Our experience can’t be bought, that’s why you get it for free!
You work with our machines in the great outdoors: an environment that is greatly influenced by the soil, weather and other external factors, and that presents new challenges every day, like driving over a big stone in the grass, or a tree-stump, just when you notice that a thunderstorm is brewing.
If you run into a problem that even a Lely machine cannot cope with, it is essential that any breakdowns resulting from damaged parts are limited to an absolute minimum. This is why our dealers are geared to responding rapidly, so that your activities can be resumed as soon as possible.
They hold stocks of the most essential parts and boast the expertise needed to get the machine in question performing optimally again. Furthermore, they can rely on the back-up of the Lely organisation seven days a week.
So opting for Lely entails more than just choosing a machine. We ensure that your forage harvesting goes smoothly.
Live Life Lely
The baler whisperer
The baler whisperer
Michael Hunkenschröder becomes passionately enthusiastic when he talks about his Welger AP 61 pick-up baler. Although a veteran machine now, the old lady is still in service life and continues to be absolutely reliable.
The facts: the pick-up baler with the machine number 1116.04 774 was built in the Welger engineering works in Wolfenbüttel, Germany in 1975 as part of a very successful baler series. Some 20,000 machines of the AP 61 series and the related AP 63 and 63 S left the factory between 1970 and 1988. It is cautiously estimated that around 20 % of the AP 61’s built at that time are still in service. The machine was designed as a long-lasting, heavy-duty baler for contractors. The bale dimensions of 0.36 x 0.48 x 120 m seem modest in comparison with the big balers used nowadays, but that was the preferred size more than two decades ago.
The brand you can trust
A leap in time to 2008: this was when Michael Hunkenschröder took over his father’s farm in Herzebrock, Westphalia in Germany. Assisted by his father, Hunkenschröder works some 11 hectares part-time, concentrating on grassland, maize and oats, as is typical for the region. Occasionally, Hunkenschröder bales straw on a contract basis for friends on nearby farms. There is a long tradition of Welger machines in the Hunkenschröder family. Father Karl Hunkenschröder worked with an AP 45. When his son took over the farm, he bought a used AP 61 and completely refurbished it himself. This was because of his second passion: Hunkenschröder is a qualified machine tools mechanic and works for a well-known company in the woodworking industry. A job related in many ways to that of an agricultural machinery mechanic. The young farmer knows his AP inside out. He looks after its maintenance at the beginning and end of each season and makes sure that it is safely stored in winter. “One of the best moments for me is the beginning of a day during straw harvest time. You just give the baler a quick check and grease and you know it will run all day. The reliability of our AP over all these years makes it a joy to work with. And whenever small wearing parts have needed replacement I have always received them without delay, even now, 23 years after production of the series ended”.
A profession becomes a hobby
The part-time farmer does not, however, simply accept the status quo. Minor improvements are made to the baler in almost every season. “Unfortunately our AP was one of the last in a series that was fitted with only one tamper on the right in the direction of travel. Later models had these tampers on both sides, which meant faster bale production and a more even bale. Because of my profession, working with metal constructions comes naturally to me so I spent a couple of winter days retrofitting the baler myself. This improvement reaps its own rewards with every new season. Our press is not only a machine that we need to do the job, but also a fascinating hobby”.
This season Hunkerschröder and his friends are demonstrating their perfect unity with the baler for all to see. Hunkerschröder has had a special present made for each member of his team: an AP fan-shirt. And what is more, this AP will not be the last one in his life – he is already toying with the idea of buying himself an AP 630 or 730.
Lely Welger RP 235 Profi - Paddy, Michael and Tom Nolan - Ireland
Seeing Double in Wexford
Paddy Nolan took advantage of one of the rare sunny days last summer to get some silage baled and wrapped. Paddy along with his sons Tom and Michael, cover a tight radius contracting around the Taghmon area of the Wexford countryside, as well as running a substantial tillage outfit!
An integral part of their successful contracting business are Nolan’s two Lely Welger Profi 235 round balers. Paddy bought his first Lely Welger baler; an XtraCut 17” in 2007 from Donohoe Agri.
