Thursday, 10 September 2020 10:39

Contractor on a roll with bales

Written by  Staff Reporters
Kinsman Contracting’s Fendt Rotana 4160V combination baler/wrapper in action. Kinsman Contracting’s Fendt Rotana 4160V combination baler/wrapper in action.

Agricultural contractor Grant Kinsman sticks with what he knows and likes.

South Canterbury-based Kinsman Contracting employs 13 to 14 permanent staff, with numbers swelling to more than 30 with additional truck and tractor drivers during peak season.

Most employees live locally, although each year, three or four overseas workers join the team.

Grant Kinsman, who was born and bred on a farm near Waimate, has been an agricultural contractor for 25 years. His business offers a full range of agricultural services including drilling, ploughing, round and square bales of silage, and silage chopping.

“There’s not much we don’t do, with agricultural work from August onwards and silage and maize until the end of April,” he says. “As the silage starts to slow down from January. We also dig 700 to 800 hectares of potatoes, which carries us through to the end of June, allowing us to extend the season and keep full-time staff.”

When it comes to baling, Kinsman has used the same well-proven baling technology for nearly two decades. Having started with Welger 18 years ago, he moved to Lely machines, basically the same product, which proved to be reliable.

“They are very efficient balers, that got the job done and allowed us to make good bales for the farmer,” he says. “Back in those early days, there were a lot more sheep around, so our clients were mostly sheep and beef farmers. These days it’s about 70% dairy and 25-30% sheep and beef.”

So, when AGCO acquired the Lely brand, it made sense for Kinsman to stick with a brand he knew and liked. In 2019, he bought two Fendt balers, a Rotana 4160V combination baler/wrapper and a 4160V baler to accompany a three year old Lely RP 4160V machine.

The Rotana combination is powered by a Fendt 718 or 828 tractor, while the standalone balers are powered by a 718.

“We do have a lot of steep hill country that we work in, so we use the Fendt 828 to haul the combi around,” Kinsman says.

All three variable chamber balers make bales that vary from 0.9m-1.6m diameter and feature the Constant Pressure System (CPS). This applies pressure to the bale in the chamber to maintain constant density as the bale diameter increases during baling.

Along with high baling densities, the Fendt Rotana 4160 baler-wrapper has precise cutting, reliable wrapping and a quick discharge, that combine to produce top quality silage.

Kinsman believes one big improvement Fendt has made is a redesign of the transfer system that takes the bale from the chamber to the wrapping platform, which works particularly well on hillsides. Drivers also like the new ISOBUS monitor, which AGCO reports it has also received positive feedback on from farmers and contractors from around the world.

Kinsman Contracting mainly produces baleage from grass and some whole crop, using a tube wrapper to wrap the bales that are produced by the standard 4160 balers.

“I prefer variable chamber over fixed chamber balers because they make bales that are solid from the centre out and rolled from the start the whole way – so are also easier to feed out,” Kinsman says.

“I feed a few animals myself, so I know from experience that variable bales are better to work with.

“Most wrapped bales are 1200mm diameter, but we always make 1250-1300mm bales to give our clients a good service.”

Kinsman has high praise for his local dealer JJs Ltd of Timaru for a quality back-up service.

“Having a good local dealer makes a big difference,” he says. “You are not just buying the product, it is all about the back-up service. It doesn’t matter whether a machine is brand new or older, it still needs good back-up service to keep it running. It doesn’t make money sitting around doing nothing.”

www.AGCOcorp.com

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Lely offerings for the future

Dutch robotic specialist Lely launched a new farm management application called Horizon at its recent Future Farm Days 2020.

Designed to connect data from a range of on-farm equipment and suppliers into one management system, it creates a real-time decision-support platform, to make the farmer’s life easier, the herd healthier and the farm more profitable, says Lely.

Developed over a 24-month period, with over 100 test farmers in seven countries, working with 75 engineers, designers, farm management advisors, veterinarians and AI specialists, the new application will eventually replace the current Lely T4C management system. It uses smart algorithms and the cloud to deliver data that is processed into actionable information that is always accessible on any device in a user-friendly way.

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The migration is planned in a phased approach, from country to country, over the year 2021.

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The company suggests that feeding fresh grass makes better use of available roughage, suggesting “fresh” has between 10 and 20% more nutritional value than grass silage, as there are minimal losses typically seen during mowing, tedding, raking, harvesting and feeding.

Lely suggests that feeding fresh grass over an extended season reduces the amount of silage that has to be conserved, reduces the need for concentrates and bought-in feed and increase the margin made on each litre of milk produced.

Based around an all-electric vehicle that mows and feeds, Exos is light weight and uses soil friendly technology, that can be exploited throughout the growing season. Design to work 24/7 as feed requirements change, the system places no constraints on labour or time, while it is also designed to work in tandem with the Lely Vector automatic feeding systems.

In operation, Exos also collects field data as it goes about its job, giving framers live data on grass supply and lending itself to a further concept of delivering a targeted liquid fertiliser as it passes over a harvested area.

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