During my school days, I spent many a summer on hay crews, stacking square bales onto wagons and into haylofts. Hay production has come a long way since those days, with round balers, large square balers, silage balers, and a variety of simpler and easier ways to handle those bales coming on the market.
New Holland recently introduced its BigBaler 340 High Density large square baler. According to the company, the BigBaler 340 High Density produces bales with up to 22% higher density than conventional large square balers, significantly increasing transport and bale handling efficiency.
“This new baler sets new standards in efficiency and productivity, delivering greater profitability by maximizing bale weight and reducing handling and transport costs,” says Simon Nichol, global hay and forage product management for New Holland.
“It’s ideal for the professional baling contractor and large-scale farmer who will enjoy the profitability benefits resulting from higher productivity and lower total cost of ownership.”
Let’s start upfront with New Holland’s new MaxiSweep pickup. It provides a smooth and accurate intake at higher speeds, resulting in increased capacity. This model also introduces the unique SmartShift gearbox that delivers a soft start-up for greater operator comfort and improved tractor driveline overload protection.
Operator comfort also is enhanced with a new intuitive user interface using the large IntelliView IV touchscreen display. Other automated features, such as the IntelliCruise technology system which automatically adjusts tractor speed, add productivity and comfort.
Plus, the industry-first hydraulic axle concept with a hydraulic suspension delivers perfect weight distribution and improved ground following, with easy maintenance access. The short drawbar concept gives operators excellent visibility and improved maneuverability.
The unique patented Loop Master knotting technology offers solid binding and protects the environment and the forage by greatly reducing the risk of twine snapping while eliminating twine cut offs.
New Holland notes its BigBaler 340 High Density achieves denser bales through the longest bale chamber in its segment and a plunger force of as much as 58% more than the previous New Holland model. It also includes all the benefits of the highly efficient CropCutter system and the pre-compression chamber technology specifically developed for high-density baling.
Weighing in at 1,200 pounds and more, these large square bales require some specialized bale handling equipment.
Case IH is providing more options for livestock producers by adding a lineup of large square baler accumulators to its hay and forage equipment portfolio. Designed for simplicity and handling of a variety of bale sizes and conditions, Case IH large square baler accumulators are fully automatic, so operators can concentrate on the baling process and not bales on deck.
Case IH accumulators are available in horizontal and vertical models.
The new accumulators require no daily maintenance and are compatible with open-center and closed-center load-sensing hydraulic systems. When the accumulator reaches capacity, the bales are automatically ejected off the deck and ready for handling. An in-cab monitor allows the operator to see how many bales are on deck and to manually eject bales at any time should the need arise.
For horizontal stacking, a standard three-bale accumulator is available in two models: the AC3108 for 3x3 bales and the AC4108 for 4x3 bales. For larger operations, there is now a five-bale accumulator option: the AC5150. For vertical stacking needs, the VS1208 stacks three 4-foot-wide bales neatly for easy loading.
If you’re interested in baling silage, John Deere recently introduced its C451R and C461R Combination Round Balers.
According to Nick Weinrich, tactical marketing manager for John Deere hay tools, these balers are a great option for producers who use individual wrapped or in-line bagged forage for silage.
“This is the first combination baler-wrapper that Deere has offered in North America that excels in meeting the baling capacity, speed, performance and versatility needs of customers who harvest a wide variety of forage crops,” Weinrich says.
The C451R Combination Baler can produce easy-to-handle 4x5-foot bales, and the C461R model produces bales up to 4x6-foot. To expedite baling, operators can continue feeding material into the baling chamber while the first bale is being wrapped and released.
“These new John Deere combination balers offer producers the ability to bale and wrap more bales per hour because of their harvesting capacity and speed of operation,” Weinrich adds. “More importantly, these machines provide high-quality, more uniform forage, with less waste and improved feed values.”
Improved feed values. Higher quality bales. Less waste. Sounds like what we were trying to achieve back in my summer hay crew days.
Michael Gustafson has written for and about farm equipment companies, their products and dealerships for more than 40 years, including 25 years with John Deere. He lives on a small acreage in Dennison, Ill.