Machinery & Products

Wrapping up a hypothetical silage venture

By John Droppert

I’D BE willing to wager that every machinery enthusiast has their share of ‘aspirational’ purchases.

The machines that you don’t strictly need, but with whose hypothetical selection and applications you preoccupy your spare time.

I have several such concepts, none of which I will outline, because my wife may read this and zero in on their optionality.

Notwithstanding the above, one of the major advantages of keeping ahead of your requirements is being on the front foot when circumstances change.

Who’d have thought for instance, that having had so much trouble attracting enough rainfall to grow a decent amount of fodder this season, we in Gippsland would equally struggle to keep the rain away long enough to get it dry and off the paddock?

I’ve never made silage for my own use before; given most of our fodder is for sale.

But with plenty of mouths to feed this year, the harvest windows so narrow and the grass falling over, it quickly became a serious proposition.

How fortunate then, that I had already considered the form my venture into silage should take, and a reasonable outlay to commit!

It was also fortunate that a local dealer had a second-hand Kverneland UN7581 sitting in the yard.

Now the UN7581 is one of the lesser known Kverneland wrappers, being a three-point linkage machine, rather than the trailed model that most punters opt for.

Fortunately for me, tightwads existed 26 years ago as well, and at least one in Gippsland was happy to trade wrapping on the move for the discount associated with not having an axle or wheels under the machine.

It is a nuisance of a compromise, as are the semi-regular wheel stands caused by the little Case 895XL I put in front of the thing being very light at the front.

The cable controls (familiar to all users of older wrappers) are fine for a while, but the next morning you will start to wonder when you last saw the chiropractor and if your dominant arm is really still attached.

Visible compromise is nothing new to my operation however, and if I have to sit still to wrap bales, that’s what I shall do.

Except for when I have to get up to go cut the plastic (roughly every second bale).

Speeding up the operation is as simple as giving the tractor more juice — or at least it was, until everyone got carried away and a bale got thrown from the table. Lesson learned.

Local contractors need not fear. Importantly though, the Kverneland does a good job of it, with little fuss and relatively idiot-proof operation.

With so many out there, it’s part of a long line of development that may have publicly died along with the company, but lives on in sheds and the secluded corners of dealers’ yards across the country.

Along with other prizes that my hypothetically capital-rich operation may or may not be sizing up.

• John Droppert has no mechanical qualifications whatsoever, but has been passionate about tractors since before he could talk and has operated many different makes and models in a variety of roles for both profit and fun.