In 1978, Hesston Corporation introduced the Model 4800, the industry’s first large square baler, revolutionizing hay production and feeding practices at a time when labor availability and fuel prices were driving a need for innovations on the farm. Big square balers have come a long way since then, and on May 16, 2013, a large crowd gathered at AGCO’s Hesston Operations to celebrate the 25,000th large square baler built in Hesston, Kan.
Credit for the big baler idea is generally given to Allen White, who spent more than 25 years as a company engineer. White started his research by building a giant bale chamber in the engineering lab and manually packing it with hay. When the 4-foot-by-4-foot bale did not get hot or spoil, engineers went on to build the first prototype baler. They quickly realized that the side-feed approach currently being used would not work, and in 1975, the first prototype that fed hay into the bottom of the bale chamber was built.
After extensive field-testing, the Model 4800 was perfected and released in 1978. Field testing and working with farmers to meet their needs have always been a hallmark of equipment development at Hesston. These productive balers proved to be a more labor-efficient and economical way to harvest, store and feed forages.
Today, balers built in Hesston are sold in as many as 39 countries and used to bale everything from alfalfa and grass hay to wheat straw, miscanthus for biofuel production, and even recyclables such as newspaper and aluminum cans.
“It is amazing to look back at all that has gone into today’s big baler models,” says Dean Morrell, product marketing manager, Hay and Forage. “Building the 25,000th baler is an invigorating milestone and a great tribute to everyone who has been involved in its development. I know there will be even more innovations in the future large square balers built in Hesston.”
Tomorrow, May 16, the 25,000th large square baler will roll off the assembly line at the AGCO facility in Hesston, Kansas USA and be presented to its new owner. Here are a few fun facts about the large square baler to help kick off this historic event
• The first large square baler — the Hesston model 4800, produced at the AGCO facility in Hesston, Kan. — was introduced in 1978.
• Nearly 50 individual patents were awarded to the original baler.
• There are at AGCO 15 employees who were involved with developing and building the first large square balers and are still working at the Hesston facility today.
• Together, they have 610 years of experience working at the Hesston facility, with tenures ranging from 36 to 49 years.
• Large square balers built in Hesston have been sold under the following brand names: Hesston, New Idea, Massey Ferguson, Fendt, Challenger, Case IH, New Holland and AGCO.
• They have been used to bale everything from alfalfa and grass hay to wheat straw, miscanthus for biofuel production and even recyclables such as newspaper and aluminum cans.
• Large square balers manufactured in Hesston have proudly been sold and delivered to customers in as many as 39 countries all over the world.
• Hesston by Massey Ferguson Models 2170XD and 2190 create bales that are 4-feet x 3-feet or 4-feet x 4-feet, respectively, and can weigh up to a ton.
AGCO will host the 2nd annual Africa Summit on January 21, 2013 in Berlin, Germany.
Food security has never been so profoundly challenged. In 2050, it is projected that the global population will rise to more than 9 billion people. The challenge is to produce more food to meet this ever-increasing demand; with less resources and at a higher cost than ever before.
In addition to the world’s exploding population, diet patterns are changing: as developing nations gain affluence eating habits shift from staple crops towards more consumption of dairy and meat products. Annual meat production alone will need to increase 75% by 2050 to keep up with demand. This puts further pressure on already-dwindling reserves, and means society will have to make a trade-off between growing crops to feed the local community, and delivering marketable goods to meet demand elsewhere. Innovation and investment has driven agricultural productivity to new highs in developed countries, and should now be redirected towards a continent that has the resources and potential to feed the world.
Africa provides the answer. Nowhere in the world is there such an abundance of untapped resources. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) 15% of the world’s arable land lies in Africa, of which 86% remains uncultivated. Pre-1960 – Africa provided 10% of the world’s food – that figure is less than 1% today.
Africa lies at the heart of what promises to be a new Agricultural Revolution.
The solution is to develop a systematic approach that enables a strategic partnership to deliver crops that feed increasing populations in an economically, environmentally and socially responsible way. While the challenge is enormous, the opportunities are both substantial and achievable. Farmers are among the main beneficiaries of agricultural development and are at the very core of the solution. But there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. A lack of infrastructure, mechanization and technology across the continent calls for market-based cooperation between farmers, private industry, government and society to establish a new blueprint.
Africa holds the key to ensuring a sustainable food supply, but only if a new road map for progress is developed, harnessing both the expertise of the private industry sector and the knowledge of local communities.
With the new year upon us, the AGCO team wants to continue to provide you with relevant and valuable information. We want to know more about you and what posts you would like to see on the AGCO blog for 2013. We are asking you to take our brief survey so we can find out what you want to read!
Tell us what type of content you would like to see, and we will make it happen. Share with us what you love about AGCO, and we will continue to deliver it for you.
Also, by completing the survey and entering your email address (optional), you will be entered for a chance to win some awesome AGCO gear!
Created in response to a report on the current status of soil and water management, the Centre, based at Harper Adams University College in Shropshire in the English Midlands, aims to provide ‘sustainable improvements’ in farming and ecosystem efficiency through better knowledge co-ordination, transfer and development.
Challenger has committed to backing the Centre for three years and will be involved in knowledge transfer days, ongoing research and extensive educational programmes for farmers and agronomists.
“Challenger’s mission statement: ‘Your Soil, Our Territory’ fits particularly well with the project,” explained Martin Hamer, Challenger Manager National Sales, UK. “Our tracked machines are already helping farmers to look after their most valuable resource – the land.”