“In one season we had notched up a remarkable tally of 17,000 bales, with little or no trouble, that gives a pretty good indication of the Lely Welger’s reliability under a heavy workload” states Paddy.
He was so impressed with the Xtracut 17 that he traded it in along with a Claas baler and invested in two Lely Welger 235 Profi balers last season. They are working a wrap and stack system which allows them to strive for an optimum bale count of 75 bales of hay an hour and on average 60 bales of silage an hour. When the pressure is on, the Lely Welger baler definitely shows its strength and quality. The main benefits of the Lely Welger baler are its renowned tailgate locking system, 2.25m pickup and hydroflex floor along with dual race bearings as well as 25 knives.
“The Welger balers are ideal for large throughputs”, says Tom. They’ve got reliability and capacity to handle large volumes. “Last season when baling hay, in good conditions, I did 300 bales of hay in 3 hours, picking up 20ft swaths, now that’s what I call a great days work.” comments Tom.
The output of their two Lely Welger Profi balers is approximately 30,000 bales per annum.
“The Profi is a very fast baler and when you’ve a lot of ground to cover that is exactly what you need.” concludes Michael.
Lely Welger RP 235 Profi Goweil Combi Unit - Michael Kelly - Ireland
Goweil Combi crowned king of Munster
It was the day after the Munster hurling final when the premier county were crowned Munster champions, that I visited Michael Kelly in Killenaule, Co. Tipperary. After a lengthy 13 years contracting, Mick has finally found a winning baler wrapper combination unit that he is happy with. Doing on average 5,000 bales of silage and 7,000 bales of straw, Mick needs a machine he can rely on and he has found a winner in the Lely Welger RP 235 Profi Goweil G5040 Combi Unit.
The Goweil G5040 combination bale wrapper allows any baler to be installed into the unit with minimal changes to the frame of the machine. “This means that in today's machinery business the contractor can cut the cost of replacing a combination unit by only having to replace the baler”, concludes Mick.
In work, the simple and easy to use Goweil control system operates the wrapper functions and some of the baler functions making the baling-wrapping process fully automatic.
The tandem, braked axles along with floatation tyres ensures the combination unit is very stable on undulating ground and their position does not restrict the manoeuverability of the machine.
As Mick often changes his baler every season he decided this time around to go with the Lely Welger RP 235 Profi Goweil G5040 Combi Unit; “the number one reason for going this route is because of fuel savings on diesel”, comments Mick. “As well as that you only need one man to run the outfit rather than two”, he adds. With one baling season over him Mick can confidently encourage anyone thinking of changing to a Goweil combination unit to do so.
“Its twin plastic dispensers with film monitoring ensure high speed wrapping without any complications.” Almost standard fitting in the G5040 is the Lely Welger RP 235 Profi round baler, both of which complement each other both in output and reliability. The Lely Welger RP 235 Profi features a 2.25 metre pickup, a 25-knife chopper unit and hydroflex floor control, which helps clear blockages efficiently.
Although, the summer of 2008 dramatically affected baling, the tandem bogey axle with low ground pressure tyres gives the machine amazing stability in wet conditions. Mick and his staff are happy to crown the wrapper combination first prize in their contracting business.
Lely Welger RP 235 Profi Goweil Combi Unit - Gabriel Mullins - Ireland
Converted to a Combi Unit
Based in Claddagh Co. Galway, Gabriel Mullins, farmer/contractor purchased a Welger RP 235 Profi/Goweil G5040 baler-wrapper combination in 2008, from his long term dealer Terry O’ Neill in Clonberne. Gabriel does some contracting work within a ten mile radius of his home and last season alone the baler combi unit produced over 9,000 bales of silage, 4,000 of which were for himself. On top of this he is busy farming 140 sucklers and Gabriel finishes all his own weanlings but is now seriously considering the profitability of this area in the future due to “poor returns”, especially now with the reduction of the €80 suckler cow welfare scheme.
