More than 50,000 bales wrapped and contractor sticks with McHale.

When it comes to wrapping bales for silage, Victorian dairy farmer and contractor Jason Burleigh of Nullawarre near Warrnambool is a specialist; he’s wrapped more than 50,000 bales and all with McHale bale wrappers.

The family farm involves Jason’s mother and father Noel and Gail milking 230 cows on 320 acres; Jason is 4th generation on the land.

However wrapping bales is Jason’s contracting specialty – it’s all he does in his contracting business. Most of the family farm’s hay is bought in because of the challenges of making good hay in the coastal climate of western Victoria. However they make great silage, which accounts for about 90% of the farm’s own fodder conservation program, hence Jason’s skill and focus on wrapping bales.

About 10 years ago he started with a used McHale 991B. After wrapping about 28,000 bales this machine was subsequently traded-in on a new 991B, which is still in active service after another 25,000 bales. The first McHale was „not troubled” by its task and the second was „just as reliable”.

Last season Jason expanded his „fleet” with a new McHale HS2000 bale wrapper to help accommodate the growing number of 4ft bales – about 70% of his business. It has already wrapped some 6,000 bales.

The 991B will wrap either 4 ft or 5ft bales and it is still needed for some big clients who make large quantities of 5ft bales, he explained. And it’s still there as an insurance back-up behind the HS2000 that is designed to wrap 4ft bales, he added.

„The sheer speed of it” was the HS2000’s appeal for Jason. „I could have 1,000 or 1,100 bales a day in front of me and it’s simple – just drive forward and press a button. You can almost put anyone on the machine – it’s simple and automatic.”

„And it’s easy to set up, just press the „un-park” button. There’s nothing major to do – certainly nothing that phases me,” he commented.”It can be the worst shaped bale and it will still wrap it”.

Jason figures he averages 80 bales an hour with the McHale HS2000 compared with the 991B of perhaps 50 per hour. While theoretically capable of 100 bales/hour, he says this could be attainable in large paddocks and heavier crops.

When he started out, Jason said he looked around and saw that the McHale wrappers looked solid and well built. „They’re straightforward machines for sure, if anything goes wrong it’s easily fixed,”he commented. „Plus their resale value is good – there is very little depreciation when you trade them in”.
Jason said he was very happy with the service from local dealer Western District Agricentre and after wrapping more than 50,000 bales with two machines he had „no issues”.