Alfalfa headers can use two different cutting systems, self propelled sickle knives header for large farms or trailed rotary disc headers for smaller operations (up to 10 pivots, or 400 to 500 hectares).
For large farms, we recommend MacDon (Canada) self-propelled headers. The draper cutting system allows a cleaner cut of better quality than a rotary disk system, this encourages better regrowth of alfalfa and higher longevity.
The cutting system is the most fragile part of the header, it often results in the need for frequent servicing if the system is too fragile. MacDon's cutting system is considered the most robust on the market.
MacDon bar mower with a cutting system considered the most robust on the market
It is also important to have a conditioner, to accelerate the drying process and thus improve the quality of feed. MacDon self-propelled headers are also equiped with a very aggressive steel roller conditioner which allows perfect conditioning of alfalfa (aggressive, yet retaining the leaves).
The draper cutting system is quite expensive, it is not recommended for small farm sizes. We then tend to recommend for the use of rotary disc headers with conditioner. These are cheaper, stronger and more productive.
We have selected machines from different manufacturers, notably Marangon, Claas or Lely.