After researching quite a few options open to contractors who wish to go for a baler-wrapper combination unit Gabriel decided to go with the Lely Welger/ Goweil combi unit. “I am a firm believer in the time and money saving that results from using a combi-unit, as one less driver is needed” states Gabriel. It is hard to argue with those who see merit in a good combi system. “The fact that one man can do two jobs is an advantage that cannot be overstated, given the labour shortages being faced by contractors in the west these days” he adds. “One major point to watch out for is increased machinery costs, when you are cutting a full man out of the job you need to be realistic” finishes Gabriel.
This is the first combination unit that Gabriel Mullins has bought and only began using it last May. Although he had no previous experience in the combi market Gabriel opted for the combi unit due to the fact he had been using a Welger RP235 for the last two years. “In a way, I had experience of one half of the combination; I’ve found it to be a good, reliable machine. Only once in two years did I have a problem with the baler and that was just a drive chain.'' adds Gabriel.
When asked about the output of the machine Gabriel dispels any myths. “Depending on field sizes, crop content and weather conditions 50 – 52 bales is the average per hour, if after 12 hours work I can have over 600 bales made on my own I go to bed a happy and contented man.”
The Goweil part of the combi-unit is made in Austria. The machine has a twin axle, which allows it to work on softer ground, as can be found in the west. "That's one of my favourite features of the machine,'' said Gabriel. That said, in softer ground conditions, twin axles are a major plus for farmers wary of rutting and also a major advantage on the road ensuring a smooth ride.
Gabriel pinpointed the RP 235 tailgate locking system on the back door - which ensures the formation of a compact bale - as a useful feature. Hydraulic systems have the reputation, amongst other disadvantages of opening under high loads. The latches on the Lely Welger machine frame and tailgate securely locks ensuring bales are denser and well formed. "Basically, it means that when I'm trying to make a heavy compact bale, the door won't start levering open and wreck the structure of the bale. It physically cannot happen due to the latches.''
Keeping his options open
The biggest attraction for Gabriel with this machine was that you can take out the baler after a few seasons and replace it with a new one - without having to trade in the whole unit. That means a considerable cost saving, as well as an obvious flexibility. For example, if a contractor decides to trade in a conventional combi-unit that he bought two years ago, he must replace the baler and the wrapper part. Gabriel intends to keep the Goweil frame and wrapper, but trade in the Welger baler component in two years' time. A new baler then will cost considerably less than an entire new outfit.
What are his expectations for the coming season? "I think bales will remain popular,'' he said. “I know costs are increasing but bales are still essential for certain types of farms. My customers are very happy with their well chopped bales. With this set-up, I can do the baling and wrapping jobs myself - I'm no longer dependant on sourcing another driver for the summer.''
Craig Pilet - Lely Welger RP 420 Variable Chamber Baler - New Zealand
Lely Welger RP420 Variable Chamber Baler
4 Seasons prove Lely's rugged strength
It is easy to sing the praises of a new machine, whether a ute, tractor or implement - however it is only after afew years under the rigours of daily use the real deal shines through, warts and all.
Often that initial ‘good deal' falls away under crippling maintenance costs, plummeting depreciation and lack of service support. For Craig Pilet of Pilet Contracting in Marton there was no such problem with the purchase of his Lely Welger 420 balers made four seasons ago. Craig can testify that the reliability and productivity he was promised with the two machines then was well founded, matching and exceeding even his own high standards.
He has established a reputation through the lower North Island for the high bar he sets on bale quality, working more within the demands of the particular crop than the potential through put of his machines.
He has a large amount of hay and balage trucked out of the Marton region and he relies on a quality product arriving at the other end that is testimony to those standards. Craig purchased his second Welger 420 after the floods in Manawatu saw a lot of new grass planted and a surge of crop for balage and hay the following spring-summer.
"The second machine just meant we could keep up with the demand at that time."
Today having the second machine has given his business the flexibility to seize on ideal baling conditions for his clients in a timely fashion and secure the highest quality harvest for them.
He has found the Lely Welger 420s deliver the ideal advertising for his business when the bales get to their final destination, dense and consistent, earning plenty of positive feedback from transporters and farmers alike.
