Reviews

Review: Live Mac L337 round baler

Mark Fouhy recently tested a Live Mac L337 round baler.

What’s it worth to you to have paddocks cut and baled on the day you desire so you can get them straight back into the rotation, growing more grass? Quite a bit I’m guessing. Well, this month I have found a machine that may just help you get things done on time.

The Live Mac L337 round baler is a cost-effective, basic baler that gets the job done on time and with minimal fuss.

With grass growth taking off and with thoughts of how to best manage surplus I caught up with the guys from Matamata Ag Centre in early October to check out the baler.

Matamata Ag Centre was appointed importers and distributors for the Korean-made Live Mac range of equipment 12 months ago. The range includes rakes, a bale wrapper, the round baler we’re testing, and a smaller round bale combi unit which will land on our shores in the near future. Matamata Ag Centre sells a wide range of new and used gear from its base in Matamata and stock a range of parts to suit the different machines sold and serviced.

The test

For the test I caught up with Damon Pawson of Matamata Ag Centre at Bob Henderson’s dairy runoff near Okoroire in the Waikato. Surplus grass had been cut the day before and was being rowed up ready for baling. The first cut and bales for the season can give an indication of how the rest of the season is going to shape up (good or bad).

Luckily in this case things were off to a good start, the crop wasn’t super heavy and a good job had been made of the rowing up. The Live Mac L337’s five rows of tines on the 210cm-wide pick-up made a clean job of picking up the crop and feeding it through the knives (you can choose to have none, half or all 13 knives) and then into the bale chamber.

Although you get most of the features of the ‘bigger name’ baler brands, what lets the Live Mac down slightly is the fact that it is mostly operated from one hydraulic bank on the front of the baler so if the baler happens to get blocked up, the driver is required to get out of the tractor to remove the knives or drop the hydraulic floor so the job can continue.

We had the Live Mac L337 operating at 540rpm doing 8-9km/hour while baling a rolling paddock. The crop wasn’t heavy but it worked well at this speed, only nearing completion of a bale did it slow down, which is to be expected.

Construction

I would score the construction of the Live Mac L337 pretty high for the farmer market it is targeting.

For a contractor, the 3250kg baler may not handle the quantity of bales required to do in a day, but for a big farming operation I would suggest the L337 will fit your requirements no sweat. Obviously like all balers and farm equipment, you need to look after them to ensure longevity.

The Live Mac also had good clearance from the PTO/drawbar, which doesn’t catch and drag the crop along. Side panels are fairly square, so there are no big ledges full of material at the end of the day, saving the operator precious time clearing them out. Grease nipples are mounted in banks either side for easy location.

The one area that was a little disappointing was the finish and labelling of controls on the control unit in the cab and the hydraulic bank on the baler. In the cab Pawson had labelled the controls himself to make life easy and to save him learning Korean.

Live Mac5

Operation

For me, the operation of the Live Mac baler can be summed up in two words – simple and easy. While Pawson had spent a little bit of time setting up the net wrap before I arrived as well as the bale density, this is done on the in-cab controller and the bale density can be adjusted using a lever under the right-hand panel.

To ensure good tight bales, the Live Mac baler has mechanical locking tabs to lock the door shut while in the bale forming process. When the bale is complete, the controller will beep twice when the door opens, and once when it is closed again. With the hydraulic bank of functions you only require one double acting rear remote and another single remote to operate the door. The in-cab control unit is basic but functional and can give you bale tallys should you require them.

The verdict

The Live Mac L337 is a solid, no fuss performer. The lack of bells and whistles in this case would be one of its strongest selling points, as a lack of electronics means there are limited things that can go wrong, and perfect for a farmer-targeted machine. Very competitive pricing is another reason to possibly investigate the Live Mac.

Pros

  • Simple operation.
  • Minimal electronics and sensors means less chance of problems and requiring a service technician.
  • A new baler at used baler price.
  • 12-month warranty.
  • Readily available parts if required.
  • Compact/manoeuvrable machine.
  • Easily handled by a 100-120hp tractor suiting the market it targets.

Cons

  • Decals on the control unit to explain function, Korean symbols standard.
  • Hydraulic bank could have better identification of functions, although I’m sure this will be sorted.

Read the full article in the latest issue (#224) of Farm Trader magazine. Subscribe here.

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