15 March 2002

Bale and wrap in one pass

AFTER two years of trials in UK conditions, Claas is now set to launch its Rollant Uniwrap round baler/wrapper.

Using the new Rollant 255 fixed chamber baler linked integrally to a twin-arm satellite wrapping system, the Uniwrap is designed to make baling and wrapping a one-man, single pass operation.

One of those responsible for giving the Uniwrap a UK workout over the last two years is Tim Walker based near Ashbourne, Derbyshire. Mr Walker runs a 50-cow dairy herd on his 48ha (120 acres) farm and also operates a contracting business which offers silage baling, mowing and hedgecutting services.

Convinced more than a few years ago that baling and wrapping should become a one-pass operation, he was one of the first users of the innovative Reco Autowrap system.

"Anyone who has ever baled a field and then had to turn round and wrap them all will know what a thankless, time-wasting exercise it can be," he says. "Bales that have been left for only a few hours can start to heat up and become mis-shaped if they are handled several times. It made so much more sense to do the job in one go."

Hence Mr Walkers keen interest in the Claas Uniwrap system when it first became available for trial. The first year saw him making 9500 bales and the second 4500 and, according to Mr Walker, the trials were pretty trouble free.

"There were a few teething problems and we suggested a few modifications which Claas has since implemented in later machines but, overall, I am quite satisfied with the results."

The baling and wrapping process can be automatically sequenced. It starts with the formation of the bale, net wrapping, chamber exiting, film wrapping and off loading on to the ground.

"I always set the wrapper to apply six layers of film," says Mr Walker. "It may cost the customer a little more but the extra security it brings from not having silage-spoiling splits, is worth it."

He also raises some concern over the Uniwraps off-loading system which, he believes, can be a bit aggressive.

"When making heavy chopped silage bales in damp conditions – early in the morning or later at night – they need to be handled with some consideration. It may be a low level drop for the bales but I wouldnt risk dropping them while on the move," he says.

Mr Walker also questions why the Uniwrap is not available with the Variant variable chamber baler which could be used more profitably in straw with the wrapper unit removed.

Claas says it has considered this option and may well make such a combination available in the future but for the present at least, prefers to major on seeing how the machine progresses with the fixed chamber Rollant.

Output from the Uniwrap is an average of about 35 bales an hour although spot rates can be as high as 45. &#42

Tim Walker:"The Uniwrap makes baling and wrapping a much easier operation."