Despite having four seasons behind them, maintenance requirements have not been significant on the 420s. Some routine bearing changes have been the only components requiring replacement. The original sprockets and chains remain, no chains have broken and Craig attributes this to their superior quality and strength, something that underscores all aspects of the 420s' build.
"We would only be tightening sprockets and chains three times a season, compared to once a week with our earlier baler. The 420s also have a very good auto lube system, and there are only a few greasing points, making them very easy to keep operating and maintained."
With one third of his baling business as hay and two thirds as balage, his machines are expected to perform consistently across a range of conditions in the mixed cropping-pastoral region. These range from difficult to bale, axle flow barley straw to lumpy, wet high moisture annual ryegrass. On these type of crops Craig admits he was concerned about the 420's smooth belts being able to manage, but soon had his fears allayed.
"The worst crop was one of damp May balage, but it still surged through it, no problems. We have not had a crop yet we cannot manage." He has heard of one operator who has managed to get 100,000 bales from his baler's belts, and now at 30,000 from the originals on his own, he could believe that.
"They have not had any problems, no breakages and if you are an operator who takes the effort to pick anything that could be a problem out of the windrow, it's likely they will go that sort of distance."
Craig appreciates the smooth productivity of the 420s and usually averages 65 bales an hour pacing his machine to the nature of the crop, but can quite believe they are capable of up to 100 an hour. Productivity and minimal down time is enhanced by the Hydroflexcontrol floor system that allows for 15mm of play in the feed table floor. This helps reduce tongue pressure at intake when small lumps and material enter. However should clumps continue into the chute the drop floor system can be simply lowered to enable the rotor to carry No rights can be derived from the contents of this document the crop into the chamber with no loss or overspill. Operation from the cab via hydraulics means "no more prickles in the hands," says Craig.
The Powersplit main gearbox placed in the middle on the 420 power ensures power is delivered equally along the driveshaft. This eliminates unnecessary torque loading on the PTO shaft, delivering an even, direct drive to the feed rotor.
The resultant balage bales will consistently weigh between 650-700kg on a four foot bale and he has produced bales up to a tonne.
Craig acknowledges he was initially concerned at the simplicity of the E-Link cab controller on the 420s, including its absence of a feed track control. It turned out his fears were redundant. Despite having no bale tracking device, the 420s still maintain excellent flow balance through to the bale chamber, something Craig attributes to the rotor design that keeps an even grass flow, and means he can keep his eyes ahead more, rather than zig zagging down the windrow to keep the crop flow even into the chute. The controller contains all the information he needed in a compact form and underscored just how much of simple machine it was to run.
"I can put an operator on it and know they will get a good job done with it."
Greg Burnand - Welger RP 435 - New Zealand
Welger RP435 a contractor pleaser
Greg Burnand admits he is something of a connoisseur when it comes to round bales and haylage production.
It is not only because he wants to deliver the best for his clients in the Patea district of Taranaki that he feels this way. It is also because he will often be feeding out the products of his contracting work himself, to his 400 cow dairy herd. ''This means when it comes to round balers we are pretty fussy about what we use,'' he says.
His business Burnand Contracting also focuses only on cultivation and baling, so achieving a high standard is critical to maintain repeat business in the largely dairying region. High standards were what led him to be one of the first in the country to trial the new Welger RP435 variable chamber baler, distributed here in New Zealand by Lely. The Welger RP435 builds on the reputation established by its predecessor the RP420, which has won on-going praise for its reliability and strength of design from farmers and contractors alike.
''We had usually got three balers on the go over busy periods, but we traded one of our previous balers for a poor replacement machine, leaving us a baler down.''
This made the decision to opt for the lesser known Welger a big one, but Greg admits he has never been one to ''follow the crowd''.
Greg was looking for greater reliability and lower running costs from the Welger after his experience with the previous brand of baler he had. Belt replacement and repairs had proven to be an on-going bug bear with the brand, costs he wanted to reduce, if not eliminate.
''I know the Welger was a more expensive machine, but I was struck by the simplicity of design and the solid build quality through it, it really looked like it would do the business.''
