Baling – Four steps to a perfect bale

You have mown the grass and it has hit the target dry matter content. Now it’s time to bale, bind and wrap. So what is the best approach? 

1. Preparation

Before baling, it is always a good idea to lift and spread the grass with a tedder or a rake. If you don’t, the crop will flow through the pick-up unit lengthwise and will have no, or only little, contact with the knives. Then pay attention to one of the most vital components of creating a good bale – the swath. Ensure the swath is the same height and depth across the entire width. A guideline for swath width is 100-130 cm.

2. Machine settings

Setting the baler-wrapper starts at the pick-up. It is very important to avoid the pick-up tines disturbing the soil, otherwise crude ash can cause contamination in the bale. On the other hand, the loss of valuable grass must be minimised. Due to the working width of 230 cm, it is impossible to prevent the pick-up from being slightly too low at some points. So aim for a height setting somewhere in between. Adjust the height of the pick-up using the holes in the side. Simply set the desired height by pushing a pin into one of the holes. When the pick-up has been set to the right height, set the stretch film tension on the binder. Set the stretch tension using a pulley (V-belt) located on the side behind the binder. With film binding we recommend turning the pulley completely clockwise to close it. The stretch is 55% in front of the binder, with a further 15% stretch behind the binder if the pulley is closed. If the bales are bound in net, do not fully close the pulley. Depending on the quality of the net, a stretch of 5-7% is optimal. Once you have made the right settings, select the number of knives on the rotor. Depending on the version of the baler and wrapper combination, the choice is 14 or 23 knives. The number you select depends on the required cutting length: 70 or 40 mm. 

3. Setting the terminal

Set the baling pressure on the terminal in the cab. A high baling pressure creates a solid, dense bale with a firm outer layer. This makes the bales easy to handle and stack1.  We recommend using at least three layers of film to retain good bale stability. Whether you use net or film for binding, it is important to cover the bale across the width as well as possible, until just over the edges. This ensures a solid bale and reduces the risk of damage. 

4. Baling

The pick-up height has been set, the film stretch tension is correct, the baling pressure is good and the required number of film layers has been entered. Time to start baling! For the best possible bale shape and stability, make working passes that alternate between running along the left and right side of the swath. This ensures the sides of the bales are also filled properly. If the machine features a left-right indication option, use this in the final stage of baling for an even better result. Although a constant working speed is best to form a tight bale, the working speed should not be too high. The baler needs enough time to compact and form a dense bale. ’Stuffing’ the machine at high speed is counter-productive. If the bales are wrapped, 3D wrapping is preferable. This system wraps the cylindrical surface of the bale first which forces more oxygen out of the silage. This helps maintain the shape and protects the edges of the bales. 

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