Glacier FarmMedia – Packing as much material as possible into a baler in the shortest amount of time helps maximize the feed quality of bales that come out the back end.
When balers pound away at hay inside their chambers, leaf material is lost and that is the best part of the feed. Merging swaths to keep balers running at or near full capacity makes sense.
Kuhn North America has introduced its new 01 series of hay mergers for 2021 that are designed to do that. With self-contained hydraulic drive systems, even older tractors with limited hydraulic capacity can pull the hay mergers around the field.
At the small end of the range, the MM 301 is designed to work with the most common mower conditioners that have nine- to 18-foot cutting widths. The swing hitch on the Kuhn merger allows it to be pulled directly behind the tractor, extended all the way to right, or positioned anywhere in between.
The curved shape of the wind guard on the pickup helps create fluffy, well-formed windrows, according to the brand, by keeping the crop close to the pickup and delivering it to the centre of the belt. This also helps produce even and consistent windrows and prevents crop bunching in the swath that could plug a baler.
Like all models in the 01 series, the MM 301 is designed with reduced maintenance time in mind. It has a sight glass on the tongue for fast hydraulic oil level checks, and a mounted pressure gauge lets operators know if an oil filter change is necessary.
There is also a larger fill port on the reservoir to reduce the time needed to refill the system during oil changes.
For those running larger operations, the 01 series hay merger line also includes the MM 701, 1101 and 1301, with pickup widths of 24, 36 and 42 feet, respectively.
Kuhn says the 01 series builds on its previous generation of mergers. Starting with the pickup, the high-capacity design uses integrated frames to treat the crop gently and still stand up to extreme usage. A split bearing design with wear guards and anti-wrap discs improves reliability and decreases maintenance needs.
A floating wind guard eliminates the need for operators to manually adjust when changing between different types of crops.
All of Kuhn’s 01 series twin and triple merger models now include the brand’s IntelliMerge software system, which enables an operator to run, adjust and get machine diagnostic feedback on a colour display in the cab.
All machine functions are controlled from that ISOBUS-compatible terminal. ISOBUS compatibility will allow the system to integrate with most tractor brands.
To help prevent overfeeding the mergers, the OptiSense belt stall system (which is optional on the MM 701) alerts an operator when drive belts start to slow down due to heavy loading as they approach maximum feed rate capacity. That warning appears on the in-cab display monitor.
Scott Garvey is a freelance reporter for Grainews/Glacier FarmMedia. His article appeared in the July 13, 2021 issue.