Silage Season 2023 Starts

The KUHN FBP 3135 Baler/Wrapper Combination was seen in action last week in County. Kilkenny. The machine was sold by KUHN dealer Cooke Agri our newest dealer in 2023. As expected the machine preformed exceptionally well producing top quality firm round bales. The balers key features were captured in the video below.

Key Features

INTEGRAL Rotor Technology

This simple, maintenance-free intake system guarantees an enormous throughput capacity at all times. The short distance between the rotor and pick-up tines maintains consistent crop flow. The design of this force-fed intake makes higher forward speeds possible for increased productivity and reduced crop damage.

TWIN-reel film binding system

Film binding system uses two regular 750 mm stretch-film rolls. Using regular wrapping film enables you to use a much higher pre-stretch ratio compared to conventional wide film binding systems.  This eliminates the need for special wide film, which simplifies your inventory management. Film binding improves the silage quality, bale shape, stability and opening of the bale.

3D Wrapping

This is an intelligent way of applying stretch film to bales. This system distributes the film quantity more uniformly and efficiently across the entire surface of the bale. 3D wrapping applies film where its most needed around the bale shoulders for example. The cylindrical wrapping system ensures more air is excluded retaining shape during storage.


The redesigned heart of the baler consists of 18 POWERTRACK rollers. The 18 renewed POWERTRACK rollers have symmetrical profiles which generate exceptionally high density and reliable bale rotation in all crop conditions. All rollers are made of 3.2 mm thick high-strength steel which are roll-formed and laser-welded on only one side for optimal durability. In addition, minimum of space between the rollers reduces crop loss.



PZ 1000 series drum mowers, a complete and new range

Discover our up-to-date portfolio of front, rear and triple drum mowers and benefit from optimal mowing performance even in the most challenging crop and soil conditions.


Started in 2019, we gradually renewed our 4-drum mower range. Today the
PZ 1000 series has replaced all 4 drum-models of the PZ 100 series. The n
ew and improved features are being integrated whilst retaining some important aspects from the previous models.

The PZ 1000 series range consists of front, rear and triple models:

Front mowers
The PZ 2721 F, PZ 3021 F and PZ 3221 F provide working widths of 2.69, 3.04 and 3.19 m respectively. Their main features:

  • Continuous height adjustment with 45 mm range
  • Narrow swath provided by the typical PZ knife plate layout, secured via the standard swath discs
  • V-belt driveline protection for a smooth start-up

Rear mower
The PZ 3015 rear drum mower, with a working width of 3.04 m, is designed for optimal ground following and mowing performance, even in the most challenging of conditions. This is particularly due to a sophisticated headstock design with trailed linkage geometry. Other important characteristics:

  • Vertical hydraulic folding to 128°
  • Optional parking stand for vertical storage to 3.6 m
  • Height adjustment via spacers with 44 mm range
  • LIFT-CONTROL ground pressure compensation and non-stop safety breakaway

Triple mower
High capacity with a low power requirement is what characterises the PZ 8831 triple drum mower (working width of up to 8.84 m). Due to its compact design and low power requirement the machine is suitable for medium and large size tractors. Additionally, the PZ 8831 features:

  • LIFT-CONTROL hydro-pneumatic suspension system for uniform ground pressure
  • Optional reverse drive kit
  • Height adjustment via spacers with 44 mm range

Optimal mowing performance even in the most challenging crop and soil conditions, remains the main feature of PZ drum mowers. Benefit from:

  • Swath width and cutting height adjustments
  • Simplified maintenance procedures
  • Uneven sized diameter knife plates to produce a uniform swath formation
  • Easy knife changing process to lower downtime
  • FLEXPROTECT protective side covers to increase robustness
  • Standard road lights positioned around the machine


Front mowers

Rear mower

Triple mower




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. 

Minimising impurities in forage

When harvesting forage, it is important to minimise impurities in the feed. Impurities not only have a negative effect on feed quality, but also on milk and meat production and therefore a farm’s profitability.  

In practice, one of the main problems is soil particles in the forage. This can compromise good storage properties. In addition, it can also negatively affect the nutritional feed value, so it is less easily digested by the cows. Particularly in periods of wet weather, baling the grass properly can be a huge challenge. Not only the grass, but also the ground has a low traffic bearing capacity and can be severely affected. This is because sunlight and air cannot penetrate down to the soil. A heavy crop of flattened grass must also be cut short, which brings a high risk of trapping soil particles in the harvested forage

Impurities in forage cause lower milk and meat production 

Soil contamination in forage can be considered as external ash content as it adds no nutritional value for the livestock. Higher ash content may also lead to reduced efficiencies in milk and meat production and therefore reduced overall economic efficiencies. It can also lead to quality losses during storage and increases the risk of heating in the bale, which would then have to be compensated for by adding extra concentrates into the ration. The forage can become less palatable for the livestock  so their overall intake may reduce. 

