CONSISTENCY, productivity and reliability are key when baling hay for the export market and when purchasing a baler.
The Somers family set aside about 30 per cent of their 4000 hectare mixed farming operation to hay production.
Situated south of Warraknabeal, Victoria, farmer, Scott Somers said his summer program can include as many as 12,000 bales.
Much of which is destined for the export market.
Mr Somers said when replacing his baler last year his purchasing decision was based on performance, price and support.
Victorian Case IH Dealer, O’Connors, recommended the Case IH LB434S XL, which was released into the Australian market in mid 2017.
“Eighty percent of our machinery is Case IH so it made sense to consider the large square baler for compatibility, plus we have a great relationship with O’Connors,” Mr Somers said.
“They offered me a good deal and I knew I would be well supported from an aftersales perspective.”
Mr Somers said he was happy with the performance of the LB434S XL.
“Early on, before we had rain on our hay, we were averaging around 750 kilograms a bale,” he said.
“After rain we came back to a more average program and saw bale weights between 670-700 kg in oaten hay.
“It was up around 700kg in perfect conditions and back to 670kg as the day deteriorated.
“Achieving that was really good.”
O’Connors Warracknabeal, sales manager, Geoff Leith said the greater weights and densities can be attributed to some new features introduced as part of the series.
“The bale chamber is now 31 pc longer, having been extended by 80 centimetres,” he said.
“When you combine that with automatic feed rate control you can expect not just better bale shape and greater density, but also more consistent density across the day as conditions change.”
Mr Somers said greater density directly impacts the bottom line by reducing freight costs.
“By gaining weight in the bales and not changing the size I can ensure trucks are loaded to full weight,” he said.
Mr Somers said the shape of the bales also appealed to carriers as the square corners allowed efficient stacking.
The Somers family are considering a second purchase as the price point means the business case makes sense.
“A lot of farmers might do 1000 to 2000 bales, with contractors doing their baling.
“At $18 a bale they are looking at costs of between $20,000 to $30,000.
“I think you’ll find that a farmer who does a bit more hay than the average Joe could buy this machine.
It’s cost effective and gives them more control than using a contractor.”
The Case IH LB434 XL series will be showcased at the Wimmera Machinery Field Days in March.