for that. Neighbore decided one year years ag to swath his wheat to get it to dry faster for double croping wheat. Rained and he lost his complete wheat crop because of it. Used to combine a lot of red clover seed andDad always mowed and raked it to dry before the combine. I could just see the lost seed from that and talked him into trying direct cut and worked so much better, seed quality was better and way more of it. So no more cut ahead of combine. Have only seen just a few pickup heads for combine and they were all in the junk pile where they belonged.

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08-14-2017 16:06:18

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 Re: swathing oats in reply to Leroy, 08-14-2017 08:11:33  
In Minnesota and the Dakota's weeds are not the reason for swathing it is because of wet oats stems the size of pencils making oats harvest difficult. A few have straight cut oats but it is not the norm. Grain needs to go through a sweat whether in the windrow or the bin. It works to cure it in a windrow in this part of the country.

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08-13-2017 20:59:45

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 Re: swathing oats in reply to fordfarmer, 08-12-2017 22:53:22  
This has been another WET year here. I dairy farm, so hay follows my small grains...I don't want my seeding chewed up... it was too wet to spray the oats when it should have been done. Add in the good conditions for the weeds, and my first two fields are a mess. For some reason, I have 22 acres that was put in a little later that (so far) is very clean. I'll direct cut that, as long as it stays clean. My Grandpa went from being part of a threshing crew to owning an IH 82 with a scour-clean. He would occasionally hire the combining done, especially later on when the 82 started showing its age. I can remember him having the oats swathed once... and it rained, and rained... They were eventually combined, but I don't know how much was saved. He never did that again. The guys he hired had an IH swather and Gleaner combines. Don't remember the models... that was probably 35 years ago.

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08-15-2017 19:25:16

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 Re: swathing oats in reply to fordfarmer, 08-13-2017 20:59:45  
It has been the year for spotty, unpredictable rains, for sure. It poured like heck by me the other day, and I was certain the hay I had down 5 miles north of me got it - turns out it did not get a drop.

Has gone exactly the opposite, too.

Real hard to make dry hay this year. Hope this fall is not like the late 80's was around here - submerged!

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08-13-2017 19:46:12

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 Re: swathing oats in reply to fordfarmer, 08-12-2017 22:53:22  
If weather is right, harvest can be a week to 10 days earlier. Combining is a breeze if swathing is done correctly. Swath of grain with any green material is dry and flows so smoothly in under the auger and up the feeder house that the combine threshes, separates, and cleans like it was designed. Has to be done early in the season and is weather dependent. Preharvest Round-up has replaced a lot of the aforementioned conditions but still can't replace that good swath getting vacuumed up the feeder house and that smooth running cylinder and mill. Just sayen......Ron

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08-13-2017 18:56:50

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 Re: swathing oats in reply to fordfarmer, 08-12-2017 22:53:22  
Good to hear it ran ok for you!

I use an IH 230 to swath - has a easily removeable conditioner, so can use in hay or grain.

The swathing of grains has been making a comeback around here lately, NE WI. There are a few bigger guys with IH's and Deeres with pick-up heads.

Just too many weeds to handle. More people going organic-ish. Weeds grow exceptionally well up here.

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coonie minnie

08-13-2017 14:45:39

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 Re: swathing oats in reply to fordfarmer, 08-12-2017 22:53:22  
Here in SE WI, swathing is a last resort, and used if there is weedy and/or down grain, usually oats. Being not many grow oats any more, and those that do usually cut it for silage, it is a rare thing.

Two years ago, my father in law in central IL bought a swather, to cut some really weedy organic barley. The crop was a disaster! I don't believe he has used it since.

Back 40-50 years ago, some of those swathers could be used for hay, so it sometimes wasn't a special machine needed. Combines didn't handle weeds as well as today's, and the feederhouse reverser was just a dream, or at best a pipe wrench and cheater! So there was some more advantage. Today, getting someone to muscle through weedy oats with a big combine is a lot easier than sitting on an open station swather eating dust, weed seeds, and other itchies.

From what I gather, the Dakotas and Prairie Provinces of Canada would have been the main places for swathing, and I think they felt the grain safer from hail??? That was also the home of the big pull type combine, as you didn't need to worry about knocking down grain if it was already windrowed. Not sure if the swathing practice is still in effect there or not. Perhaps one of our Canadian friends could help...

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Jim Pollock

08-13-2017 18:28:18

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 Re: swathing oats in reply to coonie minnie, 08-13-2017 14:45:39  
Thanks for the education guys. I remember when I young, I helped my uncle combine and if we had a weedy patch, a lot of times we just skipped that spot because usually there wasn't much grain there anyhow.

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Jim Pollock

08-13-2017 08:28:06

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 Re: swathing oats in reply to fordfarmer, 08-12-2017 22:53:22  
I live in northeastern ohio and I have never seen anyone locally do an swathing. I am just wondering if this something that is only done in certain parts of the country or maybe certain conditions. I just never saw anyone do it around here. From what ive seen, they always just direct cut oats and wheat. Please educate me.

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08-14-2017 12:10:47

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 Re: swathing oats in reply to Jim Pollock, 08-13-2017 08:28:06  
Jim, that is the same here in western Ohio in the area you got the combine. If too weedy to want to cut it then it was not worth harvesting.

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08-13-2017 13:19:55

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 Re: swathing oats in reply to Jim Pollock, 08-13-2017 08:28:06  
Oftentimes there are weeds in the grain field that are still green when the crop is ready to harvest. Swathing, then letting the windrows dry for a few days lets the combine handle the material better, with less slugging of the cylinder.

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08-13-2017 08:21:48

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 Re: swathing oats in reply to fordfarmer, 08-12-2017 22:53:22  
I had an early 400 with reversing sticks. They were a decent swather in their day

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08-14-2017 07:55:23

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 Re: swathing oats in reply to WayneLee, 08-13-2017 08:21:48  
I started with a JD 800 with those sticks. Didn't like them, and was spending TOO much time and $$ on that thing. Found this Versatile in MN about 5 or 6 years ago. One owner, and they had moved away from small grains shortly after getting it. It's a late model, hydro, Ford 200 c.i. engine.

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