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Valtra and Kuhn grab the honours in baling races

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“Wheat straw does not bale the same as ordinary hay. It reacts differently,” says Devin Dedwith of Valtrac. “The character of the straw changes in the course of the day as it dries and then and becomes gradually smoother.”

However, this did not prevent Devin from winning the Farmspace Formula 1 baler competition in the division for balers with adaptable chambers at Formula 1 speed. His energetic team consisted of a Valtra T194 and a Kuhn VB3160, which rolled out two perfect bales with a combined weight of 664 kg within 64 seconds.

The baler competition, supported by Valtrac, was held for the first time in January 2019 and repeated in January 2020 near Parys, but for the sake of a change of scenery, and also a new challenge, it was decided to arrange the battle of the bull balers in December in the Western Cape’s Swartland region. The Meerhof wine farm provided the host setting and Optimal Agri assisted with arrangements. Half of the day’s proceeds was donated towards drought aid.

In the section for variable chamber round balers Kuhn competed against CLAAS (second), Krone (third) and Massey Ferguson (fourth). In the fixed-chamber section Krone Comprima came first, Massey Ferguson was second, Krone Fortima third en CLAAS fourth.

The balers compete in terms of speed, bale density, and bale weight and a special formula is applied to calculate points. Devin says the main advantage of the KUHN VB 3160 is that the baler is adaptable to reigning conditions. The baler is not so sensitive that the settings of early morning do not apply any more for the afternoon session.

The mechanism used to wind the baling twine around the bale is uncomplicated and it is a fact that, the less complicated any mechanism is, the less chance will there be for chaos. The bailer has a built-in rotor feed system directly behind the pickup mechanism. The shortened distance between the rotor and the pickup is one of the baler’s main advantages enabling it to bale better and faster.

The baler’s floor can be can be lowered from within the cabin by means of the drop-floor technology to get rid of any stoppage ultra-fast. The size of the bale — 0,8 m to 1,6 m, can also be adjusted from inside the cabin. Further adjustments, such as density and size of the bale core, as well as the pressure difference of the core compared with the outside of the bale, can also be adjusted from inside the cabin.

“The baler has no break bolts,” says Devin. “Both the power take-off and the pick-up are fitted with a cam clutch to safeguard the baler. Maintenance of the KUHN VB 3160 is just as trouble-free as the baling thanks to a single grease-nipple. It is also fitted with an automatic oiling system providing a continuous oil supply to all working parts, such as chains, consequently ensuring smooth continuous performance”.

The Valtra T194 Active was the best possible colleague for the baling race. Devin says the gearbox of this tractor was born for bale-making. “Valtra’s Powershift is the smoothest transmission one can hope to get. The operator only uses the clutch pedal when the engine is started. Then the Active Powershift automatic clutch takes over and continues to select the correct, most economic gear ratio according to the load and working speed.

“The Auto Neutral system activates the clutch automatically when the brake pedal is used, which is extremely handy when working with implements where regular stopping is required.

Powershift changes the gears automatically when the accelerator pedal is depressed and leaves the hands of the operator free to control the tractor and implement”.

“The five-range Active Powershift gearbox has four ranges and two creep ranges. This adds up to thirty forward and thirty reverse gears. The Sigma Power Steer of the T194 also supplies an additional 17 kW power to the power take-off when it is required.”

The operator almost sits on a virtual cloud in the T194 cabin with the tractor’s light suspension and an air-suspended seat, says Devin. Everything is in place for a long day of baling work and If it depends on Devin, the baling work will be done in a jiffy. He was awarded a special prize as ‘Speed Glutton’ of the competition – a bottle of superb Meerhof wine.

“With the previous baling race I came second in both categories. I then simply decided: “We will not be the runner-up again!”

Become part of the winning team! Talk to Attie de Villiers on 083-261-9863 or 056-817-7308, or send an e-mail message to You are also advised to visit on the internet for more information regarding the Valtrac range of tractors, implements and maintenance service champions.

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