Matching quality equipment to country well suited to maximising that equipment's potential makes contracting a rewarding family affair for Waikato operator Trevor Lalich. Trevor runs a successful grass harvesting business with younger son Daniel. Their machinery line up includes the latest Fusion 2 baler-wrapper from McHale. The Fusion has established itself locally and internationally as the first choice for contractors wanting a reliable, compact baler wrapper that delivers faultlessly over the intense silage baling season. Trevor is on his third Fusion, having been one of the first contractors in New Zealand to buy one four years ago. "We know Paul McHale of McHale Engineering in Ireland, and we were one of the first to trial the machine when it came to New Zealand and it was soon apparent this was the one for us." Other baler wrappers Trevor had considered were simply not compact enough and lacked the simplicity that is a key appeal to the Fusion 2.
Today much of its operation is left to his son Daniel who confidently runs the machine coupled to their 160 hp tractor. The country around Waitoa and surrounding areas has enabled Daniel to get the most out of the machine, delivering up to 75 bales an hour, and wrapping around every 30 seconds. Even normal output of 65 bales an hour is impressive. "Our best day was an 11 hour day where we did 700 without any problems," says Daniel. The Fusion 2 model has incorporated all the award winning features of the earlier model,
plus some improvements. It is the predecessor to the machine that earned it the top machinery award at the UK Royal Show in 2005.
Based on an assessment of its ability to operate under rigorous commercial conditions, the Fusion 2 has "taken the best and made it better" says Trevor. Changes include
a slightly higher profile to the machine that ensures it passes over contoured ground easily and the grass crop is better presented to the intake. The drop floor ensures uneven swaths can be unblocked simply by engaging the hydraulic ram and re-engaging the PTO to feed the blockage through. This temporarily widens the feed channel. Simply resetting the floor allows baling to resume.
"A new bale transfer system has eliminated the need for a drop roller, ensuring a smoother bale transfer operation and removing a major grease point. The transfer over the baler axle reduces the stress on the tractor and machine."
"You also notice in the Fusion 2 that they have managed to reduce the weight by 500kg which is good in wetter conditions, and this has partly come through using tubular steel rather than box section," says Daniel. The tubular design also
eliminates the need for cross member supports and any build up of crop that would happen there. A lighter machine has not compromised the Fusion's inherent strength however.
Daniel says features such as wider diameter roll pins won't break and ensure the harvesting knives don't pop out.
The Fusion 2 has been developed in close consultation with contractors, with contractors in Europe and New Zealand. It shows in the attention paid to high load components including the double raced chamber bearings on the main load points and 50mm roller bearings on the drive and non-drive side. All rollers have 50mm forged shafts with self cleaning seals minimizing wear and crop contamination.
The fixed bale chamber now has 18 rollers, which improved the machines efficiency in drier material and delivering an even smoother bale transfer. Operator feedback comes via a monitor that is visually easy to follow, with controls simply laid out, and now with infinitely variable volume control for the bale buzzer. Bale position within the machine is simple to see, and indicators include the number of wraps completed and ring speed in RPM's.
Operators have the flexibility of working in either silage or switching to operate as a fixed chamber hay baler. Given the smaller size of farms in the district, both Trevor and Daniel appreciate the compact footprint of the Fusion 2. This has been made possible by the horizontally split bale chamber, with baler rollers effectively transfer the bale into the wrapper, eliminating the need for extra length via a separate transfer mechanism. Length has been kept down to a minimal 5.8 metres. Transfer time between chamber and wrapper is shortened and machine output increases as a result, giving operators a highly productive machine with the added benefit of no separate operator required for a wrapper. The Fusion is well suited for farmer clients who may occasionally have a couple of small paddocks they decided to wrap up out of the main silage season, easily moving in and out without the hassle of stacking or requiring extra equipment. "It offers us a great balance with our large bulk silage business, and Daniel can easily go off for the day on his own getting a lot of bales done with no hassle." Trevor says farmers are very happy with the bale quality the Fusion 2 delivers, with
its sharper edges producing a bale more easily handled and stacked than competitor's shape.
Maintenance time is shortened thanks to a progressive oiling and greasing system operating every time a bale is ejected. Oil and grease pass through the progressive blocks to deliver consistent supplies throughout the operation, and delivery can be managed through the cab mounted control panel. The only other maintenance involves keeping the knives sharp, with their double sided nature even reducing this requirement. "There is no doubt, this is a very easy machine to operate, and it is one you simply pick up, put in the paddock and off it goes, no problems. Also Trevor's dealer Piako Motors says the "latest model has only reinforced the enviable reputation McHale are building with the machine that continues to deliver for demanding contractors and impress their farmer clients with its bale quality."