Typifying that strength is the RP435's PowerSplit main drive that divides PTO power, delivering half to the bale chamber and half to the pickup-feeder. This acts to reduce unnecessary torque loading on the PTO shaft, delivering an even, direct drive to the feed rotor and chamber.
Coupled to the gearbox is a wide angle PTO shaft, featuring an auto reset clutch that disengages chamber drive when the power limit is reached. The clutch eliminates the risk of wrap up and overload through the shaft.
''Anything that takes the pressure off all over the drive system has to be a good thing for reducing wear and tear.'' Greg says this first summer has proven to be a challenging one, simply because of the difficulties the weather has presented in getting crops done, and the type of grass crop that has eventuated. However the Welger has managed all conditions outstandingly.
Like many areas, December in Taranaki proved cold with low sunshine hours slicing baling days and growth to a minimum.
''We ended up with a lot of short, very green grass crops when the growth finally did come. These are not often crops that round balers handle very well, being hard on the components. Balers can often clog up with rubbish quickly, slowing you down.''
However he has had no problems with the Welger. ''In fact I have yet to find something it doesn't like. I think it has a lot to do with the design of the chamber which does not tend to clog up the way some do.''
All Welger RP435 machines feature the Mastercut 13 knife set-up that delivers a finer cut to increase bale density, improve balage fermentation and give a more digestible feed structure for dairy cows.
The unique HydroflexControl facility on the chamber intake also does much to explain the Welger's voracious appetite for any kind of grass.
HydroflexControl allows for 15mm flex within the feed table floor, reducing tongue pressure at intake when small lumps and material enter.
Should a larger lump continue into the chute, the RP435's hydraulic drop floor system is designed to cater for this.
The floor is simply lowered to enable the rotor to carry the crop into the chamber without any loss or overspill. The hydraulic operation from the tractor cab has effectively eliminated reversing systems for unblocking grass lumps. This has not only allowed for a simpler gearbox design, but removes the need to get out of the cab for time consuming unblocking.
The E-Link Balercontrol has made the link between operator and machine seamless, and easily understood by Greg's staff. He says features like this and the drop floor have made the Welger hugely popular with his drivers.
''In fact I have used it less than anyone, they are always so keen to get out there with it!'' The summer of 2006/07 has not been the greatest season to try and estimate the Welger's throughput, with many light, small crops imposing a limit on potential productivity. However given the difficult conditions, Greg has been nothing but impressed by the quality of what the Welger has delivered.
''It has been one of those years where what comes out the back is very important, and we have had nothing but excellent, consistent bale quality, despite the conditions.''
The bale consistency of the RP435 is ensured with its unique intelligent belt tensioning system.
It initiates mechanically, then engages a hydraulic system once a set diameter is achieved. Belt tension increases with bale diameter, ensuring a constant surface pressure and bale density up to the maximum bale size. Other brands he has used have their chambers operating at over 3,000psi, but the Welger has been running well under that.
Greg believes this will also mean less stress and maintenance as a result. This will only be enhanced by the endless belt system that has no vulcanised joins which ''has got to be a bonus for maintenance'' says Greg.
With the success he is enjoying with the RP435 Greg Burnand, who admits to never following the crowd, may soon have the contracting crowd following him - all the way to another Welger RP435.
Graeme Cottrell - Lely Welger RP 435 Farmer Mastercut - UK
Lely Welger Balers
Graeme Cottrell’s experience of round belt balers began some 25 years ago when he began contracting for neighbouring farmers. In those days, bales were tied with string and the baler needed re-setting and adjusting every time the baler moved into a different field and crop. After seeing a Lely Welger Belt Baler RP435 eat up grass silage during a demo in 2007, Graeme was convinced that problems in the 1980s had well and truly been overcome with the modern technology found in the Lely Welger baler.
A Lely Welger RP435 Farmer Mastercut Variable Chamber Baler was purchased new in 2008. The Lely baler coped with every crop it tackled, efficiently and quickly baling 10,000 bales. “I was constantly amazed as to just how much grass went into the Lely baler,” said Graeme. One thing, which was noticeable throughout, was that the bales produced certainly did not "squash up" on the trailer when loaded for transport. “Our LELY bales were solid bales. Net and wrap was saved as are disposal costs and our customers had better-made silage.”
