German machinery giant Krone says it will be showing an unusual mobile straw pelleter at next week’s giant Agritechnica show in Hanover.
Called the Premos 5000, the prototype machine can go straight into a field of swathed wheat straw and compress it into 12mm x 30mm pellets.
These can be then be used for bedding, feeding or combustion for energy.
Equally, it can be used as a stationary unit with straw brought to it.
See also: Mobile pelleter makes fuel from straw
How does it work? The pick-up lifts material from the field and transfers it on to a conveyor belt.
The material then gets squeezed at vast pressure (2,000 bar) between two heavy-duty rollers and produces temperatures between 70C and 100C.
That helps sterilise the crop and improve its storage ability. Finally, it goes through a cooling chamber and drops into a 5t hopper.
Not surprisingly, it travels fairly slowly. Typical speed is expected to be just 5kph.
The potential benefits for such a machine are considerable, points out the company. Round bales typically have a specific density of 100-150kg/cu m, while square bales can go from 140-170kg/cu m.
The densities of bales from the latest high-density balers can hit 220kg/cu m but still pale into insignificance next to the 1,100 to 1,200kg/cu m of the Premos 5000.
Essentially, it means that straw can be squeezed into a space a tenth of its usual bulk. That means less field and road haulage and a big drop in the storage space required
If all goes well, the machine could be at work in the UK in two years, says the company.