Improving bale density

Following eight years and 80,000 bales William Dandie has semi-retired his KUHN 2190 baler.

In its place a KUHN VB7160 has just completed its second season and is already registering 20,600 bales. He suggests both have been reliable but the advances in technology are clear to see and have made a significant difference to his baling efficiency, speed, and quality. 


“Before the KUHN machines we had a Vicon, so we are well acquainted with the way the machines work. However, this latest model is a big step up from what we have had before. We have noticed a massive increase in bale density and speed,” he explains. 
4th generation William works with his brother, father, and uncle to make 10,000 straw bales a year at the family’s farm near Edinburgh. Bale quality is essential and a dense bale with low moisture content is important to providing the best bedding. The family’s cattle are finished to a high standard with many bought directly by local butchers. The sheds are bedded every other day using a KUHN Primor 3570 bedding machine. 


With 500 Limousin cattle, 3,000 acres of combinable crops and some contract farming, Walter Dandie and Sons is a busy business. The baler follows a Claas Lexion with a 40-foot header which Mr Dandie thought may present some issues.

“Picking up straw left after a 40-foot machine has been through is no easy task for a baler and many would struggle to get the density we expect, but this latest model seems to pick it up so easily and we are on a spot rate of 23 seconds a bale which is staggering,” he says.


KUHN claims the 7100 series will bale up to 30 tonnes per hour. The rapid ejection mechanism means each 120cm bale can be deposited in just four seconds enabling the baler to begin collecting straw for the next. Straw bale density can reach 140 kilos per m³ managed by KUHN’s patented i-DENSE system which uses twin-tension arms and moisture sensors to adapt to the conditions and maximise bale density. 
Working with the i-DENSE system is a four-belt, three-roller, bale chamber design that enables fast, consistent bale creation in all crop conditions. Other components include KUHN’s INTEGRAL ROTOR and a net binder that features active-stretch technology to assist in creating consistent net tension and a sturdy bale shape.

i-DENSE automatic bale pressure setting

“The rotors pick up straw very well, regardless of length. I run our baler on Isobus and it is easy to manage because the baler does most of the work without operator interference. We make 2,500 bales for ourselves, and the rest are delivered by our own lorry.”

All VB 7100 models feature a wide, cam-steered pick-up with heavy crop roller with a wind guard. The pick-up is designed to maximise the full capacity of the 230cm working width. Operators can choose from OPTIFEED non-cutting rotors or OPTICUT cutting rotors with 14mm-23mm cutting lengths. The INTEGRAL ROTOR has Hardox® rotor tines to reduce rotor tine wear and increase rotor life.

“In two seasons we have had no downtime and only a couple of pipes have needed attention in over 20,000 bales. The drive lines are easy to access and seem good quality. There is also relatively little maintenance which makes it easier to live with than previous models.”

KUHN offers a fully automatic greasing system on the VB 7100 series. In addition, a Beka-Max continuous chain oiling system enables the amount of oil being fed to each chain to be regulated for consistent and comprehensive lubrication.

“This baler has coped with everything we have thrown at it. It is faster, even on undulating land, than anything else we have owned or tested, and can form bales of the highest density which we and our customers appreciate,” he concludes.