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Fun Facts About the 25,000th Large Square Baler 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 eventHS_25k_Baler_Banner_v1

• 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.

 

Baling Tips for Superior Hay Quality

Whether you choose large-round, large-square or small-square bales, making high-quality bales that preserve hay quality, maximize protection from the weather, and are easy to store or transport boils down to following a few rules.Bailing Tips

The first, and most basic rule, is simplest of all: “Get out of the tractor, and check your baler and the first bales from a field to make sure adjustments are right, so the density and shape of the bales are correct,” says Dean Morrell, AGCO Product Marketing Manager for Hesston by Massey Ferguson hay products.

“The biggest mistake people make is moving too fast when they start baling. They don’t get out of the tractor to verify that everything is right, and if it is not, to tweak adjustments until it is,” he says. “The same rule applies to cutting, conditioning and raking. It’s a missed opportunity if you don’t get out of the tractor cab.”

Adjusting a baler to produce high-quality bales is relatively straightforward, says Morrell. Of course, by starting with windrows that are uniform in width and in the amount of hay they contain, producers help ensure bales are consistent in shape and density. Also, windrows that are as large as possible to meet the baler capacity help minimize the amount of loss during the baling process when hay is at its driest and most subject to leaf loss from handling.

Operating manuals provide a full rundown on how to set balers to make dense bales that are consistent in size and shape. Here are Morrell’s quick tips for doing the job right:
• Set baler pickup tines about one inch above the ground. This helps prevent contaminating the hay with dirt, which raises ash percentages and reduces digestibility. Baler wear and tear caused by picking up stones also is reduced or eliminated.
• Set the hay pickup flotation so that the pickup follows the contour of the ground at or just above the tine height setting. If the tines aren’t digging into the dirt, the flotation setting is about right. Regularly check the hay pickup for bent or broken tines and replace them as necessary. Be sure to stock up on replacement parts before the hay season begins.
• Synchronize the field speed and the baler pickup speed so the hay is lifted from the windrow and flows into the bale chamber. Pickup loss is lower when windrows are heavy because the baler is operated at a slower field speed, and there is less contact between the hay and the baler components.
• Bale chamber loss, particularly of the valuable leaves, is typically two to three times greater in round balers compared to square balers. To minimize bale chamber losses in round balers, the feed rate should be as high as possible to minimize the number of turns the hay makes within the bale chamber. This can be accomplished by using large windrows and high forward speeds. Since pickup losses are normally lower than chamber losses, it’s usually better to have some pickup loss by driving faster but reducing the amount of time it takes to form the bale.
• Monitor bale density. Even if your baler has a density gauge, it is still critical to get out of the cab and “thump” bales to verify that the density is high enough so that bales hold their shape and provide maximum protection from the elements. “You really don’t want to be able to stick your fingers into the bale,” Morrell says. “If you kick the bale, it should hurt your foot.”
• Follow drive directional arrows on the baler monitor to make sure hay is fed consistently across the width of the bale chamber so bales have square shoulders. This helps round bales shed moisture, and improves stacking attributes of square bales.
• Hay moisture at baling is a critical factor in determining superior hay quality and long storage life. Assessing moisture before baling depends on whether it is stem moisture or moisture from dew. The moisture present from dew will seep through the hay to some degree, while stem moisture will not. When the stem moisture is too high, spoilage can occur. Moisture at baling for large square bales should be no greater than 12 to 15 percent; for round bales, no greater than 16 to 20 percent; and no greater than 18 to 20 percent for small-square bales. The exception to this rule is when hay preservative is applied during baling, which allows hay to be baled with moisture content up to 30 percent.
• To reduce leaf shatter and resulting nutrient losses, avoid baling when hay moisture is too low.
• Make sure all operators know how to adjust the baler for top quality.
• Keep up to date on regular maintenance to ensure peak machine performance. Be sure to visit your local dealer to stock up on pickup tines, common bearings, chain repairs, belts, shear bolts and other common repairs before the hay season starts to minimize downtime from common breakdowns. Dealers often have a list of recommended parts for on-farm stocking and may offer preseason discounts for parts purchases.
Hesston has been providing innovation and solutions to farmers since 1947, and is the industry leader in hay-harvesting products. For more information about Hesston by Massey Ferguson products or to find a dealer near you, visit hesston.com.

