Making high-quality bales that preserve hay quality boils down to a few guidelines. Here are just a few from last year’s issue of BALE. The 2014 issue of BALE will deliver to customers in early June.
Bale quality begins in the windrow. If possible, make the windrow as wide or slightly wider than the baler pickup. This allows the crop to feed evenly across the full width of the bale. If it’s not possible, make it less than half the pickup width so the operator can weave from one side to the other. Otherwise, the pickup will result in a bale that is barrel-shaped.
Avoid baling when hay moisture is too low or too high to reduce leaf shatter and nutrient losses. In arid Arizona where Massey Ferguson customer Reuben Wood operates, chasing moisture means little sleep and good headlights. “Usually, it hits 15% between 3 and 5 a.m.”
Lawrence Drost, who uses two MF2170 models to annually bale about 42,000 bales near Hartley, Texas, says he remotely checks a humidity meter at each pivot location. Then, when the air humidity gets to around 50 to 55%, he physically checks the hay moisture.
Drost says he generally starts baling at about 13% at night when the dew comes on, and quits in the morning at about 11 or 12% as the dew goes off. “Sometimes we’ll add a little preservative with the HayBoss™ system, just to extend the window,” he says.
Keep up to date on regular maintenance. Ray Lynn Campbell, a Massey Ferguson customer and custom baler from Maypearl, Texas, either trades balers every year or completely rebuilds his machine in the off-season to ensure peak performance. While some of the maintenance is done by Livingston Machinery Co., his Hesston® by Massey Ferguson dealer in Chickasha, Okla., Campbell does much of the work himself, using only genuine AGCO parts.
“I’ve never used anything but replacement parts from the dealership,” says Campbell. “So I don’t have any experience with anything else.”
It’s National Farm Machinery Show week, and that means we’re in Louisville, Kentucky, for the show and its Championship Tractor Pull. Here’s a little Throwback Thursday to our 2011 FarmLife story on the Haney family, pullers and Massey Ferguson dealers from Alabama:
Louis and Leon Haney remember watching the froth-flecked Stephen King thriller Cujo back in the early 1980s. Leon, a master mechanic who works with his brother Louis at Haney Equipment Company in Athens, Ala., was already running a pulling tractor nicknamed Home Brew. But there was something about that rabid dog movie and its tagline, “Now there’s a new name for terror.”
It had bite.
Ask him about it, and Leon grins. “I thought to myself, ‘If I could build a tractor as mean as that dog …’” he says.
Well, mission accomplished.
Cujo, the Allis Chalmers D21 that is the namesake of the Haney family’s pulling team, is still a terror at tractor pulls across the South three decades later. The high point, brothers Louis and Leon agree, was “winning Louisville,” the showcase tractor pull at the National Farm Machinery Show, in 1995.
Cujo is still a hometown favorite, in both its diesel version and Leon’s latest creation, an alcohol-fueled beast called Cujo Unleashed. In Tanner, Ala., just down the road from the Haneys’ Massey Ferguson® dealership, is an annual tractor pull that draws thousands from around the South each summer and helps raise big money for Tanner High School’s athletic program.
The Cujo Pulling Team is a staple of the event, and last year was no different. They even brought along a Massey Ferguson 8680 from the dealership to display and pull in the farm stock division. The whole family turns out to hang around in the pit and work to get the tractors ready for their turn on the pull track.
The first run for Cujo Unleashed doesn’t go too well. It shuts down about a third of the way down the track. Cujo Unleashed is towed behind the bleachers, where Leon quietly inspects it. An onboard computer has recorded data from the run, but that’s no help tonight. Leon does get the machine cranked for a second run, but the result is about the same.
Besides the never-ending tweaks and repairs, the off-season gives Leon and Ann time to reflect on the realities of a life in the sport. Purses in the local and state pulls are light compared to the time and expense. Haney Equipment Company sponsors Cujo, but the bigger teams in the bigger pulls have high-dollar sponsors and more money to build and rebuild.
Leon and Ann talk about this, but not with regret. Pulling is a family thing. “The kids were born into it,” says Ann. “We’d go to pulls, and I’d have my foot on the stroller and holding a camera during a run.” Ann remembers that the kids, now both in college, were often given a choice between pulling and better cars, better vacations, a different life. “They chose pulling,” she says. “And I wouldn’t change anything,” Clay echoes.
Besides, pulling makes great advertising for Haney Equipment. And even though Cujo Unleashed had a rough weekend at Tanner, Haney Equipment had the last laugh. At the end of the night, Adam, Louis’ son, hooked the MF 8680 up to the sled and took it 6 inches short of a full pull. Leon ran it next, “as fast as it would go,” he laughs, and took it all the way.
Cujo might have been tame for that one night in Tanner, but his big red brother bared its fangs.
Kirk Venvertloh and his father certainly have a lot in common and share a bond when it comes to the family farm. However, when it involves tractors, you might say Kirk is going in a different direction than his dad.
While his father Willie Venvertloh has been a lifelong John Deere customer, Kirk recently purchased a new Massey Ferguson® Model 7615, equipped with the optional Dyna-VT™ CVT transmission and a Massey Ferguson Model 961 loader. In effect, it replaced two older tractors, while improving both efficiency and versatility.