Tim Brooks, Area Manager for Lely (UK) LTD gives his opinion
“One item that sets the Lely Welger Balers apart from other makes is the flexcontrol. This WelgerR patent enables the floor to flex down 20mm at all times. Whilst this seems a small amount of movement, it is sufficient to allow wodge’s of material through which otherwise may have blocked the baler. As far as I am aware Lely Welger is the only company that has this flexible feed “throat” and the only true anti-block device which does not require complicated reverse drive systems.”
Andy Pryce of local dealer James Pryce Tractors reports that "he can't get enough" of Lely Welger second hand balers to satisfy demand, “so its just as well that we can sell new ones.”
David Wordsworth - Lely Welger RP 435 - New Zealand
Lely success no baling accident
An unfortunate encounter between a road roller and hay baler had a silver lining for Northland contractor
David Wordsworth early this summer. When David's baler was hit hard by the roller at the season's start he knew he had few options other than to look for a replacement while the damaged one was fixed.
It was a wise decision; waiting for repairs would have cost him the season and lost him clients with the
damaged machine taking two months to repair. Meanwhile David opted for a Lely Welger 435 variable
chamber baler to couple up behind his Case CVX 1155.
"We needed a good high capacity baler to lead the season and the Welger soon proved its worth and a good choice," he says.
He knew there were not a great deal of Welger RP's around, but had heard only positive feedback from
contractors who did have them, particularly about their low maintenance requirements and excellent
David and wife Adrienne are now well into their second decade contracting in the Te Kopuru region of
Northland, with most clients close by. The couple started contracting from humble beginnings, when baleage was in its early days, purchasing a second hand wrapper and baler and gradually building the business up.
In the high stakes, highly competitive game of rural contracting they have succeeded by choosing robust,
quality gear, not getting too big and offering a high standard of service. The business also fits well with their maize growing operation with grass harvesting and cropping they get a good spread of work all year around.
The Lely Welger's appeal lay in a strong frame with features that focussed on high productivity and simplicity of operation.
"We were particularly impressed with the HydroFlex Control floor which saves reversing up to get rid of any blockages, and how easy it is to use," he says.
HydroFlex Control allows for 15mm flex within the feed table floor, reducing peak pressure at intake when
small lumps and material enter.
Should a larger lump continue into the chute, the 435's hydraulic drop floor system is designed to cater for
The floor is simply lowered to enable the rotor to carry the crop into the chamber without any loss or overspill and no pressure or stress on any part of the machine. The hydraulic operation from the tractor cab has effectively eliminated reversing systems for unblocking grass lumps.
This has not only allowed for a simpler gearbox design, but removes the need to get out of the cab for time consuming unblocking.
Maintenance or the low need for it was also appealing to David. The endless belts on the Welger without
vulcanised joints have seen some contractors report up to 80,000 bales before requiring replacement.
With only 8,000 bales away this season David still has some way to go, but he also sees the benefits in the belt system from the bale quality the Welger produces.
"They are the most beautiful tight dense bales you could expect, and the consistency is remarkable."
The Welger features an intelligent belt tensioning system. It initiates mechanically, then engages a hydraulic system once a set diameter is achieved.
Belt tension increases with bale diameter, ensuring a constant surface pressure and bale density up to the
maximum bale size.
This ability to vary pressure depending on bale size contrasts with models that deliver constant high pressure of around 200 bar, regardless of bale size. Overloading failure risk is reduced with the Welger's variable pressure, and a more consistent bale density is the result.
Consistent quality has not compromised productivity however and David has been highly impressed with the Welger's huge appetite for consuming grass at relatively high ground speeds.
"In fact it is quite scary, just how fast you can go, and still produce an exceptional bale." One job this season had him produce 80 bales an hour, completing 200 bales in just three hours on an exceptionally heavy crop.
David's business is split between silage and hay, 25:75 and the Welger's variable chamber copes easily with either crop, even short green silage crops that can be hard on pickup gear.
"The Lely Welger may have cost us a bit more, but over the life we expect to gain from it an exceptional
productivity and low maintenance."