The economic impact of forage contamination can be considerable. For example; forage that contains 4% of soil impurities represents an energy loss equivalent to approximately €48 per hectare. Therefore the decrease in the cow’s energy intake due to impurities is equivalent to €27 per cow per year.

Adjust machinery to prevent impurities in forage

Several factors are important when mowing, tedding and raking grass. First, ensure that damage caused by field operations is avoided. Mowers, tedders and rakes must be levelled on a flat surface. The working height must be determined and set in the field. Do not cut too short, but maintain a cutting height of 7 centimetres, so that later during harvesting, the baler will not need to be adjusted too low to pick up the grass.  

Bales offer flexibility

Baling forage enables more flexibility in your feeding cycle. Your livestock will have more consistent quality feed throughout the year with minimised feed and quality losses.  

Drive over piles and silage clamps are common methods of storing grass. Simply load several cuts of grass into a pile or clamp, cover it with plastic and soil or tyres, and you have a whole season of forage for your cattle. It is important to cover the silage well, utilise the space well, compact the pile and ensure it is airtight. The ideal dry matter content of grass for ensilaging into a pile or clamp is between 35 and 45% and certainly not higher than 45%, so driving over the pile offers sufficient compacting1 

Baling is the ideal solution for complete control of the feed ration and to achieve a consistently high quality forage. Every bale is a small store of feed that is opened fresh each time. So directly baling grass using a baler and wrapper combination, results in higher feed quality and avoids silage losses. Moreover, baling is suitable for a wide range of dry matter content. 

Mixing for consistent feed values

Just like clamp silage, the feed value of bales can vary. However, unlike clamp silage, bales with a lower feed value can be mixed with a bale with a higher feed value to give you more control of the composition of your feed rations and maintain correct dry matter contents and feed values in the rations.  

Bales are labour saving 

It can be a costly operation to make clamp silage due to the infrastructure, machinery and labour need. With the KUHN baler-wrapper combinations, the forage is being collected and preserved in one pass and all you need in the yard is a hard surface to store the bales on.  

Bales are easy to use

Bales are easy to handle, transport and store. Of course, there are a number of recommendations when it comes to preventing damage and optimal storage. As soon as the livestock need to be fed: choose the desired bale and open it with a sharp knife or a special bale slicer. A film-bound bale is opened in no time without leaving any silage behind. 

Weighing bales delivers accuracy and insight

Weighing bales is where you as a contractor can make a valuable difference. Weighing gives you and your customer plenty of information and supports farmers in their forage management strategy. It also provides transparency for both stakeholders and is therefore a sound basis for accurate invoicing. This extra service also gives you an opportunity to charge more for each bale.  

There are various methods of weighing: using a weighing system on the loader tractor or telehandler or driving the vehicle loaded with bales onto a weighbridge. There are also baler-wrapper combinations (BalePacks) on the market with integrated, on-board weighing systems. The advantage of these systems is that the amount of material that has been baled is recorded immediately per client or field, without any additional actions. The information is visible in real time on the display. 

Charging per bale, a transparent system?

If the farmer and the contractor agree to pay on the basis of the number of bales baled, a conflict of interests may arise: The contractor would like to bale at a slightly lower pressure to save fuel and protect the machine, while the farmer would like to get his forage baled at a good price-performance ratio. Invoicing on the basis of bale weights can be a good alternative here. 

 Weighing and measuring the dry matter content  

In an ideal situation, when the bale is in the bale grab the farmer knows how much forage is going to be fed and its quality. The solution is to weigh the bale, combined with measuring the dry matter content of the material. Samples of forage can be used to reveal the dry matter percentage of the entire cut of grass. This value, together with the weight of the bales produced from that cut, gives an insight into the amount of dry matter per bale being fed. This information allows the farmer to feed as accurately as possible and ensure feed efficiency. 


Save costs with a smart approach to wrapping

Every layer of film wrapped around a bale is one, and every layer of film costs money. Taking a smart approach to binding and wrapping film will deliver you some significant savings. On top of that, binding with film offers multiple advantages.  

