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Headed to Hay and Forage Expo

In 1971, Vermeer transformed the hay and forage industry with the introduction of the large round baler. More than 40 years later, the large round baler is still one of the most efficient ways to bale and store forage.

Next week I’m headed to the Hay and Forage Expo to take a look at the newest lineup of round balers. Below are the main features and products I’ll look into.

  • Are you headed to the show? Let me know what you’re going to check out. Can’t make it? What would you look into if you were going?

Advanced technology
Most recently the big news in balers has been the advancement of technology. You can control more baler functions from the comfort of the tractor cab than ever before, including selecting wrapping cycles, adjusting density, and monitoring key performance data.  

What’s next in technology control? Curt Hoffman, New Holland, says the company is working on a system so the baler will speak to the tractor and tell it how to operate most efficiently. You can expect to see this productivity-enhancing technology in the next few years.

Continuous round baler
Vermeer shook up the baler industry once again in 2014 when the company introduced a prototype for a continuous round baler (CRB). This revolutionary baler forms two bales at the same time, which will be a huge time saver.

Vermeer won’t have the CRB at the expo – the company is still refining the prototype – but the highly anticipated baler will certainly be a topic of conversation among showgoers. I’m visiting Vermeer at the company’s headquarters in Pella, Iowa, in July to get an update on the CRB, so stay tuned.

New players in the marketplace
Established baler manufacturers aren’t the only ones bringing new features to the market. Back in 2013, Kubota jumped into the hay tools market with a line of disc mowers, a rotary rake, and tedder. The next year they came back with mower conditioners, bale wrappers, and round balers – proving that Kubota plans to become a major player in the hay equipment industry.

Timesaving features
Kubota’s new round balers are available with a drop floor, which allows you to easily clear blockages from the tractor cab. This timesaving option is also available from several other companies. Manufacturers are constantly adding features that boost productivity – like New Holland’s CropSaver hay preservative. The preservative allows you to effectively bale at moistures up to 30%, so you can start earlier, work later, and bale hay even when the sun isn’t shining.

Higher density
By making denser bales, you can reduce baling time and cut back on handling, wrapping, and transportation costs. Plus denser bales keep forage in better condition with their ability to keep out moisture. New balers have more available features to improve bale density, including better belts, dual cylinders, and chopping systems.

More capacity
All of the bells and whistles on balers don’t do much good unless the baler can gather and pick up all of your crop. Manufacturers are continually adding more pickup options – New Holland has four options for its line of Roll-Belt balers – with different widths and numbers of tines based on your application and the amount of capacity you require.

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