Latest MF in-line conventional baler handles large swaths
Conventional bales may hold bad memories for those of us subjected to summer jobs shifting them by hand, but Shoun Bearup’s latest Massey Ferguson inline baler has increased output and made the process of handling the bales much simpler.
Shoun Bearup is no stranger to baling. His business centres around producing high quality hay and haylage for the equine industry which means attention to detail is essential and having the capacity to bale crops at their optimum can be the difference to repeat business.
Mr Bearup has three different size balers, but the smaller conventional bales are favoured by the end market as they can be moved by hand without the need for a loader. Workload now extends to 240ha of his own grassland and 120ha of contracting work near his base in Rainham, Kent. Some of the ground is reclaimed marshland that can dictate timings for harvesting.
After years of running offset conventional balers, he took delivery of a Massey Ferguson 1840 inline baler to increase output and make moving fields easier when run in conjunction with a Bale Baron at the rear. “The length of the tractor, baler and collector meant running an inline baler was the sensible option. It reduces setup times in the field, makes road transport much easier and is one less thing to concentrate on by having the pickup reel directly behind the tractor,” says Shoun.
Baling upwards of 20,000 conventional bales per year means Shoun is familiar with his machinery, so much so that he will regularly diagnose what part has broken and explain to the dealer what needs to be ordered. He upgraded this season to a MF 1842S which replaced the 1840, after area sales manager David Broad said he was the ideal candidate to test the new model to see how it compared.
Shoun says he wasn’t looking to change balers but the opportunity of a demo was a good way to assess how for the machine had come over five years. “I had no need to change, the 1840 was a strong baler and offered good output in a variety of crops. However, once I tried the 1842S, it was like driving a different machine and the improvements were obvious.”
The 1842S was purchased for this season and although the baler was longer (766mm) than its predecessor, it has several benefits in the field and on the road. “The extra length has meant the pickup is now further back, so I get a much better view of it from the cab, whereas the 1840 was a compact design and limited visibility in the front. The baler is also a bit heavier, so helps keep the rig planted when travelling between jobs.”
However, the biggest difference is output with work rates up an estimated 20% on the previous machine with speeds in good hay crops of around 6kph. Some of Shoun’s summer work involves baling straw for his end users which has created some issues when following combines with 40ft cuts. “It certainly makes the baler work, and we are down to 1.5kph and pumping out 700 bales an hour in the bigger crops, but I haven’t blocked it and the new design allows for greater output.”
The pickup helps to create a uniform bale even when working in light crops towards the end of the season. Shoun says it pulls the grass into the machine creating an even feed of material across the whole chamber from the 1,980mm pickup, which is 80mm wider than the 1840, while the 2,100mm long bale chamber is also 5% longer than the 1840.
A feature that has saved Shoun a lot of time is the automatic reversible knotter fan, which is standard on the 1842S. The reversible function engages every 10 minutes and keeps the fan’s grills free from debris build up and a clean flow of air across the knotters to prevent issues.
Part of the appeal for Shoun with the 1842S is that Massey has kept the machine simple to maintain and operate. “There are no fancy electronics or the option to operate through Isobus, which I believe is great as the beauty of the machine is its simplicity. I think it would overcomplicate what is a great baler and one, that in my opinion, is difficult to improve on,” says Shoun.
The baler is powered by another recent purchase – an MF 7S.180 – that Shoun says was bought through Agwoods and has virtually every extra on it to help improve operations but also maintain resale values. Larger radius 42in wheel rims where also specified to prevent the belly of the tractor getting caught up in large swaths.