Using six layers of film as standard in order to ensure the bale is sufficiently sealed and protected is often what you see in practice. But various factors influence the maximum number of film layers the bale actually needs. The guideline is: the drier the crop, the more layers of film. If the crop is wet, it’s probably fine to use fewer layers of film for wrapping. In addition to moisture content, the intended storage period is an important factor. After all, the more layers of film, the better the oxygen barrier so oxygen takes longer to reach the forage in the bale.  See the table below for our recommendations.

Good film for minimum air permeability 

In all cases, high quality film is vital for good preservation of the bale. Plastic wrapping film is never 100% airtight, but good film is characterised by minimum air permeability. Using lower quality film will affect how the crop is processed in the baler-wrapper combination and the overall forage quality. In addition, cheaper film increases the risk of forage losses, as air can penetrate the bales faster so to compensate for that, you need to use more layers of film to wrap the bale. 

Low costs with the same film 

Binding bales with net has been standard practice for years. However, film binding has been gaining ground on using net in recent years. And with its rise in popularity, the benefits of film binding are also becoming more evident. For example, a bale bound with film is more dimensionally stable, easier to open and has more oxygen-tight coverage. In addition, the farmer only has one type of waste material that is easy to dispose of. However, all benefits come at a price. Compared with net binding, binding a bale with film is up to €1 more expensive2. However, if the same film can be used to bind and wrap – as is the case with KUHN balers with film binding – this extra cost can be reduced to €0.50. If you decide to change from the standard six layers and take the condition of the crop material and storage conditions into account more, you can apply a total of five layers. This means the cost is identical to a net tied bale plus six layers of film wrap. And with young crop material with a sufficient sugar content3, you can even get away with using a layer of film less!   

Mowing and crop collection method essential for good bales

Mowing and leaving the crop spread across the field or raking the grass into a swath immediately. The first method is more common, although mowing and then creating rows is attracting more interest due to changes in grass composition and climate influences. Which of the two mowing methods is used is not that important as long as you follow the correct steps to create a good bale.  

The rule of thumb for the optimal moment to mow is just before the crop starts to bloom1. At that moment, the grass has a crude fibre content of 22 to 25% per kg of dry matter. That percentage can increase by 3 to 8 grams a day in the most important growth phase. At a higher fibre content, the digestibility of the organic matter decreases, the FUM is then lower2. For optimal ripeness of the grass, the soil and the plant itself must be as dry as possible. If it’s raining or the grass is still covered by heavy dew, it’s best to delay mowing for a while. If the grass is harvested too wet, silage preservation and palatability for the cow will be compromised. A dry matter content of 35 to 45% is optimal for good preservation and for good forage for the cattle.

Mower higher to reduce impurities in the bale  

To encourage the best possible regrowth of the grass, the stubble should be around eight centimetres high after mowing. If there are a lot of irregular patches in the grass, maintaining a stubble height of nine centimetres is an excellent option. Mowing too short is not recommended as this increases the risk of impurities in the bales. A lot of soiling and impurities in the bale also cause a slow pH decline during preservation. In addition, a high crude ash content allows butyric acid to develop, which has a negative impact on the feed value.   

Set machines for a good swath

The best way to set the working height of machines used to harvest forage – tedders, rakes and mowers – is on a flat surface4. A level, hard surface in the yard is the ideal place. In this way, you can quickly check if the tines on the tedders and rakes are at the correct working height and if there are no bent tines. On mowers, check the ground pressure, the lifting device and the knives. Set the machine, drive to the field and examine the settings critically again.  

Maximising baler performance

The shape and width of the swath are vital to maximise the performance of your baler. The correct swath shape is rectangular5. Remember that the centre of the swath should not be much higher than the sides. This shape ensures the bale chamber is filled better, including in the corners. If all the bale chamber is filled, the majority of air pockets will be removed from the bales, which improves the quality of preservation. An additional advantage is an evenly loaded intake across the entire baler width for maximum capacity.  

When the crop is baled, the correct swath width is approximately 150 cm. Depending on the baler pick-up width and field conditions, for example baling on slopes, it may be necessary to form a narrower swath for optimal bale formation.  

Five benefits of film binding for silage bales

Opening a bale, preservation, bale density and waste disposal. Working with silage bales involves more than you might think. If you purely examine the costs for film and net, then binding bales with film is slightly more expensive compared with using net. But you can more than recoup those extra costs thanks to the many benefits of film binding.  

1. Easier and faster to open 

Net-bound bales take an average of 30 seconds longer to open than film-bound bales, because the silage can get stuck in the mesh of the net. A bale that has been bound in film can easily be opened with a knife or special bale cutter. 

