European expatriates will certainly be familiar with the Lely brand of equipment. The brand has had a presence here in North America for several years as well, and long-time Canadian dairy operators will be well aware of their barn systems. But the brand has had a strong presence in the hay and forage sector overseas — up until 2017 that is. That’s when Lely sold its hay and forage division to AGCO.
And it didn’t take long for AGCO to take some of the Lely engineering and incorporate it into is marquee brands. At the Agritechnica farm machinery show in Germany that November, AGCO introduced a new baler under the Massey Ferguson brand that was based on the existing Lely design. The RB2125F model occupied a central spot at their exhibit.
Canadian farmers have been used to seeing AGCO’s Hesston by Massey Ferguson balers, which have dominated the red brand’s baler line up in North America for years, but some of that Lely influence has now made its way into MF red paint here too. AGCO introduced new Massey-branded RB Series balers this past summer at the U.S. Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, in August.
The RB Series is AGCO’s first baler designed for silage. The RB1460V and RB4180V are designed for baling corn stover or hay in environments where getting swaths to dry down is difficult. Or for those who want 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 foot or 4 X 6 foot round bale with adjustable diameters ranging from 35.5 to 71 inches.
The RB models have their own unique overall look and they have their own engineering underneath the sheet metal as well. They use a compact, cam-less pickup with fewer moving parts. That makes them quieter and less sensitive to wear, which should also mean fewer things to break! The pickups have an 84-inch wide five-bar design, with tines that 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 for 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 HydroFlex. With its flexing, the mechanical floor reduces the risk of plugging and makes the machine easier to clean out when it does. Any plugs are handled right from the tractor cab, by lowering the mechanical, hydraulically controlled drop floor. That floor design also allows rocks or plugs to drop out before plugging occurs.
RB balers include Xtracut 17 as an option, which is controlled from the cab. It uses two sets of hydraulically operated knife banks to give operators the choice of chopping material with eight, nine or 17 knives engaged. Chopping lengths can be set as short as 2.65 inches.
The Varionet wrapping system applies net wrap over the edge of the bale to make it less likely to come apart and better protect it from weather to reduce weather-related losses in quality. The ELS (Easy Load System) carries two spare net wrap rolls, so replacing them requires less downtime in the field.