After announcing in March 2017 that it had acquired the hay and forage division of European equipment manufacturer Lely, AGCO strode its way into the Agritechnica farm machinery show in Germany that November and proudly introduced a new Massey Ferguson baler based in large part on the engineering it inherited in the Lely purchase.
There was no hiding the brand’s sense of the importance of that moment. The RB2125F model occupied centre spot at their exhibit.
AGCO’s existing Hesston by Massey Ferguson balers have dominated the brand’s baler lineup in North America, but some of that Lely influence has now shown up in two new Massey RB Series balers that debuted here this past summer.
The North American RB versions made their first public appearance at the U.S. Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, in August.
The RB Series is AGCO’s first baler designed for silage. The company says the RB1460V and RB4180V models are ideal for baling corn stover or hay in environments where getting swaths to dry down is difficult. Or they can be just a better choice for anyone who simply wants to put up higher-quality, high-moisture hay to improve feed characteristics.
“Forage dry down is a big challenge in areas with high humidity and frequent rain events,” said Matt LeCroy, tactical marketing manager for hay and forage at AGCO, in a press release. “Harvesting forage as baleage is an effective way to produce a quality feedstuff in environments where dry down is a concern. It’s becoming an increasingly popular option for dairy and beef operations, allowing them to cut, rake, bale, package and store the crop in one day without sacrificing feed quality.”
The two RB Series balers can build either a 4′ X 5′ or 4′ X 6′ foot round bale with adjustable diameters ranging from 35.5 to 71 inches.
With their unique overall appearance, the RB Series balers won’t be mistaken for any of the models in the Hesston-built line. Under their skin there are major differences there too.
They use a compact, cam-less pickup, which has fewer moving parts to make them much quieter and less sensitive to wear. And, of course, that should make them more reliable. The pickups have a five-bar design that is 84 inches wide. The tines use an extra-large coil to make them more flexible and less likely to break.
The pickup is positioned close to the rotor to improve material flow into the bale chamber. That, says AGCO, also helps produce a more evenly formed bale. The variable chamber design increases pressure on the bale as it grows in diameter to maintain a consistent density.
Two rollers located above the feed system help make starting a new bale easier, and a press roller near the pickup can smooth out lumps, keeping material feeding through at a constant rate for a better-formed bale.
The RB balers use a two-stage, anti-plugging system called the HydroFlex. With its flexing, the mechanical floor reduces the risk of plugging and makes the machine easier to clean out when it does. There is no need to get elbow deep into the baler to clear a plug either. That is all handled right from the tractor cab, just lower the mechanical, hydraulically controlled drop floor. That floor can also allow rocks or plugs to drop right out and clear the chamber even before it plugs.
The RB Series balers are available with the Xtracut 17 option. It uses two sets of hydraulically operated knife banks to give operators the choice of not chopping or having eight, nine or 17 knives engaged. That provides for adjustable cutting lengths down to 2.65 inches. The Xtracut 17 also is controlled from the cab for on-the-go adjustments to keep up with changing field conditions.
To wrap the bale up, the brand’s Varionet wrapping system uses net wrap that goes over the edge of the bale to make it less likely to come apart and better protect it from weather, which minimizes quality loss. The ELS (Easy Load System) carries two spare net wrap rolls, so replacing them requires less downtime in the field.