Johan and Andries Kramer - Welger RP 435 - The Netherlands
Choice for variable chamber round baler made easier by practice test
Eighteen years ago, Johan Kramer and his son Andries started an agricultural contracting business, mainly focusing on baling and wrapping of round bales. In the course of time, they have grown into that specialism and by now they are operating a combination of two fixed chamber balers and two variable chamber balers.
In their early days, the Kramers started with a Welger RP 200 and a separate wrapper with an output of 15 bales per hour. At the time, they opted for Welger equipment because they had already been operating a Welger AP square baler. This baler was exceptionally reliable and boasted a high output for its time. In the meantime, Johan and Andries have purchased 12 more balers because they moved along with innovation to stay ahead of their competitors. The Kramer contracting business processes approximately 20,000 bales per year.
In the context of their constant quest for improvement it was decided in the summer of 2008 to embark on testing - together with agricultural equipment dealer Gerlsma - a variable chamber baler in a wrapper frame. Testing went quite well and it appeared that far higher speeds (15 to 20 km/h) could be attained with the variable chamber baler while in addition bale density was improved due to constant compression. Shortly afterwards, it was decided to start with a new RP 435 model in a wrapper frame in the next season. Quite soon after the start of the new season, reactions from customers were so positive that a second combination was soon purchased. Present output is around 30 bales for the fixed chamber baler and 40 to 44 bales for the variable chamber baler.
In Johan Kramer's opinion, the major benefits of a variable chamber baler are: improved output, increased bale density as well as a larger volume per bale, because they mostly produce bales with a 1.40m diameter. In spite of the higher price per bale, Johan has managed to motivate many clients for the variable chamber baler. Eventually, that system benefits both parties. The customers receive bigger, more tightly compressed bales with increased volume and, hence, better forage preservation. They pay a slightly higher price but that is amply compensated by the lower number of bales, bigger volume and improved density. Kramer's most important benefit is situated in output. The baler makes bigger and heavier bales and therefore there is less standstill for net binding and bale transfer. In addition, the contractors can drive faster with the variable chamber baler. The most immediate saving is achieved in costs for film; those costs are higher per bale but substantially lower in total.
On the whole, the variable chamber balers perform excellently in Dutch silage crops. When operating in - softer - autumn grasses, the contractors are often in favour of the fixed chamber baler because of its reliable performance. However, you never can tell... The next development is on its way. The Kramer contracting business is one of the firms where the Lely Tornado will be extensively tested this season. Definitely a fresh challenge for these seasoned experts!
Lely Welger Tornado sweeps onto market
For Robert Walters it was not enough to simply be involved in the prototype development of Lely’s new baler-wrapper combination, the Lely Welger RPC 445 Tornado. He liked the outcome so much he has decided to buy one for next season.
Lely engineers have recognised the demands New Zealand conditions place upon equipment, and view the steeper country around Otorohanga where Robert is based as the ideal test bed for such important product development work. So for the past two seasons he has come to know the Lely development team well, working closely with engineers from Holland, and their technical expert here, Harry Smith.
Between them Harry and Robert have spent many hours, either running behind the prototype machine analysing every aspect of its operation, or jumping in and out of tractor cabs to check bale outcomes. For Robert it has meant early morning finishes for much of the busy spring season as the machine was fine tuned and put through its paces.
“The key focus for Lely was to design and produce a fast, strong baler-wrapper and that is exactly what they have done, and just what I as a contractor want, so I bought one,” says Robert. The resounding impression the Tornado made with Robert was its voracious appetite for grass, he calls it a machine with a “need to feed”.
The Tornado’s baling technology is essentially the Welger 435 baler, a machine that has a reputation for enduring strength and high output. That reputation for capacity has been boosted further with an 800mm cutting rotor featuring six tines on each ring. The 2.25m pick up is a cam-less design, reducing moving parts and lowering maintenance requirements.