Raking Tips for Superior Hay Quality

A good raking job can be the difference between quality hay and uneven bales that are subject to spoilage.Hesston Hay Tips 04 2013

Whether you are cutting, conditioning, raking or baling, all steps in the process of making high-quality hay require attention to detail. Any slip-ups along the way can compromise the end result. Raking is perhaps the most critical step in the process, as more leaf loss can be caused by improper raking than by any other step in the harvest process.

“A good job of raking can make baling high-quality hay relatively easy,” says Dean Morrell, AGCO hay and forage product marketing manager for Hesston by Massey Ferguson and a 35-year veteran of the quality hay business. “On the other hand, if raking is done poorly, the result can be poor-quality bales that are subject to spoilage.” Morrell reminds producers to avoid raking alfalfa or clover when the forage moisture is less than 35 to 40 percent to prevent the loss of nutrient-dense leaves. Leaves contain two-thirds of the protein and 75 percent of the total digestible nutrients (TDN) in alfalfa hay.

Raking can’t be avoided, because this process gathers a mowed swath into a windrow or gathers two or more windrows into one for more efficient baling. By creating windrows that are uniform in width and in the amount of hay they contain, producers help ensure bales are consistent in shape and density. Also, by creating windrows as large as possible to meet the baler capacity, the amount of loss during the baling process can be minimized when hay is at its driest and most subject to leaf loss from handling.

In addition to proper timing and technique, properly setting the rake ensures good results. Overall, wheel rakes are simplest to set, but rotary rakes, which have more adjustments, often provide superior results, with less dirt contamination in the hay, and therefore less ash, which reduces forage digestibility. Check the operator’s manuals for full details on best practices for setting and operating your style of rake for superior hay production.

Here are several tips on how to set and operate rakes. Except where indicated, tips are for rotary rakes:

  • Set rake tines of rotary rakes to skim just above the ground, so they don’t dig up dirt, contaminating the hay and wearing down tines unnecessarily. Set wheel rakes to have as little contact with the ground as possible.
  • Make sure rotary rake bogey wheels beneath the rotor are level. The rotor should have one-half to 1 inch of ground clearance on all sides at all times.
  • Set the tine arm release based on crop conditions and the size windrow you desire. A dry, fluffy crop requires an earlier release setting. For a heavy, wet crop, use a later release setting.
  • For maximum drying, set the windrow as wide as possible.
  • If the rake is PTO driven, synchronize the field speed and PTO speed for a gentle lifting and turning action. This helps avoid aggressive handling that can cause excessive leaf loss.
  • Operate the rake at a consistent speed to create an even windrow for uniform drying and fewer slugs of wet, bunched hay, thus allowing hay to be fed smoothly and evenly into the baler for superior baler performance. The end result will be high-quality bales and reduced risk of crop spoilage.
  • Stay up to date on regular maintenance to ensure peak machine performance including daily greasing of pivot points and hinges. Tighten bolts and replace broken or worn tines. Check tire inflation regularly.
  • Be sure to visit your local dealer to stock up on replacement tines and basket and rake wheel bearings before the season starts to minimize downtime from common breakdowns. Dealers often have a list of parts recommended for on-farm stocking and may offer preseason discounts for parts purchases.

Hesston has been providing innovation and solutions to farmers since 1947, and is the industry leader in hay-harvesting products. For more information about Hesston by Massey Ferguson products or to find a dealer near you, visit hesston.com.

Hay-Cutting Tips for Superior Hay Quality

With alfalfa acres uncertain after the 2012 drought and both grass and alfalfa hay inventories low in many areas, brisk demand for high-quality hay is expected again in 2013. Whether producing hay for your own use or to sell, making the most of the available crop begins with cutting. Timing, technique and equipment all play important roles in success. Following are some helpful reminders as producers go into the 2013 production season.

