Companies race to find better ways to haul in the hay
Hay quality is highly dependent on moisture content. Too wet, and you could face mold or other spoilage problems. Too dry, and it becomes harder to bale, and you could take a big hit on nutrient value. Throw in the threat of inclement weather, and getting the highest-quality hay forage possible can quickly turn into a race against the clock. Here are some of the industry’s latest endeavors to help producers strike a balance.
John Deere has introduced six new self-propelled forage harvesters for 2013. Company officials describe the new 7080 Series as "technology-rich."
Overlap costs money and has no return on
"We’ve integrated the latest technology: HarvestLab for moisture and nutrient analysis; KernelStar advanced kernel processing, which increases the processing surface by 270% compared to conventional processors; and the Infinitely Variable Length of Cut (IVLOC) system, which lets the operator change the length of cut in 1 mm increments on the go, right from the cab," says Shaun Fritchey, John Deere product marketing representative.
A dual-wheel option provides better in-field traction and a more comfortable ride at higher speeds, he adds.
The new LB4 square balers from Case IH are bigger and boast faster performance. With larger capacity, the gearbox output has gone from 42 to 48 strokes per minute.
"The new design has increased capacity by as much as 20%, and the high-speed baling means producers can get more done in a day without compromising bale density or shape," says Brett DeVries, Case IH forage marketing manager.
The new Krone BiGPack HighSpeed range of large square balers delivers more throughput, say company officials. This is due to two major modifications: an increase in throughput capacity of the Variable Fill System (VFS) and an increase in plunger strokes.
The VFS packer system now has five tine bars (prior FORAGEmodels had six), which allows for an 18% capacity increase. Plunger strokes for the BiGPack 1270, 1290 and 1290 HDP models have also been enhanced from 38 to 45 strokes per minute, adding up to a 20% increase in throughput of the balers.
The new BigBaler Series from New Holland also features a 20% increase in capacity and a 14% increase in gearbox speed. The BigBaler 330 produces 3'×3' bales, and the BigBaler 340 produces 3'×4' bales.
Digital solutions. New technology was added to the BigBaler Series as well. The SmartFill system uses sensors to monitor the flow of crop into the chamber for more uniform side-to-side density. This information is displayed in the IntelliView in-cab monitor so operators can ensure the crop is being evenly fed and can quickly correct if overfilling to one side occurs.
The new WR Series windrowers from Hesston uses precision ag technology to achieve efficiency without sacrificing speed. Operators can tap into the machine’s System 150 Precision AutoSteering to reduce skips and overlaps. Hands-free steering also reduces operator fatigue and allows users to work at overall faster speeds, explains David Swain, manager of ATS Marketing North America at AGCO Corporation. "You’re pulling top-quality hay at up to 16 mph," he says.
Many farmers don’t take the time to do the math when it comes to the cost of overlap, Swain adds. "Let’s say you have 1,000 acres, and the typical overlap is 10%," he says. "You’re now farming 1,100 acres. You’re spending money that has no return on investment."
A faster forage is indeed possible, thanks to these and other new equipment and technology advances. Talk with your local equipment dealer to know which options will be the best fit on your operation.