McHale helps keep Slatterys focused on quality
There is a half century of history behind Roger and Helen Slattery’s Matamata based contracting business, and with innovation and foresight the couple are confident about what the next 50 years the business may bring.

First started by Roger’s father and Uncle, Roger has spent the last 27 years in the business. He has built a loyal following around the Matamata district and has seen the agricultural contracting game, become a completely different beast to when Slattery’s first started contracting with a tractor and a conventional baler.

The industry, like most, has become more competitive, downtime more pressured and the need for quality equipment greater than ever before. For Slattery Contracting the challenges are even greater, meeting the needs of a myriad of differing clients in the Matamata district.

These range from intensive “cut and carry” dairy goat farmers, to conventional dairy operations, lifestyle blocks, horse studs, dry stock operators on the foot of the nearby Kaimai ranges.

Over the years Roger has recognised the need for quality equipment that is capable of delivering to this varied and loyal client base. For his baling operations he has increasingly turned to McHale balers and bale wrappers.

The Irish based company has started using New Zealand as a testing ground for its equipment, recognising the demands placed on the equipment here will set the benchmark for global testing reliability and durability.

“On a visit to the McHale factory in Ireland in 2000, I saw the trials for the 998 square bale wrapper. We already had a 995, along with a 991round bale wrapper, and I had been impressed with their performance.”

He had always liked McHale’s design and solidness, resulting in good productivity and minimal down time. Now on his second McHale 998, the equipment manufacturer has yet to disappoint.

The McHale 998 averages 60-70 bales an hour confidently, and Roger has had his current machine achieve 100 bales an hour. There are numerous features on the machine that help explain its impressive capacity.

“The fact the 998 can hold a second bale ready to be wrapped, reduces your time loss between bales, once one is wrapped and dropped, you have the second one positioned right there, ready to go, letting you move on up to the next.”

Productivity is aided by the twin satellite arms for wrapping, while the hydraulically operated cut and tie system can hold film effectively in all weather conditions.

An automatic priming accumulator eliminates the need to manually re-attach the film, holding it ready for the next wrapping stage.

The swing draw bar is invaluable for accessing tighter paddocks in the area, swinging out from its headstock for operation. The integrated PTO driven load
sensing system simplifies tractor changeover, eliminating issues with differing hydraulic systems and flows.

McHale has a history of patented innovation for its equipment, and the 998 bale wrapper is no exception. It includes a patented roller angle measuring device, giving a consistent wrapping spread, regardless of the bale size or shape.

Now in his second season with his second 998, Roger says the machine is difficult to beat for simplicity of operation through its easy to use cab mounted control box.

“My staff tend to use it more than me, but when I get in, I find it is only a few minutes and I am up to speed.” One push of the start button initiates the complete wrap sequence.

Roger says clients are constantly amazed at the speed of the wrapper, and the popularity of wrapped bales has grown in the region.

“Clients like to be able to get them on their ute, and they are easier to feed portions off. More are going for the fine chop option too, particularly dairy goat farmers who are feeding the bales through their mixer machines.”

Flexibility with the McHale square bale wrapper is heightened by a round bale kit, meaning the 998 is a good standby in case of a breakdown.

Supplement sales form a valuable part of Roger’s business, and having a quality wrapper has been important for delivering bales in tip top condition with wrapping intact.

Roger also has a McHale Fusion baler-wrapper, a machine that has won accolades abroad for its sound design and superior build quality. “You do pay a bit more for the McHale equipment, but it does stand up well to Kiwi conditions and I think it has a lot to do with the trial work they have done
before they put them on the market.”