With harvest 2021 on the horizon, balers everywhere are about to get put through their paces, marking an apt time to consider whether or not it’s time for something new. CPM picks out some of the most recent launches.

Mounted on the wrapping table, this technology weighs each bale and provides a rolling average of the previous three bales.

By Charlotte Cunningham

With the weather turning catchy again, thoughts are soon moving to how this harvest will fare for growers.

And while this is still very much unknown, one thing that is for certain is that there’s going to be an awful lot to be done in a short amount of time.

From a machinery perspective – and on the balers front – this means that kit has to be more efficient than ever, while still maintaining quality.

Below, CPM has picked out some of the most recent developments in baler technology, as well as improvements made to film and film binding to ensure quality is maximised this harvest.


Kuhn recently announced a number of updates to its baling equipment, designed to improve efficiency and quality.

Namely, this comes in the form of a new optional humidity sensor to help achieve optimum dry matter – available on the firm’s VB variable chamber balers and VBP BalePack variable chamber baler-wrappers.

According to Kuhn, this device can measure forage composition up to a level of 40% moisture, providing a useful way to monitor a crop’s suitability to hit a target dry matter. “The humidity sensor is available on all models in the VB and VBP ranges from 2021 and will be retrofittable onto 2021 machines and beyond,” says Katie Calcutt, product specialist.

“VB balers and VBP Balepack baler-wrapper combinations are equipped with Kuhn’s progressive density baling chambers and are suitable for handling a range of wet and dry crops: from hay and straw (5-20% moisture), to haylage (18-35% moisture) and silage (35-80% moisture).”

From 2020, the VBP BalePack has been available with Kuhn’s film-binding system as an alternative to net binding, she adds. “This system has been successfully deployed over several years on the FBP BalePack and the compact i-BIO baler-wrapper combination.”

A bale weighing system is also being launched as an option on Kuhn’s FBP BalePack and VBP BalePack baler-wrapper combinations, from 2021 onwards. “Mounted on the wrapping table, this technology weighs each bale and provides a rolling average of the previous three bales, allowing an estimation of total production of forage or straw,” says Katie.

On the square baler front, developments to Kuhn’s SB range include an adaptation of the pick-up to improve intake and an expansion of the bale channel to increase the consistency of bale density.

“At the intake end, the new power feed roller actively follows the height of the swath and the overall tine-to-tine width within the pick-up has been increased. This improves the consistency of crop flow to the rotor, removing peaks in power demand and reducing the risk of blockages.”

At the output end, the bale channel length is now 375cm and includes a total of nine cylinders. This ensures consistency in bale density, particularly when baling very dry material, she adds.


Also focusing on film and film binding is Pöttinger, with the launch of a new feature on its Impress round balers to improve forage quality – a new multi-function binding unit that can use net or film.

According to Pöttinger, the advantages are higher silage quality, improved surface protection and easy bale handling.

“One of the many advantages of film and film binding is the three-fold improvement in protection of the forage due to the increased number of layers,” says Shaun Kent, Pöttinger UK. “This ensures that the forage is well protected when it is ejected from the wrapper, and later when it is transported from the field.

“Silage bales also benefit from additional compression: The diameter can be reduced by about 3cm, corresponding to an oxygen reduction of about 70 litres. The increased oxygen barrier reduces the risk of mould formation by promoting a rapid reduction in the pH value.”

Because the new binding unit, which is available as an option, can be used to bind bales with either a conventional net or with a binding film, the system provides maximum flexibility in all operating conditions, he adds. “Only a short time is needed to change over. The roll of net or binding film is hydraulically braked by a tension roller. An additional tail binding unit allows the binding film to be fed reliably into the bale chamber.”

To protect the film and to make it easier to change between net and film or vice versa, an additional sliding roller has been installed in front of the roll holder, notes Shaun. “The roll holder is designed to accommodate rolls of binding material up to 1420mm wide with a diameter of up to 310mm.”

A camera is installed as standard to ensure operational reliability, and Shaun says this allows the driver to monitor the binding and wrapping process on fixed chamber balers and Impress Pro variable chamber balers.

New Holland

Since its entry into the large square baler segment in 1987, the New Holland brand has produced a total of 1.2M baler units and adding to its offering is a new addition to the BigBaler 1290 range – the Packer model.

“This year we complete our offering with a new high-capacity Packer model,” says Alessio Merlo, product marketing manager for hay and forage and crop production in Europe. “This features three 3-tine packer forks, manufactured with heavy-duty components, to ensure durability while matching the baler’s high throughput.”

But this increased capacity and durability doesn’t compromise on performance, and Alessio says the new Packer model delivers the same all-out productivity and efficiency of the BigBaler 1290 High Density CropCutterTM models.

The BigBaler 1290 High Density was launched at Agritechnica 2019 and in the same year, was crowned “Machine of the Year”. “The CropCutterTM and Packer models produce bales of up to 22% higher density than conventional large square balers, significantly increasing transport and bale-handling efficiency,” he says. “The MaxiSweep pick-up helps feeding crop at higher rates, resulting in increased capacity and performance, while the SmartShift gearbox, delivers a soft start up resulting in greater comfort for the operator and overload protection for the tractor’s driveline.

The patented LoopMaster knotting technology ensures solid binding and protects the environment and the forage by eliminating twine offcuts, while the short drawbar concept ensures excellent visibility for the operator and manoeuvrability, adds Alessio.

“Comfort is further enhanced with a new user interface using the large IntelliViewTM IV touchscreen display. A range of automated features, such as the IntelliCruise system which automatically adjusts tractor speed, add to the productivity and comfort of BigBaler 1290 High Density models.”


For the 2021 season, McHale has expanded its range of variable chamber balers with the introduction of the McHale V8940 non-chopper baler and the McHale V8950 15-knife chopper baler.

These high output machines are designed to produce dense bales from 0.6m – 1.9m in diameter.

According to the firm, this increase in bale size and improved density means the McHale V8 baler can produce bales with up to 30% more crop in a 1.9m bale then what is achievable in a 1.68m V6 bale.

The new McHale V8 variable chamber baler range possesses a number of key features:

  1. Higher intake: New pick-up with a choice of cam track or cam-less to choose from. Larger lateral feed augers. Larger rotor.
  2. Adaptive intake – specifically designed to allow the intake area to automatically adjust to changes in material flow.
  3. Selectable knives – As well as a standard 15-knife chopper unit, the selectable knife systems consist of two knife banks that allow for various knife configurations to be chosen to allow 0, 7, 8, or 15 knives to work.
  4. Drop floor unblocking system – for dealing with blockages caused by uneven swaths.
  5. Bale chamber with three heavy-duty endless belts – fitted as standard in all V8 machines.
  6. High-performance netting system – The netter has the capacity to take rolls of net up to 1310mm in width and 180° wrap around on the feed roller to prevent any net slippage while feeding.
  7. Automatic greasing – This system delivers a measured amount of grease around the baler every time a bale is ejected from the bale chamber.
  8. New panel design – twin skin durable panels which open upwards to provide better access to the machine’s components.
  9. Expert Plus control console – operator can adjust core size and bale size; core density and bale density and revolutions of net being applied all from the cab.
  10. Bale kicker – All machines are fitted with a bale discharge sensor, which notifies the driver when the bale has left the bale chamber and has passed over the bale kicker.

The new McHale V8 variable chamber baler range is fitted with heavy-duty components ensuring long life, high levels of reliability and a machine that is rugged enough to handle the toughest of crops and ground conditions, says Martin McHale, marketing, and sales director.

“Our new V8940 & V8950 have brought baling to a new level with higher density, increased bale size, better intake and easier maintenance.”