Professional Agricultural Articles
The long and reasonably settled days of this season s harvest provided many contractors with ideal conditions to complete the majority of their combining and straw baling, almost without interruption. This, most welcomed, opportunity did mean that many fields of bales remained insitu for quite a time before being carted back to the farm, or sold off the field, as the harvesting continued. However, a look over hedgerows or in field entrances around the country did show a huge variance in the quality of round bales being made.When netwrap was introduced almost 20 years ago, most users quickly realised the benefits over twine, in significantly reducing the time taken to bind a bale; two or three turns being more preferable to the timely twine option of 8 to 10 turns per bale.Likewise, in those dim and distant days, any bale wrapped with net produced a considerably neater packaged bale than the twine alternative and thus, with two benefits in one, the decline of fine twine almost into extinction had begun in earnest. Nowadays, however, it would appear than for many users, things have not progressed beyond this first generation netwrap that was so keenly welcomed in the mid 1980s, judging by the many bales still to be seen that continue to resemble a burst mattress. The outer 10cm of the 1.5m diameter bale contains 25% of the entire bale s volume. However, this figure increases dramatically for a relatively slight increase in bale depth — with the outer 30cms of the bale containing over 60% of the entire bale s volume. Knowing this brings into question the amount of crop that is at risk by being left exposed from poor spreading netwrap, unable to cover the entire bale width.Many netwrap manufacturers companies have tried to address this problem of poor bale coverage, which is a difficult problem to overcome, bearing in mind that the knitted net web will naturally narrow when it is put under tension during application to the bale. This is the reason that traditional net starts out at 1.23m wide on the roll but never maintains this on the bale. One early option was to produce wider rolls of net, however, this option excludes many of the current balers that cannot accept a roll of 1.30m wide.In 1999, Tama Plastic Industry launched Edge to Edge™ netwrap, which, featured an innovative and unique method of construction.
The one real benefit claimed by netwrap producers, when it was introduced, was the ability of net to provide infinitely more protection to the bale that twine ever could. This is, indeed, so, although in 20 years things have progressed to a point that bales still wrapped in original first generation netwrap fail to offer anything like the level of protection that is available from some producers. It is a fact that the exposed shoulders on a poorly covered bale can represent up top 15% of the entire bale s width, meaning the equivalent of one entire bale left un-covered in every seven bale wrapped… This edge to edge construction process is patented by Tama and alters the way the netwrap reacts under tension, be able to maintain its full width on the bale, and so eliminating the risk of crop loss in the exposed shoulders . This unique manufacturing technique is limited exclusively to Tama s full range of zebra-striped nets and has also been licensed for use in Winner Advanced netwrap, a product of long established Italian manufacturer Novatex.
The action of net on the crop produces a sort of roof effect on the bales, by flattening down the crop to protect itself against rain and weathering. Though, obviously, where the net fails to cover the bale, moisture contamination increases considerably, which is further exaggerated when bales are stacked alongside one another and in pyramid style, leaving many gutters for the moisture to be caught and drawn into the edges of the bale from the exposed shoulders acting like a giant wick. Tama’s patented Edge to Edge™ technology is also featured John Deere CoverEdge™ netwrap, the revolutionary netwrap produced exclusively for John Deere, which actually wraps over the edge and down the side of the bale. The effect of this over the edge netwrap is to produce a bale with no exposed crop at all on the edges, making an almost totally weather-proof package that becomes fully safe to store outside.
Bad Bale Bad Bale
The laws of mathematics prove that disproportionately more volume of the bale is contained in the outer layers of a bale and, subsequently, at risk from moisture contamination, as this diagram below illustrates Likewise, full bale coverage is just as important when silage making. Many contractors, wrongly, assume that as the bale is being wrapped in film, the quality of bale coverage by the netwrap is unimportant. This could not be more wrong, as to leave un-covered shoulders on the bale will allow air pockets to form when the silage film is applied to the bale.
 diagram Understanding and appreciating this becomes even more critical when using an in-line baler/wrapper combination or a combi baler/wrapper, where the bale is ejected and then wrapped out of direct sight of the operator.
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