Revolutionary Baler Rating System

Finding the right-size baler for your operation just got easier.

By Jeff Caldwell | Photos By Denny Eilers

In a market segment in which model numbers and manufacturer options change frequently, finding which baler is right for each operation can be difficult. The new rating system from Hesston by Massey Ferguson takes the guesswork out of the buying process, says Shaun Allred, AGCO tactical marketing manager for hay and forage.

“This class system will aid producers in understanding the range of square baler options available and differences in the capabilities of these balers,” Allred says. “Dealers will be able to quickly match the producer’s needs to the class of baler that will best fit their operation.”

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The new rating system establishes eight classifications for balers based on rated plunger force, the mechanism within the machines that dictates bale density. Plunger force, measured in kilonewtons (kNs), is the amount of pressure applied to the forage flakes that form each bale. It’s a key measurement for baler performance.

“It’s the most measurable element on a square baler, and essentially what the baler is designed around,” Allred says. “You start the design with a plunger that will perform the way you want, and the frame and other components are designed to withstand the force that plunger is going to exert.”

The higher the classification number in the baler rating system, the greater the plunger force applied. For instance, Hesston balers in Class 1—the MF1836, MF1838 and MF1840 models—produce bales that weigh approximately 50 to 85 pounds and exert plunger force between 15 and 44 kNs. Moving up the classification system, Class 5 balers—MF2270 and MF2290—produce 1,000- to 2,000-pound bales with an applied plunger force of 325 to 449 kNs.

Allred says the system was future-proofed and built with room to grow as the baler market changes. “We know balers will continue to evolve and develop, and we wanted to put a class system in place to accommodate balers in the future as well,” he says.

There’s a logistical element to the growing demand for higher-density bales. Lighter, lower-density bales are ideal for feeding and moving by hand. Yet when it comes to transportation of residue crops, “the denser the better,” Allred says.

“When baling straw, cornstalks and other materials that don’t compress well, it is difficult to get enough weight into the bale to fill a truck to capacity,” Allred explains. “Higher density achieved through balers on the upper end of the class system provide producers with a way to increase bale weight. This results in significant savings in transportation and storage.”

With more producers looking to bale such residue, as well as other low-density crops, it’s likely that machinery needs will change in the future. “The new class system,” continues Allred, “will help make it easier to understand baler differences that aren’t always apparent from the size of the bale produced.

“Whether customers are looking for a Class 1 baler that produces bales that are easy to handle, or require the high density of a Class 6 baler, the square baler classification system will speed the decision-making process and help ensure they purchase the right baler to meet their needs.”

For more about the new Hesston by Massey Ferguson square baler rating system, see