12 June 1998

Bale wrapper hits 40 bales an hour

By Ian Marshall

THE first UK user of the Goweil bale wrapper has discovered the secret of baling and wrapping more than 40 bales an hour as a one-man operation.

Colin Fergusson is using the Austrian-built Goweil bale wrapper at Croppings Farm, Horsehay, on the outskirts of Telford in Shropshire, where he runs a 200-strong beef herd on 69ha (170 acres) and operates a small contracting business which includes a baling and wrapping service.

"I have been looking at baler/wrapper combinations since the 1993 Grassland event. Not only does the design reduce machinery and labour costs, I believe wrapping immediately reduces the chances of spoilage in the bale. This is the first make I have liked which is not trailed and does not entail buying a new baler," he explains.

The baler – in Mr Fergussons case a fixed chamber Claas Rollant 46 Roto Cut producing 1.2m x 1.2m (4ft x 4ft) bales – is mounted into the front of a rigid chassis which incorporates the wrapper at its rear. The chassis runs on tandem pneumatically braked axles, with hydraulic and electric power coming from the tractor supply.

The wrapper was imported through Morris Corfield of Much Wenlock, which also carried out the conversion work.

"Fitting the baler into the chassis takes about a day," says director Norman Duppa. "Goweil produces versions to fit most popular makes of variable and fixed chamber balers. The price of a model such as Mr Fergussons, excluding the baler, would be in the region of £18,000 ready for the field."

Mr Fergusson points out the wrapper is always in the same position in relation to the baler because it is rigidly attached to the baler.

This, he says, results in consistently even wrapping because the bale is always sitting in the centre of the wrapping table and never hits the ground between the baler and the wrapper.

With two bales on board – one in the baling chamber and the other on the platform – the machine weighs around 6t. Field compaction tends to be on the low side because of the tandem axles.

Programming

Setting up the wrapper involves pre-programming the machine on a control box in the cab, where the number of wraps is entered and the operation method selected. An operator can select one of five modes.

In grass, the bale can be either automatically ejected from the wrapper once the wrapping cycle is complete, or held on the table until the operator instigates ejection to create an accumulator effect. These two choices are available for straw, when no wrapping is involved. There is also a programme to check that film wrap is correctly threaded through the pre-tensioners.

In the field, wrapping is fully automatic with each stage of the sequence being shown on the top line of an electronic display on the control box. The upper shows the operator the stage; the lower gives him the option of two alternative commands – automatic or manual ejection at the end of the cycle.

The wrapping sequence is started by the operator instigating netwrap-on when the bale is complete. This triggers an electro-magnetic switch to activate hydraulic motors, which move the wrapping table up to the rear of the baler on chains. Another button on the control panel is then pressed to start the automatic part of the wrapping – the baler is stopped, the door opened and the bale is ejected onto the wrapping table.

Bale weight activates another electro-magnetic switch and the table moves back to its starting position, wrapping then begins with two rotating arms each applying film from a dispenser.

Baling continues once wrapping is underway and once the required number of layers have been applied, the bale is dropped or held, depending on the mode.

Manual controls allow wrapping of individual bales loaded onto the table. There is storage space for ten spare film spools and the holders swing back to give access to the baler for maintenance.

Morris Corfield will be monitoring Mr Fergussons Goweil this season and any farmer and contractor reaction to the wrapper. &#42

Colin Fergusson (left) with Morris Corfields Norman Duppa, says the first weeks 600 bales threw up no teething troubles on the new wrapper.

Number of film wraps/bale and automatic or driver selected wrapped bale ejection is pre-programmed on an in-cab control box.