With two of his Krone balers due for renewal last year, Will considered his options and weighed up what he believed to be machines better suited to farmers and contractors, which helped narrow his decision down to two potential manufacturers.
Ultimately, Will decided to stick with Krone, after running the machines for the last seven years. Although open-minded to alternatives, Will’s previous positive manufacturer, dealer and product experience, plus the appeal of key new features to boost productivity, led to his commitment in purchasing a new Generation 5 BiG Pack 1290 HDP square baler.
- Updated styled panels, incorporating swing down and fold up twine boxes, for increased operator comfort when reloading with twine and improved serviceability with better access
- Updated bale chamber lengthened by 20%, with a full-width top plate added, for enhanced bale shapes and greater densities and weights (on non-HDP (High Density Press) models)
- Improved Variable Filling System (VFS) that continuously monitors the drive line load and provides visual feedback via the screen, making it easier for the operator to run the baler to its full potential
- Compression level within the VFS and slice thickness and quantity all adjustable from the cab in five steps, to adapt to changing crop conditions
- Hydraulically driven fans in the knotter cleaning system generating high-pressure air inside the knotter bay, to prevent debris collecting and further material build up on the baler
Will explains that 90% of his straw is cut for his power station supply contract, with Snetterton biomass power plant in south Norfolk. His main concern is therefore clearing fields fast enough for the farmers who agree to sell their straw to him.
“But I also want to get as much material as possible into every bale, to ensure each lorry is loaded with maximum efficiency. And naturally, on top of this, I look for features in a baler that make the baling job quicker and easier,” says Will.
Since hiring his first Krone BiG Pack 1290 High Speed, good outputs and reliability encouraged Will to buy his first Krone machine – a fourth generation 1290 HDP. A second fourth generation baler followed as his business grew – an eight-string 1290 HDP II.
“We bale up to 12,000 acres (4,800ha) each season. Some farmers want to remove straw every year to maximise income, minimise slug pressure and replace it with muck,” he says.
“We bale straw from most cereals and oilseed rape, with most of the latter going for processing into horse bedding.”
The 1290 HDP II proved to be an exceptional machine for the business, delivering speed, reliability and output. So, when Will’s first baler was due for renewal, the decision to stay with Krone was a no-brainer, especially with having a local dealer (Mark Weatherhead) particularly strong in Krone sales and technical support.
A visit to Krone’s factory at Spelle in Germany reassured Will he had made the right decision and a Generation 5 BiG Pack 1290 six-string baler soon arrived at the Toppesfield premises of WRM Agri in 2021.
He says while some of his decision was based on machine features, productivity and dealer support, another factor was seeing how Krone builds its products.
“When touring the factory at Spelle, I was particularly impressed by the manufacturing standards and technology, continuity of family management and the way customers are catered for. That sealed the deal for me to stay with Krone.”
Will explains that the contractor he worked with prior to setting up his own business provided him with a lot of experience of other baler manufacturers. “Most manufacturer designs seem relatively unchanged over the years, but the features Krone has progressively introduced have made its machines more appealing.”
“The biggest improvement by a country mile is the knotter cleaning system, which is far better than on our older baler, with its belt-driven fans. Often, if you have to get up on top of a machine to adjust a knotter, just a couple of hours after cleaning it’ll be covered in dust and chaff,” says Will. “But these new units are hydraulically driven, and they blow material down into the baler, leaving the top spotless.”
Acknowledging that wear and breakages occur whatever the machinery brand, Will highlights the move to more easier-to-replace internal parts as a huge bonus. “Key elements are now bolt-in, rather than cut-out and weld-in, and are much easier to access. For example, if something like a stuffer fork breaks, it’s not a matter of heating and hammering a bent item – it’s far easier to replace, and gaining access to the internals is simpler on the new baler,” he says. “I think a big baler can’t be judged properly until it’s done 100,000 bales, but from one season’s experience, I’d say the Generation 5 improvements to the BiG Pack balers have justified my investment in the machine.”
Will explains that the way the body panels are formed allows air to be channelled down through the baler and ejected around the wheels. “Not only are the knotters kept clean, but when you open the side panels, there’s virtually no dust or chaff – even after a week’s baling you’d think the machine had just been blown down.”