When you bale between 400 and 500 tonnes of hay per year, you do not have time to struggle with obstinate or inadequate implements. Douglas and Isabel Dickson from Lydenburg realised some time ago that they could no longer farm productively with small square bales they used to make.
They have about 380 lactating cows and the cows need to be fed from the farm. Good quality hay and lucerne planted in a biological system on the farm form the basis of the feeding programme. Everything that is not grazed, gets baled. Douglas says sometimes the kikuyu can get out of hand and needs to be baled as well.
Valtrac held a demonstration of the new fixed-chamber Kuhn FB 3135 large round baler on the farm. Douglas says a number of aspects impressed him from the onset, convincing him that the baler should remain right there:
Douglas says in one afternoon session he can easily bale eight to ten hectares at a convenient working speed with his 105 kW tractor. He recently also bought an eight disc Pöttinger mower and power rake from Valtrac. They now cut and rake an area one day and bale it the following afternoon with his Kuhn when the material is dry enough.
“Previously we had to plan very carefully, always taking the weather into account and working only small areas at a time. Now, even if I see the rain coming, I still have enough time to finish the work,” says Douglas.
Isabel says she is the cleaner on the farm, but often pieces of baling twine would end up in the feed which may lead to serious damage. With the Kuhn FB 3135 every bale is neatly wrapped with netting and no pieces of twine end up in the feed.
Douglas says the netting may cost a little bit more, but in the end you have less damage. Up to 400 bales can be wrapped with one role of netting, meaning fewer time-consuming stops to reload.
You can adjust the tightness of the wrapping and the number of netting layers. His machine is set on two and a quarter turns and that is quite adequate for their purposes.
In the winter the Dicksons also supported a drought-stricken farm in the Tzaneen area with feed and Douglas says the bales maintained their shape throughout their journey: Neat and tight!
With the latest self-lubricating technology, maintenance of the machine is a lot easier than in the past. Douglas says there are two or three grease nipples to attend to, but it this can be done in less than a minute.
When the Dicksons bought the Pöttinger and Kuhn equipment, they became part of the Valtrac family, and now also enjoy the legendary service offered by Valtrac. Douglas says the dedication of Valtrac’s people surprised him.
“They did not simply drop off the machine but made sure that everything was set up right and working perfectly.” Douglas says he struggled a bit to master the electronic control panel, but Devin Dedwith explained so clearly over the phone, so that now it is a piece of cake.
“Valtrac’s representatives in Middelburg will often pop in when they are in the area, just to make sure everything is working fine. They really care,” he says.
Advantages of the Kuhn FB 3100 series
- The new FB 3130, FB 3135 and FB 3135 BalePack can produce exceptionally compact bales even in difficult conditions.
- The FB 3135 models are completely automated with ISOBUS steering and controls from the cab.
- A 230 cm cam-track pick-up with 5 rows of pick-up tines, maximum ground following and short crop roller ensure optimal, clean intake of material, even at high speed.
- The balers are equipped with the patented Integral Rotor Technology with 14 or 23 blades. The double rotor tines are made of Hardox wear plates. Standard hydraulic rotor disengagement and drop floor technology ensure fast and easy clearance when a blockage may occur.
- The fixed chamber has 18 rollers with symmetrical profiles which generate exceptionally high density and reliable bale rotation in all crop conditions. The tailgate act quickly to ensure ease of operation. It opens and closes within 4,5 seconds.
- Wide tyres: 555R22.5