From Lockengate near St Austell, Cornwall, John Kestell uses a Vicon RF3325 fixed chamber baler with 14-knife Supercut system for his predominantly silage-biased workload.
His workload amounts to around 7,000 bales each season, of which there are a small number of hay and straw bales made.
“The new RF does make a hell of a good bale,” says John Kestell. “The density system is fantastic and it allows me to easily tweak the baler depending on crop moisture levels.”
“My old RF235 made good bales, but this one is so much better,” he adds.
As a contractor, he encounters all kinds of swath shapes and sizes, but the RF takes it all in its stride.
“I sometimes have to use the drop-floor system to help clear a blockage, and it saves me a lot of time and keeps me and my baler productive,” he says.
Ahead of the 2012 season, John Kestell had produced over 5,500 bales with the new RF baler, pulled with a turbocharged New Holland TS115 giving 145hp at the shaft. And he says that the increased bale weights from the RF have prompted him to look for a heavier tractor.
“Power is not a problem, but I could do with a TM or similar heavy tractor just to keep everything under control on the steeper slopes,” he says. “The bales I’m making are much heavier than those I’ve ever made – they are comfortably over half a tonne each and I have to take extra care to place them when working on slopes.”
Such safe operation does have an impact on output, but in average silage conditions, Mr Kestell makes up to 50 bales per hour. In hay, the output increases to around 80 bales/hour.
“To make a decent bale, I like to give them a few extra seconds to roll in the chamber before putting the net on,” he says. “The bale density we’re getting is fantastic – I’m very pleased.”
He says most of his dairy customers want their bales made using the Supercut knives. “It makes them easy to feed in a mixer wagon,” he adds. “I sharpened the blades once mid-season, and again when I put the baler away for winter. I’m looking forward to having a full season with it, in 2012.”