Collecting bales from the field and loading them on to a trailer is a time-consuming and costly job, so anything that speeds the task must be good news.

One of the best ways to do that is to group the bales with an accumulator towed behind the baler. The concept is not new – bale sledges have been dragged behind the baler to dump little square bales in heaps across the field for years. Although some farmers have built their own round bale accumulators, machinery manufacturers have been strangely reluctant to offer off-the-shelf models. However, one exception is the Danish company Fasterholt, which showed its RB3 accumulator at last year’s Agromek Show.

It’s a pretty simple system. As the bale comes out of the back of the baler, it drops on to a hydraulically operated cradle that lifts it up and allows it to roll to the back of the accumulator.

When four bales have been collected, the whole front of the bed lifts up hydraulically, allowing the bales to roll on to the ground in an orderly fashion. Depending on diameter, a fifth bale can also be carried on the hydraulic cradle allowing dumps of four or five to be put out across the field.

The UK’s first RB3 model is being evaluated by Co Durham farmers Charles Harle and Sons, who say they are pleased with the job it is doing.

A lot of their land is undulating, so the Fasterholt allows them to place the groups of bales on flat ground where they’re not in danger of rolling down the hill. This also speeds up the baling process, as it saves time reversing at 90° to prevent them rolling away. A Loadall is then used to load them on to trailers.

The Fasterholt will handle bales up to 1t in weight and 1.5m (5ft) in diameter. It eliminates a lot of needless running about by tractors, trailers and loaders, say the Harles, and speeds up removal as well as reducing soil compaction.