Faster mowing, heavier bales

13 Jan, 2016 01:00 AM
John and Chris Field with their new Massey Ferguson hay equipment.
John and Chris Field with their new Massey Ferguson hay equipment.

A Massey Ferguson windrower and baler has cut hay making time and squeezed in more weight for a central Victorian farming family.

Chris and Angela Field run their own farm and manage and coordinate the cropping and baling operation for Chris’ parents, John and Cheryl Field’s farm.

In total Chris and Angela look after a total of 4000 ha – 1600 ha at Avoca, Victoria and 2400 ha about 90 km to the north at Cope Cope, near Donald and grow oaten hay, lentils, beans, canola, vetch, hay, wheat, barley and oats.

“Dad and I combine our resources during the busy sowing and harvesting times but we run two separate farming enterprises. Dad owns the mower and I own the baler,” Chris Field said.

John Field added an MF WR9770 windrower with a 5.8 metre MF 9196 mower conditioner front and nine-metre MF 5200 draper front in September last year.

It was their first Massey Ferguson mower conditioner. “We did a lot of research and read a lot about people who had bought it and liked it,” Mr Field said.

“The twin max conditioning system is why we went for the Massey Ferguson. It has hydraulic pressure on the roller. This is far better than others we looked at, which use springs.

“You can alter the pressure quite easily just by turning a dial. We do a lot of export hay so it’s also got our curing time down.”

The new mower is also faster than their previous self­propelled mower.

“With the Twin Max conditioning system, I reckon this mower makes us, at least, a week quicker than our previous machine. I know the season is different this year but it was a lot quicker,” Mr Field said.

He said the cab suspension, rear suspension and power were highlights and the autosteer “holds really well”.

“The auto steer on our old machine was always dropping out but the Massey Ferguson never drops out and is as straight as a die,” he said.

“It’s comfortable to sit in and quiet. You don’t have to have the engine revving all the time; you can idle it back a bit. We were really impressed with the machine and it has ended up being a lot better than I thought it was going to be.”

Chris added a new MF 2270XD large square baler at the same time and has already punched out 6000 bales.

“I usually keep my balers for about four years [and] we liked the high density of the new 2270XD and the speed, which is faster than the 2170,” he said.

“Compared to the 2170 I’m averaging up to 100 kilograms a bale more with the new baler. I can’t load the truck up now because it’s overweight.”

The 2270XD is fitted with five knives across the chamber for chopping oaten hay.

“Oaten hay grows four to six foot high and the dairies want it chopped slightly, so the cows aren’t pulling out big pieces of hay," he said.

“I think that’s also probably made a lot better bales, as the shape of the bales in this baler is a lot better than we’ve ever had. It is a very neat­shaped square."

Tom McKenny

Tom McKenny

is the national machinery writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media


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