There’s not a hay producer anywhere who would complain about producing too much hay. That said, the reality of hay’s bulkiness is it can be a logistical and trucking challenge. Enter New Holland Agriculture’s BigBaler 340 High Density, which produces large square bales with up to 22 per cent higher density than conventional square balers. The BigBaler 340 HD translates to more efficient baling in the field, fewer bales per field, more tons per trailer, and savings in both time and transport costs.
“This is a completely new offering for the brand,” says George Rigdon, crop packaging marketing manager with New Holland North America. “As customers look to increase acreage and cover those acres really efficiently, we saw a need for the next step.”
The BigBaler 340 HD’s ability to form ultra-dense bales is thanks to its bale chamber, which is the longest chamber in the industry, and a plunger force that is 58 per cent more than New Holland’s Plus models.
“The longer the crop spends in the chamber, the more uniform, the more square-shouldered, the more consistent the bale length, and the more density you can pack into that bale,” says Rigdon. “The secondary benefit of the long chamber is that the bale has a shorter drop to the ground as it exits the bale chamber, which means less twines breakage and the bale shape stays more consistent.”
While the BigBaler 340 HD does a great job with hay, it really shines in wheat straw, corn stalks, grass seed stalks and other rough, stalky materials that typically bale loosely.
Rigdon expects the baler to be popular both with custom operators and higher acreage producers who prioritize high productivity.
“In terms of tonnes per acre, this machine offers close to a 20 per cent increase in throughput and capacity over the current Plus series. That means more tonnes per hour, more acres per day. Those are huge differentiators.”
However, Rigdon reminds producers to watch weights when hauling bales. “It’s pretty easy to be overweight on what’s legal to haul. If you’re not used to how much the BigBaler can push into each bale, you can easily run into trouble underestimating hauling weight.”
The baler carries the CropCutter system and the pre-compression chamber technology developed for high-density baling proven in the previous model. It also features several new technologies, including new MaxiSweep pickup technology, which allows smooth and accurate intake at higher speeds. As well, it introduces the new SmartShift gearbox, winner of the Agritechnica Silver Medal, which delivers a soft start-up, enhanced operator comfort and overload protection for the tractor’s driveline. Additionally, it includes an industry-first hydraulic axle concept with hydraulic suspension, which delivers improved weight distribution and ground following, plus easy maintenance access.
New Holland’s Loop Master double knot system, which uses both a conventional and loop knot, offers best-in-class solid binding. Launched on the Plus model in 2020, the knotting technology uses a loop knot, which is about 30 per cent stronger than a conventional knot, to start each bale. This stronger knot helps protect the environment and the forage by greatly reducing the risk of twine snapping and eliminates twine cut-offs.
“The loop knot is the knot that takes the plunger force as the bale is built. We increased the tensile strength of that knot by 26 per cent over a conventional knot, which means the producer can run a lower tensile strength twine,” says Rigdon. “Let’s say they were running 500-knot strength twine, now they can run 440 twine. It’s less money to run 440 than 500, but they’re getting the same tensile strength as 500.”
The BigBaler 340 HD also offers a short drawbar, which translates to improved visibility and maneuverability; a new and intuitive IntelliView IV touchscreen display; and a range of automated features including the IntelliCruise automatic tractor speed adjustment system.
“IntelliCruise essentially is technology that allows the baler to ‘talk’ to the tractor and say, based on the crop volume going through the baler, the tractor should speed up or slow down. No other manufacturer has a baler with the capacity to tell the tractor how to optimize speed,” says Rigdon. “It’s easy to find a driver; it’s tough to find an operator. IntelliCruise makes a driver an operator.”
New Holland did a soft launch of the baler to its North American audience at the World Ag Expo in California this past February.
“There’s a lot of excitement on this product,” says Rigdon. “There was a lot of interest before we even had the first unit on the ground in North America.”