Product Focus: ProAG 16K Plus bale runner

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SP Hay WA is reducing stacking time by replacing telehandlers with three new ProAG 16K plus bale runners.

General manager Rob Pauley manages the 5,000ha cropping program in Brookton and specialises in barley and oats as well as oaten hay. The company’s telehandlers were used to stack hay bales into truckloads or back to a common stack but were tough on the operators, Pauley says.

"We have still got two telehandlers for stacking trucks, but they were rough as guts … you were OK in them for four to five hours and then you couldn’t work," he adds.

Hay and straw stacking time has been reduced by a third thanks to the transition to the 16K Plus, which can pick up to 120 large square bales per hour, load two bales per loader cycle, pick bales from any direction and unload up to 12 bales.

"We have been caught before with 3000 bales on the ground and getting 50-70mm of rain in a storm, so it was a good move," Pauley says.

A bale direct system is used on the harvester with the cereals, while a Krone baler is expected to be used for baling the hay.

SP Hay bought its ProAG 16K bale runners from Geoff Perkins Farm Machinery Centre at Narrogin. Two headed to the Brookton, WA, property and one went to the company’s South Australian operation.

The productivity gains have been massive, Pauley says.

"With the bale runners, we averaged 80 bales per hour paddock stacked, we did have a guy doing 120-130 bales per hour," he says. "We now just do one stack a paddock, or bring four to five paddocks back into the one stack.

"Telehandlers can’t stack what you can do with a stacker. For $138,000 it’s a no-brainer."

The unit’s Morris-engineered computer system simplifies picking and stacking, according to ProAG.

"To pick up and load bales, operators just toggle a loader button," the company says. "The computer determines the motion of the alignment arms, loader, grab hooks and power slide."

The operator-intense 16K Plus bale runners suit the younger ‘Nintendo savvy’ operators, Paulie says, adding: "These young guys really make them sing."

The 16K bale runners allow bales to be turned sideways or to fit between the arms thanks to the ‘Auto Align’ feature. A power slider pushes each bale row back automatically and a push-off feature helps move bales off the forks.

Heavy-duty running gear is connected to the frame with leaf-spring suspension and the bale runners come with standard high flotation tyres and tandem axles. The dual axles can also be equipped with air brakes.

Geoff Perkins with SP Hay WA General Manager Rob Pauley and ProAG 16K plus
Geoff Perkins, Geoff Perkins Farm Machinery Centre at Narrogin, and SP Hay WA General Manager Rob Pauley with one of the company’s ProAG 16k Plus Bale Runners.

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