Wrap It Up with a Hesston Baler

A reliable, easy-to-use Hesston baler helps this inventive farmer get hay and silage out of the field on time, every time.

By Tharran E. Gaines | Photos By Jason Dailey

Jim Sneed raises cattle and collects pollen. Accordingly, his most valuable harvesting machines are his custom-made field vacuums and a Hesston® by Massey Ferguson 2946A (Auto-Cycle) model round baler equipped with a silage kit. Although Sneed grows a few crops specifically for silage bales, including a mix of millet and soybeans, the rest of the bales come from fields that have previously yielded pollen, which he sells to pharmaceutical companies for use in allergy testing and treatments.

Hesston® by Massey Ferguson 2946A (Auto-Cycle™) model round baler equipped with a silage kit

Hesston® by Massey Ferguson 2946A (Auto-Cycle™) model round baler equipped with a silage kit

“We have occasionally harvested wheat for grain after collecting the pollen,” Sneed says. “But most of the time, we cut and bale it for feed, along with the various grasses and clover that have already yielded a pollen harvest. I’d like to find another use for ragweed,” he continues. “I’ve always wondered how it would work for biofuel, but we haven’t gotten to that point yet.”

Cutting and baling a crop actually offers Sneed a two-fold advantage. Most obvious is the forage that has allowed him to expand his purebred registered Shorthorn cow/calf operation. Because he recently leased another 100 acres of pasture and timber, Sneed has already begun saving back more of his own heifers in an effort to build the herd, which calls for even more winter forage.

However, by baling the crop and getting it off the field earlier, he is also able to double-crop a number of fields. The field that last year yielded the millet/soybean silage, for example, was quickly disked and replanted to Sudan forage sorghum. Meanwhile, the field of ragweed was tilled and planted to winter wheat for a double harvest the next spring.

As a result, the Model 2946A baler that Sneed purchased last year from Vahrenberg Implement, Inc., in Higginsville, Mo., has already wrapped nearly 600 round bales, with quite a few of those being relatively wet silage bales. Thanks to its Auto-Cycle feature, all Sneed has to do is watch the monitor, stop the tractor when the monitor beeps and start driving again when he gets the green light. The baler automatically wraps the bale with twine or netting, opens the tailgate and ejects the bale.

“Once they got everything set correctly, it’s been working perfectly,” Sneed relates. “I had a 5 x 5 round baler before, but I thought a 4-foot-wide bale would work better on the wrapper. Fortunately, Vahrenberg had this one on the lot that would make 4- by up to 6-foot bales and handle bale silage too. Overall, it’s been a good machine and Vahrenberg Implement has been good about answering any questions I’ve had.”

<< See the full story, “Harvesting Pollen: Nothing to Sneeze At”