“It is a very tidy, complete grass pickup, and the tine set up definitely aids this too.” The 435’s legendary bale density remains in the Tornado, producing up to 5’25 (1.60 cm) bales that can be rolled out completely without a solid, compacted core at their centre. The Welger Tornado features an intelligent belt tensioning system that initiates mechanically, then gets assisted by an additional adjustable hydraulic system. Belt tension increases with bale diameter, ensuring a constant surface pressure and bale density from the core. This feature contrasts with brands that bale with constant pressure and have a reduced density with increasing bale size.
“So for feeding out purposes the bale quality is awesome, you can really unroll the whole lot all the way without that last hard centre core.
” For a complex piece of equipment, Robert has found the Tornado remarkably easy to operate, and is particularly impressed with the in-cab monitor display.
“All the information is easily scanned and understood, from bale size and progress, density, PTO speed, wrapping progress, it is all there.
” Smart engineering linking the baler and wrapper boosts the Tornado’s productivity, with the wrapping cycle initiated before the door is closed. This is also aided by smooth bale transfer between the two – the difficult angles Robert was working on did not hinder the transfer with excellent bale guidance between baler and wrapping table.
Like the Welger RP435, maintenance is minimal. The easily accessible knife bank only requires sharpening once a week, and only a few grease nipples require attention. It is not only lower maintenance costs that the Tornado brings to Robert’s business however. “Combining the wrapper and the baler in one means we cut out a labour unit, a tractor and another piece of gear. And once farmers see the density and consistency of these bales, we are convinced we will get new clients with the Tornado - it is an awesome machine.
Tornado whips through the bales says Wairarapa contractor
B and B Contracting (2006) Limited has recently added a new Lely Welger Tornado baler-wrapper to its fleet and has seen the benefits of owning the high-tech machine this season.
B and B Contracting is co-owned by Jake Hawkins, Richard Blundell and Sandy Bidwell, and they do every aspect of agricultural contracting except fine-chop silage. The Featherston-based business runs a large fleet of machinery and employs six permanent staff and up to 10 operators during the peak of the season. One of its latest acquisitions supplied and serviced by Wairarapa Machinery in Masterton is the Lely Welger Tornado fully variable baler-wrapper combination. In addition to having a variable baling chamber, the automatic wrapping system is also variable.
Jake Hawkins says the Tornado replaced another baler and is the latest technology on the market, which was the main catalyst for the upgrade.
"We didn't have any issues with our previous baler but we thought that this was a new machine and we would give it a go."
B and B Contracting bought the baler-wrapper last October and has done 12,000 bales with it this season – 9000 of baleage and 3000 of hay. "We've baled lucerne, oats, clover and ryegrass for baleage, as well as hay. It's been really good and I can't fault it," he says. "We had a second-hand Welger baler that we bought a couple of seasons ago and we had pretty good success with that on hay and baleage, so we knew what sort of bales we'd be getting out of the new Tornado. I've operated it myself all through the season and it's run very well."
The speed of the new Lely Welger Tornado baler-wrapper has definitely helped B and B get through each job quickly. Jake says the speed of the wrapping is second to none and the transfer of the bale to the wrapping table is good.
With its automatic wrapping system, the Tornado wraps bales so quickly that the output of the variable round baler can be utilised to its full potential. "The Welger has quite a high capacity and it can do the job, so we've been getting through a large number of bales a day. If we can get a good weather pattern we can really get through it," Jake says. "It produces a pretty dense bale. We've been averaging 60-70 bales an hour in good going. It blows our previous baler out of the water."
Jake particularly likes the bale transfer system of the Tornado baler-wrapper. The Tornado's transfer table folds up out of the way, which helps will reduce the likelihood of damage. "The wrapping system is very good and is very quick. It's got a solid ring on the back and I'm quite impressed with it. It doesn't seem to leave big tails on the bales. When it cuts the wrap off it leaves them pretty tidy," he says. "I was making 1.4m bales and they were pretty big bales. It was on a hill block and they were popping out and hitting the ring and I was pretty impressed with the robustness of the machine."
Jake says the Tornado is well suited to experienced operators. "It's not a machine you would put the new kid on the block in because you're not just operating one machine, you're operating two machines. But like any new machine, once you get your head around all the electronics and computer it's very easy to operate."