To achieve the best results from your baler at the beginning of the season or when starting work with a new baler, spend time checking over the machine and setting it up correctly. A couple of hours spent at this point will save hours of lost productivity in season.
To Make High quality silage certain conditions must be present. Below are some good tips towards achieving this and some problem solving solutions.
Make sure that the grass is cut 5-6cm from the ground to avoid soil contamination during drying, raking, baling and wrapping. Soil contamination will reduce the quality of the fodder in the ensiled bale. High dry matter content in a bale promotes good fermentation.
The bale should be made at the highest density possible, to reduce the amount of air within the bale to the minimum. It is important to make well formed, uniform bales and to apply net evenly across the full bale width S2S (side to side). Exposed fluffy shoulders on a bale also allow air to be trapped when the bale is wrapped leading to spoilage and fodder loss.
Bales should ideally be wrapped immediately after production. The maximum window to wrap bales is 3 hours. Longer periods will allow contamination from airborne factors such as fungi reducing fodder quality. Also the longer the wilt times the fewer nutrients that are maintained in the fodder.
Measure the width of the film before applying it to a bale. Then measure the width of film on the bale. A maximum film reduction of 20% is allowed. A greater reduction will cause film weakening and a reduction of the protection lifespan.
Example. For 750mm film it is possible to reduce the width to a minimum finished width of 600mm.
To ensure this, always keep the pre stretch rollers well maintained, at the correct speed ratio and free from tack build up. If the wrapper does not have a pre stretch unit neck down can be controlled by varying the turntable speed.
A minimum of 6 layers of film should be applied. Each layer should overlap the previous layer by at least 50% to achieve guaranteed results.
Round bale wrappers always apply a greater number of layers of film to the flat ends of a bale. Therefore wrapped bales should always be stacked on their ends, insuring the maximum layers of film are in contact with the ground for added protection. Before stacking the ground should be cleared of all sharp objects, stones etc so that the film is not punctured. This form of stacking also reduces the possibility of bales becoming miss-shaped by further stacking on top.
Bales should never be stacked more than 2 high.
Particularly high moisture content bales should never be stacked. This prevents the seal on the film from opening due to high pressure forces from weight above.
Wrapped bales should be stored away from trees or bushes. This avoids damage from branches etc and helps to reduce bird damage. Never leave wrapped bales out in the field for long periods after wrapping as this can also encourage bird damage.
To avoid bird or other animal damage finished bale stacks should covered with special bird mesh screens.
Careful attention should be given to the bale pressure depending on the type and conditions of crops being baled. In periods of extended dry and hot weather for example, straw bales can be much lighter than during normal conditions, even thought the baler is set to the same pressure settings.
In this situation, increasing the pressure in an attempt to produce heavier weight bales will exert greater tension on the twine, which can lead to potential failures. This however is not a twine problem. Failures are usually due to the drier crop having more potential energy and producing a bale with much more spring and significantly less weight for the same baler pressure setting.
If you experience difficulties then either reduce pressure setting or change up to the next heavier type of twine.
Baler care is obviously important to ensure efficient trouble free use, regular greasing and maintenance is of great importance, according to the baler manufacturer’s instructions.
The manufacturer’s handbook will also provide useful guidance on checks to be made should bale-tying troubles occur.
Regular checks on the conditions of twine knifes, keeper blades and bill hooks while ensuring correct threading and condition of twine guides and tension plates will all assist in trouble free baling.
There are many reasons for twine breakage, some common reasons are:
More liable to produce knots which are loose when coming off the bill hook, allowing the twine ends to reduce as the knot tightens when the bale is ejected from the chamber, leading to knot slippages.
These tend to have an inflexible quality which, when operating in a knotting mechanism, tend to form knots that enlarge when being drawn off the bill hook. Again, the knots are likely to slip open when the bale is ejected and maximum pressure is applied as the bale begins to expand.
This twine will be prone to miss-ties due to its irregular shape which makes it difficult for the knotter to handle correctly. Often the twine will be split apart when picked up by the bill hook, causing it to “hang up” and “miss-tie”. These twines are also less likely to hold position correctly in the twine retainers, causing incorrect tension when feeding knotters.