2. Less loss of silage 

Silage getting stuck in the net is not only annoying, valuable forage gets lost with each bale you open. In wintry conditions, when a bale is frozen, the losses are even higher as the net can freeze against the silage grass. An additional disadvantage is that pieces of net may become attached to the forage and present a risk to animal health.  

3. Higher feed quality 

Film bound bales have better dimensional stability, are more airtight and have a higher density. Net bound bales , on the other hand, tend to expand slightly and draw air into the bale. This encourages mould formation, among other things. Research has revealed that the loss of dry matter caused by mould is 80% lower in bales bound in film compared with bales bound in net1 

4. One type of waste 

When disposing of the used binding and wrapping materials for recycling, it is important that the materials are collected separately. For example, the used film must be separated from the bale nets. When bales are bound and wrapped using film, there is only one kind of waste. Save time by saying goodbye to separating the waste! 

5. Better yields 

Binding bales with film costs €0.50 to €1.00 per bale more, depending on the chosen system. However, the benefits in processing speed and convenience, and a guaranteed feed value offset these additional costs. In addition bales bound in film generally lead to better yields in the form of higher milk2 or beef production.

Film bound bale even cheaper than net bound?

We mentioned the price difference between the net and film used to bind and wrap bales above. However, a film bound bale can be even cheaper than a net bound bale. Like to know how? Read: Film bound bale cheaper than net bound with KUHN balerwrapper combination

In some situations, using net is a better option 

Of course, there are also situations where using net is a better option than film binding. For example, with very dry crops such as hay or straw. It is therefore important to get good advice so that you choose the solution that suits your farm management system best and delivers the highest return on investment. 


How does KUHN make a good bale?

The KUHN FBP (fixed chamber) and VBP (variable chamber) baler-wrapper combinations have a number of unique features that always create the perfect round bale. Even cutting quality, correct bale density, consistently filled bales, stable shape retention and firmly wrapped are what you can expect from bales produced by the KUHN FBP and VBP series.

Making a good bale is not easy in all conditions. We will address the main components of KUHN baler-wrapper combinations that contribute to a good bale despite changing crop conditions.

KUHN INTEGRAL ROTOR for quick and optimal crop intake

The pick-up tines cleanly collect the grass and feed it directly into the INTEGRAL ROTOR. The large augers on both sides of the rotor force the grass through the OPTICUT cutting rotor. This integral rotor facilitates a more consistently filled bale, uniformly filled right to the sides. The integral rotor is located just after the pick-up unit. This short distance maintains a short and compact inlet channel which guarantees quick crop intake.

After the rotor, the grass passes through the OPTICUT cutting system. Two options are available with a maximum of 14 or 23 knives. The operator can pre-select the number of knives used by retracting some of the knives in the inlet channel. Baling without knives is of course also possible. The knives are individually protected against foreign objects. This gives better cutting quality with as large crop throughput as possible and reduces the sensitivity of the knives to foreign objects. Less downtime and a better cutting quality.

KUHN bales retain their round shape

After the cutting system, the grass is fed into the bale chamber. In the balers with a variable chamber, the triangular starting chamber and the PROGRESSIVE DENSITY system guarantees the bale always forms correctly. The belts apply pressure on the bale from the starting core to the outer layers, maintaining a consistent bale pressure throughout the entire baling process, ensuring tightly formed bales that retain their shape. This ensures that a good, round bale can even be made with short, dry silage. Thanks to the variable chamber design, you can set the bale diameter yourself to range from small and manageable bales to large bales with savings on (wrapping) film.

The fixed bale chamber is designed with 18 fixed rollers, allowing the bale to rotate immediately as the chamber is filled. Sensors in the hydraulic tailgate cylinders help to achieve the correct bale density, bale size and bale fill (left/right). Binding the bales on both the FBP and VBP balers can be done using either net or film.

Film always correctly positioned thanks to the KUHN 3D wrapping system

After binding the bale, it is quickly transferred to the wrapping table without being damaged. This is particularly important if film binding is used. For this reason, after film binding, KUHN uses guide rollers on the bale transfer system that ensure the bale is transferred undamaged straight onto the wrapping table, then wrapping can start.

All VBP and FPB balers can be equipped with the optional, innovative 3D wrapping system. The rolls of film rotate a quarter turn after which the bale is first wrapped around the cylindrical part and then around the flat ends. The result is an evenly wrapped bale that retains its shape better than a conventionally wrapped bale. The 3D wrapping system ensures the film is correctly positioned and evenly distributed over the bale and the vulnerable bale shoulders are well protected. Thanks to the low height of the wrapping table, the bale can then be safely discharged without dropping or deforming it. This will ultimately benefit the storage capabilities of the bale.