The small bale packer market just got a lot more competitive with the arrival of a third accumulator, this time from Canada. It’s called the Bale Baron and it’s pitched against two popular existing machines – the US-made Bale Bandit and the Spanish-made Arcusin, not to mention a few 1970s McConnel bale-packers still working.
All three have the same aim, which is to get rid of the tedious manual handling of small bales and allow farmers growing hay for the high-value horse feed market to get their bales off the field quickly.
The 21-bale Bale Baron, made by Ontario firm Marcrest in Canada, has been in production for several years but the firm only started exporting in 2008. Sussex hay and straw producers/merchants Nick and Jonathan Scrase only heard about it when a friend saw it on the internet, but they were impressed by the high capacity offered by the Bale Baron and decided to bring one over to try out for this year’s hay season.
The Bale Baron makes a three-deep, seven-long pack and uses plastic twine rather than metal bands. The front caster wheel and entry chute are designed so that the bales will feed through smoothly even on sharp corners.
They first pass on to a rotating turntable which positions them ready to be loaded into the bundle. Once a full set of bales is in place, the pack is compressed and a standard Hesston knotter ties the whole bundle. Then the rear doors open and the newly-tied bundle is pushed down the exit ramp.
Towed behind the farm’s Hesston 4590 conventional baler, it can pack 600 bales an hour, ie 4500 to 5000 bales in a good day. It requires a 115 litres/min hydraulic pump output.
The Scrases then use a Terex telehandler and grab to pick up three packs (ie 63 bales) at a time. That allows them to get either 630 or 840 bales on each of their 40ft trailers and it takes about 25 minutes to fill a load.
After running 35,000 small bales of hay and straw through the Bale Baron this year, they have now become the official UK importer. Two fitters, each with 20 years’ experience of balers, have been taken on to provide service back-up and a full complement of spares has been shipped to the UK.
With a season’s hands-on experience of the Bale Baron, the Scrases reckon they will be able to deal with any technical queries customers might have.
Cost is £50,000. That sounds a lot, they admit, but for producers wanting to move large numbers of small bales at really high speed, the Bale Baron could be an attractive prospect.
Bale Baron UK can be contacted on 01403 878 002 or via www.balebaronuk.com