Product feature: Bale Baron

The Bale Baron bale accumulator is designed to be towed behind a tractor and scoops conventional bales and ties them into one big brick of nine, 18, or 21 bales

The latest model Bale Baron 5250P (owned by Searle Contracting) working near Christchurch on lucerne hay

Jones Hay is based in Awanui, Northland, and a key part of its business is creating and managing a high volume of hay bales.

Making up to 100,000 conventional hay bales of various varieties, the traditionally back-breaking task of picking up this many bales is a daunting task. However, thanks to modern innovation and technology, it’s a problem that Jones Hay has solved thanks to the Bale Baronmachine.

Manufactured in Canada, by Marcrest, the Bale Baron bale accumulator is designed to be towed behind a tractor. It scoops conventional bales out of a paddock and ties them into one big brick of nine, 18 or 21 bales.

Adding to the high-volume capacity, Jones Hay has grabs that can pick up two or three of these bricks together. That means it has the capacity to load 63 bales onto a truck in one action – a massive saver of both time and labour.

Johnnie Jones, the man behind Jones Hay

Owned by Johnnie Jones, Jones Hay has a reputation for quality products and service.
The decision to invest in a new Bale Baron 4245P was made a couple of seasons ago and it has proved to be one of the best-ever efficiencies.

As well as speeding up the overall operation, the Bale Baron allows for baling on a finer weather line, as the hay can be loaded up and stored in a fraction of the time.

It also speeds up loading hay for clients. Jones Hay sells hay behind the baler and out of the shed all year round. About 90% of their clients are on lifestyle blocks or have horses.

"For the elderly or those who can’t load themselves, having the bricks of bales is so much easier. We can put a brick of 18 bales from the Bale Baron onto a trailer in a minute, or one person can load up a truck and trailer with more than 1000 bales in under an hour," says operations manager Waiata Hewit.

Jones Hay has its Bale Baron set to make bricks of 18 bales.

Stacking one of the Jones Hay barns, the bricks making it a breeze

"We decided to do 18s because they fit better in the shed for stacking. A brick of 18 also sits perfectly on a single axle trailer or can be slid into a horse float. They also stack on large trucks better," says Waiata.

It’s easy to change the number of bales in a brick using the Bale Baron’s computerised control system.

When Jones Hay sells hay out of the shed over winter, they take the top grapple off the loader and handle one brick at a time.

The Jones Hay operation is spread over about 700 acres, on farms, in close proximity to each other. The home farm borders on the famous Ninety Mile Beach, which is roughly 87km of beautiful coastline.

Marcrest says that the Bale Baron can bundle 1000 bales per hour in ideal conditions.
"On big flat paddocks we are flying, but with the hills it’s a bit slower," says Waiata.

Jones Hay often uses a 125-hp John Deere tractor to tow the Bale Baron, as well as opting for a bigger tractor towing the baler and Baron together in tandem with a receiving platform. The Bale Baron secures its bricks of bales with four rows of twine and a double knot Rasspe knotter.

The Bale Baron in hilly work on the Jones Hay farm

The Bale Baron was provided by NC Equipment in Canterbury, and Jones Hay says they are delighted with the service they’ve provided.

NC Equipment technicians came up when the machine was delivered and ran through it all with the Jones Hay mechanic.

Waiata keeps a store of spare parts because they are so far away from a major centre. NC Equipment provided all the basic wear parts, and if anything else is required, it can be sent to them on the overnight courier.

"Considering we’re so far away, that has been very good," she says.

"It has sped up our operation exponentially. We don’t know what we did without it. It’s one of the best pieces of machinery we’ve ever used."

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