Less soil compaction on grassland 

Soil compaction is one of the biggest problems facing agriculture today. The main causes of compaction are heavy farm machinery, intensive cultivation, limited crop rotation, intensive grazing and poor soil management. Compaction is aggravated by a low organic matter content and working the land in wet conditions. Here are some tips to avoid soil compaction.  

What is soil compaction? The pores that naturally occur in soil are used for the exchange and transport of water and oxygen through the soil. This function is vital for the root zone of plants. Soil compaction reduces the volume of the pores so less water and fewer nutrients can be stored in the soil. This negatively impacts on grass growth. There is strong correlation between soil compaction and reduced grass growth and yield. 

Soil compaction is difficult to rectify  

Soil compaction is a difficult problem to rectify, so prevention is better than cure. Deep tillage to de-compact the soil is often needed to mitigate the effects, but this affects the natural soil structure. So, it’s best to prevent compaction rather than solve the problems it causes afterwards. 

This can be done by always working the land in dry conditions. As this is not always possible, it is important to carefully consider which machinery you will be using. Limiting the number of passes and combining work passes – e.g. baling and wrapping – reduces the risk of soil compaction. Transferring newly wrapped bales as much as possible from the wrapping table to the headland limits field traffic when the bales are collected as less movement of heavy machinery – such as bale wagons, telehandlers or loaders – is necessary over the field. 

Preventing soil compaction

To limit the impact of traffic on the soil, it is important to minimise the weight of the combination and, where possible, reduce the tyre pressure. A light machine combined with a trailed implement suitable for the task is the ideal scenario. The basic principle is the lowest possible combined weight.  

The tyre pressure of lightweight combinations can be reduced further once in the field. Consult the pressure table of the tyre manufacturer. Opting for an additional wheel axle allows the tyre pressure to be lowered further. With optimum tyre pressure – preferably below 1 bar – the pressure exerted per cm2 on the soil does not increase when the bale chamber fills with grass or when a bale is on the wrapping table. As the weight increases, the tyre will flatten and therefore distribute the weight over a larger surface. This minimise damage to the grassland. 

Uninterrupted baling operations

The moment when bales are produced is critical. An uninterrupted baling operation is vital for the quality of the forage. Downtime is not an option, so in the event of a malfunction the part you need has to be on site as quickly as possible. KUHN Parts helps you with smart logistics and rapid delivery.  

The harvest season is a peak period for the entire contracting company. The planning has to be right; clients want their grass baled, the machinery operatives are working flat out and the balers are really put through their paces. No matter what the conditions, the machinery has to keep running. If a tractor breaks down, it’s often relatively easy to organise a replacement, but locating a spare baler is a different matter. Downtime costs money, but that is not the main issue. As an agricultural contractor, the last thing you want is a dissatisfied client. Due to time pressure, a client will just as easily switch to another contracting company. Winning back their confidence is a challenge.  

Prevention is better than cure 

The KUHN dealer is your main partner for maintenance and repairs to your baler. The dealers are trained professionals and have all the necessary tools available. That is a very relevant point: ordering a spare part is one thing, but replacing it is something else. KUHN dealers have the necessary knowledge and expertise. The same applies to the winter maintenance check. During this check, every part of the baler is inspected and components susceptible to wear are also checked. These include the pre-stretcher rollers, oil filters, the driveline, knives, wrapper table belts, chains and chain sprockets. This inspection is performed with the greatest care. Despite this, one of the parts may need replacing during the harvest season.  

Parts are never far away

The complete range of spare parts is stored at KUHN in Saverne, France. The 26,000 square metre warehouse holds 80,000 parts in stock. Parts can be shipped from the warehouse 24/7. And to prevent the baler from unnecessarily long downtime, KUHN dealers always have the most common wear parts in stock. So never too far away. If a dealer does not have a certain part in stock, the KUHN SOS Order can help. The dealer can place an urgent order and the part will be supplied the next day by express delivery. If the delivery is less urgent, the dealer can use KUHN i search to contact other approved KUHN partners around the world to find the right part.  

As well as the services provided by the dealers, KUHN users can also arrange a lot themselves. Via the online MyKUHN portal you can order parts quickly. If you place an order in MyKUHN, your own dealer will be notified and can ensure the parts are sent to you as quickly as possible. Signing up to MyKUHN is free. To sign up, simply register using the serial number of your baler or other KUHN machine.  MyKUHN offers users many other benefits such as access to operator’s manuals and your settings and maintenance information. 

KUHN is ready to serve you and your client 

During the harvest season what really counts is minimum downtime and a satisfied client. There’s no need to use your time and energy finding and ordering spare parts – KUHN Parts can arrange it for you. Via the KUHN dealer, MyKUHN or via an express order.  

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Also read: 

  • How does KUHN make a good bale 
  • Save costs with a smart approach to wrapping 
  • Weighing bales delivers accuracy and insight 

The ideal way to store bales

Depending on the number of layers of film and the bale’s dry matter content, bales that have been bound and wrapped in film can be stored for a long period. However, the storage conditions must be suitable.  Limit the stack height to no more than three bales and prevent the influence of external factors. 

The bales should be stored on a flat, well drained and preferably hardened surface.  If the site is in the open air, ensure adequate drainage so that rainwater can run off. Rain is not the only threat, nearby streams or other watercourses also pose a potential threat due to the risk of flooding which can damage the bales. For this reason, it’s best to choose a site far enough away from these potential troublemakers.  

Extra protection against external factors

Once a suitable surface and site for storage have been chosen, you should take into account a number of external factors that may affect the bales. Ammonia from manure and spraying agents can damage the film. Ensure the bales are not exposed to these substances or minimise the exposure. Dairy farmers with a farm on a flight path should also take into account liquids released from planes that could come into contact with the bales. There are reported cases of farmers who were unpleasantly surprised by bale damage, resulting in unusable forage. The best solution is storage under a roof, but if this is impossible, ensure a cover is placed over the bales. 

Space between bales 

Preferably stack the bales on the flat side. The flat side of the bale is the strongest and will create a stable stack. Leaving some space between the bales is recommended for easier handling and logistics. This makes it easier for a bale clamp to lift the bales, for example.   

To sum it up, the ideal way to store bales: 

  1. use a solid, clean surface; 
  1. choose a site far enough away from watercourses;  
  1. avoid exposure to ammonia from manure or spraying agents; 
  1. place under a roof, or cover with a tarpaulin if necessary;   
  1. do not stack higher than three bales; 
  1. leave a small space between the bales to make handling and logistics easier.