Massey Ferguson disc mower

“Cutting hay is often dictated by the environment and the hay-drying conditions, but a general rule is to cut after the dew is gone and when topsoil is dry, to reduce soil compaction and facilitate better drying of the crop,” says Dean Morrell, AGCO product marketing manager for Hesston by Massey Ferguson hay products and a 35-year-veteran of the quality-hay business. Research has shown that hay quality is higher when hay is cut while the sugar content remains higher in the plant. As daytime air temperatures rise, sugar content in the plant decreases, so cutting later in the morning or early afternoon results in lower hay quality.

The demands of the environment and the individual operation also will influence the choice in equipment used. Modern sickle-type or disc-type mowers, windrowers and swathers are capable of cutting forage crops fast and cleanly, leaving a smooth, even windrow that maximizes crop dry-down. Disc mowers offer the advantage of allowing hay to be cut earlier in the morning or later in the evening, when better leaf moisture means less loss of nutrient-rich leaves.

“No matter what machine is being used, there are several things people should strive for when they cut hay,” explains Morrell. “First, you want a good, clean cut that will leave the plants with as little stem damage as possible, so they’re ready for quick regrowth. Second, you don’t want to leave any crop behind, and it’s also important to minimize dirt in the crop.”

Here are tips from Morrell for maximizing tonnage of high-quality hay with any mower or mower conditioner model:
• Proper blade maintenance is critical to achieving a good cut. Blades must be sharp to cut the forage cleanly and to minimize stem and leaf shattering. Check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations on blade-change intervals, and be sure to stock up on replacement blades before hay season starts.
• Choose the right blade for the job. Shallower 10- or 11-degree blades create less air lift, thus pulling less dirt into the forage. If less suction works for your crop conditions, these blades can be a good choice. Thick, matted forage may require a blade with more lift, such as an 18-degree blade. Bottom-beveled blades have an advantage if they hit a stone or rock because they bend upward, away from the cutter bar.
• Set the cutting height at 1.5 to 3 inches. This reduces contamination from dirt, making the crop easier to rake and to pick up with the baler. To avoid dirt and ash contamination and reduce knife and general mower wear and tear, avoid pitching the cutter bar downward at too steep an angle.
• Set the header flotation height to avoid scalping the soil surface and wavy cutting height from one end of the field to the other. Ideally, the cutter will gently float across the ground without scuffing the surface. If you see scuffs or dirt streaking across the field, you don’t have enough flotation pressure, or the mower is set too heavy. If you see waves in the field, you have too much flotation pressure, or the header is set too light. Where the field surface is rough and uneven, flotation should be increased, making the head lighter to glide over rough terrain. When running the head heavier on the self-propelled unit, optional gauge wheels are recommended.
• With mower conditioners, turbulence (or windage) created by the conditioning rolls can blow the crop from its upright position before it is cut, resulting in an uneven cut. If this is a problem, increase ground speed or slow the conditioning system, or do a combination of the two, to reduce turbulence for a cleaner cut.
• Lay the windrow out as flat and wide as possible by setting the swathboard to its lowest possible setting (all the way down). A wide windrow maximizes dry-down by providing the best exposure to wind and sunlight.
• Be sure to check your owner’s manual for daily and regular service and maintenance needs to ensure peak machine performance. And, stock up on key replacement parts such as cutter blades, sickle sections, guards, drive belts and hoses to reduce costly downtime from minor breakdowns. Dealers often have a list of parts recommended for on-farm stocking and may offer preseason discounts for parts purchases.
Hesston has been providing innovation and solutions to farmers since 1947, and is the industry leader in hay-harvesting products. For more information about Hesston by Massey Ferguson products or to find a dealer near you, visit hesston.com.

MF 2170XD large square baler walk-around with Alan Haycocks – Day five, Agritechnica 2011

Alan Haycocks, Sales Engineer AGCO Harvesting, gives us a tour around the brand new high-capacity MF 2170 XD – which produces a bale size of 1.2m wide by 0.9m tall.  It produces 20% more density than a standard baler – thanks to a beefed up flywheel and stronger overall frame. This means less twine, more density per bale and less transport costs overall.