Video: See why this ‘bale chaser’ was bought in Co. Kildare

AgriLand paid a visit to Straw Chip (based near Athy, Co. Kildare) to find out why the business has invested in a purpose-designed machine (often referred to as a ‘bale chaser’) to collect big square bales of straw.

John W Anderson spoke to Mikey Malone, who works for Straw Chip. He joined the team, having returned home from New Zealand in March of this year.

He’s tasked with operating the company’s new Arcusin FSX 63-72 (pictured below).

Image source: John W Anderson

He explained that, based on first impressions, everyone is “happy with the [Spanish-built] machine”. He said: “Three or four men have been replaced [by this system].

“Usually, to clear fields, [we’d have] a teleporter in the yard; another in the field; and at least two tractors and trailers. Now it has all been replaced by just one tractor and one man.

“[Think about] the time it’s saving. While you might be bringing a smaller load – only 16 at a time – you have to consider the time spent loading the bales onto your [conventional] trailers.

“Tying down was the big thing; and hand-rolling the straps when you’d get back to the yard.

Image source: John W Anderson

“Now, if you sit into the tractor in the morning, you don’t have to get out of it at all. The main thing is to get the straw home as quickly as possible after being baled.”

He went on to say that the Arcusin has its own hydraulic supply, which he describes as “a great benefit”. He explained: “You’re not getting the back-end of your tractor warm, especially when you’re on the road all day – especially on a warm day.”

“[As for] the PTO; you’d barely only have it ticking over. It’s quite sufficient and you have plenty of power in it and the hydraulics are very fast – so you don’t even have to be revving up your tractor in the field.

Image source: John W Anderson

“The control box in it is very, very user-friendly. [On] most other bale chasers you have joysticks…and a lot of it is manual, but on the Arucusin – once you get into the field – you flick it into ‘auto’ and she’ll do everything herself.

“Once you’re lined up and correct going into the bale, she’ll do the rest herself.”

Ball-and-spoon hitch

Mikey also singles out the ball-and-spoon hitch for particular praise. He said: “On the road, there’s no chugging. And when you’re tipping the load, there’s no…bit of rising in the hitch at all.”

He also said that one of the reasons Straw Chip chose this machine was its ability to easily change bale size, compared with other chasers. He noted: “The bale sizes that we are using here are either 8X4X3 or 8X4X4.

“Your actual table doesn’t have to be changed at all. You only change your settings in the screen.”

He concluded: “Once the bales fall into the Arcusin, you’re loaded up and you’re out; you’re gone; you’re on the road before you realise.

“Your load is safe as well; you’re not watching in your mirror to see if a section is going to slip.”