MANYPEAKS beef producers Jeff and Rebecca Blyth have vindicated their decision to buy a new McHale V660 variable chamber round baler.
Purchased this year from AFGRI Equipment, Albany, they were encouraged by farm employee and future son-in-law Rob Potter, who did all the homework looking for a baler that could produce hay and silage bales.
And the resultant bales tick all the boxes.
The requirements were for a baler that could handle tough and heavy crops while creating tight density bales, which are a priority for making silage.
An assessment of the V660’s oversized bearings and chains, with features such as a heavy duty three belt variable bale chamber with double drive and a drop-floor unblocking system, gave the baler a tick of approval, especially knowing conventional chains can break and belts can split.
According to operator Rob Potter, the heavy duty design and the big flotation tyres ticked boxes.
“In operation the bales were dense and well wrapped with the simple net wrap system and we put out some bales weighing around 1100 kilograms,” Mr Potter said.
“In most cases the bigger the windrow the better the baler went with no problems picking up in variable-sized windrows.”
According to Mr Potter, the heaviest crop of oats saw the McHale punching out 20 heavy bales a hectare.
“The wide pick-up (2.1 metres) gave a more even feed and the chopper worked really well,” he said.
With the ability for on-the-go bale density setting, via a ‘Control Console’, Mr Potter said it took him about 10 bales to get the right setting.
“We just stuck with it right through and the bales came out like bricks,” he said.
“It also was easy to service and I liked the fact that 90 per cent of grease nipples are on banks.
“The other good feature was the drop floor if the crop jammed while feeding.
“It eliminates the need to get in dig the material out.”
In operation, the knives and the drop floor drop together during the unblocking process, giving even more clearance to allow the blockage to be fed through.
The bale chamber on the McHale V6 comprises three heavy-duty endless belts which are extremely hard wearing and reinforced with synthetic material, which ensures that the belts can absorb and apply high pressure to the material in the bale chamber.
The variable chamber can make a bale from 0.7m to 1.68m and the bale size can be adjusted up from the minimum setting in increments of 20 millimetres.
The chamber also has a double drive, so in more difficult conditions, such as wet heavy grass, if the primary drive slips slightly, the secondary drive will engage to aid belt and material rotation.
McHale also has opted for a continuous oiling system on its V6 balers, driven off the gearbox to ensure adequate amounts of oil to all chains.
Grease can be applied to the main bearings through a number of centralised greasing blocks.
The Blyths also bought an Anderson ‘Hybrid X Xtractor’, from AFGRI Equipment Albany, to wrap the bales for silage.
It is a remote-controlled unit for starting, steering and stopping, without leaving the tractor and is ideal for in-line ‘sausage’ wrapping.
As bales are dumped, another operator places them in-line for wrapping in front of the ‘Hybrid X Xtractor’, which completes six or seven wraps as bales pass through its flexible hoop, which also can accommodate square bales.
“We did 50 bale runs, 100 bale runs and some were a few hundred,” Mr Potter said.
“The wrapper was doing 120 bales an hour and it easily kept up to the baler.
“We ended up wrapping 1200 bales for ourselves and we also did 1400-1500 for our neighbour.
“We want to play around with it wrapping hay to see how long the hay will last.
“With the hay you only do two or three wraps so I’ll trial a dozen this year and monitor it.”
A tip from Mr Potter was to ensure accessing quality wrap from a distributor.
“It stretches quite a bit so you need good quality,” he said.
“And always check the rolls for any damage to the edges because even a nick can cause a major tear.”