“I mainly use it for feeding cattle and haying,” relates Kirk, who says he purchased the MF7615 in large part due to the efficiency and ease of operation provided by the CVT. Yet, as much as he appreciates that continuously variable transmission for both fieldwork and loader chores, Kirk says he has since learned that the tractor does so much more than he even imagined.
“I love the Dynamic Tractor Management (DTM) system and the foot pedal mode, and the way they work together when I’m using the loader,” he says. “I just move the shuttle lever to change direction, and use the pedal to start and stop, and to control the speed.” Kirk says it is equally valuable on PTO-powered equipment, like their Hesston® by Massey Ferguson Model 2745 round baler.
“It’s great for going down the road too,” he continues. “We’re spread out quite a bit. We have one farm that’s 10 miles north of our main farmstead, and my house is actually 15 miles east; so the ability to travel between fields at around 32 mph is very helpful.
“At the same time, it’s been amazing on fuel economy,” he adds, pointing out how the engine automatically throttles down when power isn’t needed. “During one of the first hay cuttings this spring, I drove 17 miles to the field, cut about 13 acres of hay with the mower conditioner at about 6 mph and used a total of seven gallons of fuel. With any of the other tractors, we would have used at least 25 to 30% more fuel.”
MF: Would you say that 2014 was a year of maintaining the momentum of CEJA’s work?
MB: 2014 has been a crucial year for CEJA. Following the achievements made in 2013 with the inclusion of a mandatory measure for young farmers in the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), it was essential that we ensured the implementation of this historic political agreement in an effective and concrete manner. In a similar vein, it was also important that we made use of the momentum that the CAP reform negotiations had given CEJA the previous year, and that we maintained an increasing amount of visibility and awareness of the age crisis in European farming. This was despite the retreat that agriculture, due to the end of CAP discussions, made from the central position it had been occupying in EU current affairs for the last two years. Progress has been made on the policy front even beyond the remits of the CAP, including putting the need to strengthen EU policy for young farmers at centre stage within the agricultural priorities of the Italian Presidency.
MF: What else was notable in 2014?
MB: 2014 witnessed the official launch of the CEJA-Massey Ferguson partnership. Among several joint events, we held a CEJA working group at the MF tractor plant in Beauvais, France. The event also included a tour of the tractor production facilities for a number of leading young farmers from across the EU. 2014 saw the end of an era as the previous European Commissioner for Agriculture, Dacian Cioloş, was replaced by Irishman Phil Hogan. In addition, we saw an array of newly-elected MEPs take their seats on the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development in the European Parliament. As well as this, CEJA welcomed a new Secretary General a year ago to assist what was then the newly-elected Board, with me at the helm as the new President. Despite all these changes, CEJA accomplished a number of achievements over the last 12 months and I am proud to say that the issue of young farmers was still high on the political agenda right through to the end of 2014.
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Staff at Massey Ferguson in the UK gave a warm welcome to Manon Ossevoort who drove an MF 5610 tractor on the adventurous Antarctica2 mission to the South Pole.
The 38-year-old Dutch-born Expedition Ambassador and Lead Driver, better known as ‘Tractor Girl’, visited Massey Ferguson’s offices at Abbey Park Stoneleigh in Warwickshire on 23 January. Manon captured the imagination of millions worldwide as she and her team battled across the vast icescape with the MF tractor on a gruelling 28-day, 5000 km round-trip from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole. On reaching its destination, the MF 5610 made history to become the first standard farm tractor equipped with tyres to reach the Geographic South Pole overland.
Throughout the expedition, a Massey Ferguson team at Abbey Park was responsible for coordinating the expedition communications and relaying news and pictures of the epic journey to a global audience.
“It was a great pleasure to welcome Manon to the UK and hear yet more details of this extraordinary story,” said Declan Hayden, Vice President, Global Sales & Operations Planning. “It is truly an awe-inspiring feat, highlighting the strength and endurance of the MF tractor, as well demonstrating the fortitude and resilience of the crew.”
Manon commented: “By supplying the MF 5610 to Antarctica2, Massey Ferguson showed its belief in this incredibly ambitious mission and took up my challenge to take a tractor to the South Pole. I am thrilled to be here and back with the MF team who worked with me on planning the expedition over a period of three years. They never stopped believing that we could achieve our goal. I know the team at Abbey Park was eager to hear more of my story but I was equally fascinated to find out how they supported the expedition communications day-to-day.”
Manon was joined at Abbey Park by fellow team member, Antarctica2 cameraman Simon Foster. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said. “Taking pictures and video in the extreme cold was exceptionally challenging. We were able to take some great shots of the tractor on its voyage which were used widely by the world’s press and across social media.”
Paul Lay, Massey Ferguson Manager, Public Relations and Communications who led the Abbey Park-based communications team adds: “Antarctica2 was an amazing project for the team to manage. The technical challenges of conveying communications and developing news from Antarctica quickly to a global audience were immense. There are no geosynchronous communications satellites at the Earth’s Poles so digital communications are very slow and unreliable. We overcame those and were delighted when, together with other world media, the BBC ran a four minute live news broadcast with Manon when her MF 5610 tractor reached the South Pole – a first.”
The Antarctica2 MF 5610 expedition tractor will be a highlight of Massey Ferguson’s stand at the upcoming SIMA Show in Paris 22-26 February 2015.