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Choosing the right baler

Although sales of big round and square bales is increasing, on many farms small bales that can be handled manually are still the popular choice. Michael Williams reports

balerA Krone Comprima round baler equipped with the EasyFlow cam-free pick-up reel.

Working with large bales, both round and square, requires mechanical handling using a telescopic loader or a loader attachment on a tractor. This is the most efficient system for farms or industrial processes using large amounts of baled

crop material, but for small and medium farm requirements the traditional small sized bales can offer the most cost effective handling system.
As well as being light enough to carry, there are other reasons for the popularity of small conventional bales. They are more convenient to use where small amounts of feed or bedding straw are needed, and another attraction is that the balers have a low power requirement with most models suiting tractors in the 45 to 65hp range.

Modest power requirement
The modest power requirement is one of the main reasons for the popularity of the Markant baler in the Claas range. There are two versions, the Markant 55 needing 45hp plus while the recommendation for the 65 model is
at least 60hp. Both Markants make bales with a 46cm x 36cm cross-section, but the 65 model specification includes a 1.85-metrewide pick-up reel instead of 1.65 metres for the 55 baler and there are other differences
including a bigger twine box on the 65. As well as working with small tractors, the popularity of Markant models is also helped by the simple design with features such as
manual adjustment of the pick-up reel height with hydraulic control offered as an option.

Claas has one of the most comprehensive baler ranges available, but the Markant is easily their top selling baler in Africa, with Morocco their biggest market in North Africa. There is also an increasing demand for big square balers from the sixmodel
Claas Quadrant range, which includes a 120cm x 100cm bale size for the top model, but demand for round balers remains small apart from increasing sales in the South African market.

About 70 per cent of New Holland balers sold throughout Africa are BC series small bale models. The other 30 per cent are mainly fixed diameter round balers plus small numbers of variable chamber models and big square balers. The BC series
models are the BC5060 plus the higher specification BC5070 with a 2.0-metre wide pick-up instead of 1.8 metres. Both have a 46cm x 36cm bale chamber with the length of the bale adjustable between 31 and 132cm, and minimum power
requirements are 45 and 60hp. The BC5060 is easily the most popular model, with the BC5070 baler restricted mainly to the South African market.

Recent design improvements for New Holland Roll-Belt series variable chamber round balers are said to increase output by up to 20 per cent. Most of the increase is achieved by fitting a new pick-up reel and feed mechanism, and a drop-floor feature has been introduced on the latest version to simplify blockage clearance. The round baler range also includes the BR6080 and the higher specification BR6090 version.

The John Deere range includes two small bale models, the 359 and the 459 both sharing the same 46cm x 35cm cross section. The 359 has a more basic specification and is available in all markets, while the 459 for users with a more
demanding work load is sold only in South Africa. The specification differences start at the pick-up which is 1.75 metres wide on the 359, increasing to 1.98 metres on the 459 model, but both versions have six tine bars to achieve more efficient crop collection. There is also a difference in the plunger speed, which is 92 strokes per minute for the 359, increasing to 100 strokes on the 459 to achieve a density increase, and the 459 also has a larger twine box capacity.

Power recommendations at the p-t-o are 47 and 61hp respectively.

The rest of this article can be found on page 36 of the digital edition of African Farming

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