Continuous round baler continues development

During the National Farm Machinery Show in the US was the Vermeer working prototype of the Continuous Round Baler.

There was a sneak peak of this machine work two years ago and work continues on its development.

Farmers have been interested in this baler since news broke. Jessica Reis, brand manager, forage solutions, explains that farmers do ask when it’s coming to market, but that’s not the first question they ask.

“First they ask how much it costs,” she said. That detail isn’t available yet, but this won’t be the price of a standard baler since in fact it’s two balers in one.

It will require at least 165 PTO horsepower to run, but Ms Reis notes that for most larger producers who are the likely target customer this won’t be a problem.

Many already have bigger tractors for other farm work, and custom haymakers are running bigger equipment too.

Vermeer engineers and employees are running this machine now as it gets further refined. The key development area going forward will be the user interface, as Ty Hartwick, who is the chief engineer on the project, explains. Hartwick notes that users will find they can make more hay in a day and take advantage of the best weather to put up more hay.

Another key area of development is user safety. This machine has a lot of moving parts and now engineers have to make sure all the safety systems are in place. Mr Hartwick also notes that the baler will be ISO compatible to work with most controllers on the market.

The key reason Vermeer “went public” in 2014 with this baler is that they’re running the machine in different parts of the US.

Lely is also developing its own version of the baler and took the machine to Agritechnica.

The company has put more than 18,000 bales through its US prototypes since field development work began. The crops baled so far include alfalfa, rye grass, bahia grass, orchard grass, sudan-grass, hermathia, clover, fescue, star grass, oats and cornstalks.

“We’re working to have some customers run the prototypes this year,” Ms Reis says. These will be the first non-Vermeer employees to get some seat time with the machine and see how it operates in the field. It’s another important step to bringing this new non-stop round baler to market.