Victorian hay producer loves big 'square brick' bales

Updated August 24 2020 - 6:01am, first published August 20 2020 - 1:00am
BIG SQUARE BALE FAN: Warracknabeal hay producer, Scott Somers, says he likes Case IH LB4 big square balers because of their low maintenance and "brick" shaped bales.

The recent surge in demand for fodder has seen a Victorian farmer to lift his hay production from 30 per cent to 80pc of his 4000-hectare farm.

Warracknabeal farmer Scott Somers said he had been fortunate to get some reasonable seasons while many producers were hit by drought and bushfires.

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"Drought has had a small impact on our demand but the main driver has been an increase in clientele," Mr Somers said.

About 70pc of his oaten hay production and 50pc of his straw production is exported.

"We recently delivered hay and straw to Broken Hill and south west Queensland and it's still devastating out there. We certainly haven't slowed down and the variety of customers is broad."

Mr Somers bought his first Case IH large square baler in 2017 and was so impressed he's just added a second LB434S XL to his fleet.

"We get great consistency in bale shape and dimension with the LB4, they make a very square brick and compared with competitors they're cheaper and require very minimal maintenance."

Mr Somers has been pulling the newer LB4 Baler with a new Case IH Optum 270.

"The Optum 270 is a very user-friendly tractor on a baler. The cabins are comfortable in terms of the positioning in the seat and where things are situated, a short wheel base means it rocks a bit smoother and turns well, and the suspension makes it very comfortable," he said.

With five front wheel-assist tractors required just for hay, Mr Somers is well aware of how intensive hay can be.

"You're doing a lot of applications in one go. You've got to harvest by cutting, it's got to be raked, stacked, carted. And when you're doing that over a large area and a large number you have to have a lot of equipment working effectively."

Mr Somers said O'Connors, which supplies farm machinery, parts, service and precision farming equipment across three states, to keep his gear running around the clock at busy times.

Case IH has announced a number of upgrades on 2020 LB4XL balers including the new-generation TwinePro knotter for greater strength and less twine off-cuts, a stronger pick-up system and redesigned rotor cutter tines to improve cutting performance in high volume conditions.

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