Massey Ferguson RB4160V test review

By: Brent Lilley, Photography by: Brent Lilley

Presented by

Massey Ferguson's RB4160V round baler got a work out recently from us - here's what we thought.

The Massey Ferguson Baler behind a John Deere tractor
The camless pick-up is incredibly quiet, and with five rows of tine leaves a clean paddock

Before the busy season got underway, a new Massey RB 4160V round baler was delivered, replacing an older Lely Welger 435, which had pumped out a respectable 30,000 bales with little trouble. Since the AGCO purchase of the Lely forage business, it has been building many of the machines under its brands, so the Massey RB 4160V was the obvious choice. It was put straight to work at the beginning of November and has performed extremely well since.   


The pick-up side of the baler has probably seen the most change and has been completely redesigned from the early Welgers to a camless pick-up. This is great, as it means fewer moving parts and is amazingly quiet when running. Also, there’s less chance of tines getting bent or breaking, thanks to heavier duty longer and thicker tines with a larger coil. If the tine does come into contact with the ground, it bends backwards briefly then springs forward.

With 3,000 bales through the machine so far, there’s not a single broken or even bent tine – a testament to the merits of this design. But the benefits don’t stop there; fewer moving parts inside the pick-up also creates more room for an extra row of tines, so there are now five rows of tines, with a spacing of 64mm between rows ensuring the crop is picked up cleanly at higher speeds. The pick-up can also be positioned closer to the rotor to minimise the chance of the crop flow slowing down and causing blockages.

Above the pick-up is a reinforced crop press roller and heavy-duty wind guard tines, which compress the material for a smooth, even crop flow into the bale chamber in all conditions. As an option, this machine was also fitted with what is coined the ‘alpine pick-up’. This pendulums from the centre, allowing each side to move up and down to follow ground contours and works extremely well to leave a clean paddock behind the baler.


The Massey Ferguson balers can be equipped with 13, 17, or 24 knives. The longest on the market, these reach deep into the rotor to ensure all material through the machine is chopped. The machine tested was fitted with 13 knives, giving a theoretical chop length of 90mm. On all machines, the position of the knives can be controlled in or out from the monitor in the cab. Models with 17 or 24 knives have the added benefit of being arranged in two banks, so half the knives can be used. Blanks can be locked in place of the knives when not in use, to minimise wear.

Holding the knives in the feed channel under the large heavy-duty rotor is a hydro flex drop floor. This is a steel floor mounted on hydraulic rams. Accumulators coupled to the rams allow the floor to move and widen the feed channel, swallowing lumps to minimise blockages. If a blockage does occur, then the floor can be lowered from the cab to clear the blockage. This is a really useful set-up which works well, eliminating the need to leave the cab.

There’s room to carry two extra rolls of net on the machine
There’s room to carry two extra rolls of net on the machine


I could fill several pages arguing the benefits of belts over a fixed chamber baler and the optimum number of belts, but instead, I’ll admit that I am personally biased and of the opinion that a belt baler with four belts is the best for bale formation and shape. This is exactly what the Massey has, with aggressive drive rollers that ensure the belts keep turning in all conditions.

A constant pressure system keeps the belts tight from the core of the bale. As the size grows, the pressure on the belts is increased hydraulically, ensuring a constant density to the full size.

Bale shape indicators were an option that were good to see and were added to this machine, although, in practise they are as precise as they could be, with the best bales still formed with a nice wide row to fill the pick-up.

Soft core option is another interesting option. This can be selected on the monitor and allows the operator to set the percentage of the centre of the bale that’s formed with minimal pressure on the belts. This has some merits when baling hay and straw and is something worth experimenting with later in the season when baling hay.

Access to the workings of the machine is extremely easy with large full width doors on either side opening upwards out of the way for unimpeded access. Maintenance is also made easy with many of the grease points gathered in banks, and an automatic oiling system keeping all the chains running smoothly.    


The tried-and-tested Varionet net wrapping unit is virtually the same, except it’s now electronically controlled, so the amount of net applied can be controlled from the cab. This system works well, with a curved spreader bar helping apply the net across the width of the bale. Additional shielding around the net unit is good to see and makes sure the net actually makes it onto the bale in windy conditions.

This has all worked relatively trouble-free so far, with sensors to tell you when something goes wrong with the net and not to open the door. Changing the net roll is kept simple with the Easy Loading System. A second roll of net is carried in the cradle in front of the roll being used. When it’s time to change, the new roll is simply tipped into position, which makes for quick changes out in the field. What is also great to see, is a cradle to hold a third roll of net on the side of the baler – ideal for those pumping out a serious amount of bales in a day.

A clear, easy-to-use touchscreen ISOBUS controller
A clear, easy-to-use touchscreen ISOBUS controller


This RB 4160V was fitted with an E-Link Pro controller. This is a fully ISOBUS system, with a large bright colour touchscreen display that’s well laid out and intuitive to use. Access to most functions are found down the sides of the monitor.

The home screen in the centre shows a bale size graph as it’s forming, as well as graphs for the left- and right-hand side of the bale. A graphic of the baler then shows when it’s applying net and when the door is open ejecting a bale. It’s great that everything can now be adjusted from the cab.

With a single remote valve used to control the pick-up, knife bank and the drop floor, you simply select on the screen that you want to control. A second remote valve is used to open and close the rear door. Record keeping is made easy with job cards that can be edited for each property or field. These record bales made, time spent baling, and bales per hour. Conveniently, these records can be easily downloaded to a USB stick for easy transfer.    


Round baling technology has come a long way to meet the demands of baling silage in particular. For most contractors and farmers, there’s a tight widow of opportunity to pump out a serious amount of bales and AGCO has continued on the Lely, building high-capacity, easy-to-operate and maintain machines that delivery a well-formed bale in all conditions.

Having quickly clocked up almost 3,000 bales, the new Massey RB 4160V has certainly proved itself capable of performing and it’s particularly great to have all the controls and adjustments at your fingertips on the monitor in the cab.

This is an all-round well-performing machine based on solid concepts proven in previous models.

Bales are formed from the centre outwards with increasing pressure on the belts for a constant density
Bales are formed from the centre outwards with increasing pressure on the belts for a constant density



Camless pick-up is exceptionally quiet and clean

Alpine pick-up allows pendulum movement side to side to follow ground contour

Hydroflex drop floor minimises blockages and makes them easy to clear

Clear, easy-to-use touchscreen E-Link Pro monitor

Almost all controls are at your fingertips on the monitor

Constant pressure system on the belts ensure the bale is formed evenly from the centre to the outside



Graphs for filling the sides of the bale don’t react quickly or accurately enough to be particularly useful. 



Massey Ferguson RB 4160V round baler

Bale chamber size


Bale chamber width


Max Belt tension

180 bar

Pick-up width


Pick-up tine spacing


Power requirement


PTO speed


Remote valves required


Unladen weight


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