The BigPack 1290 HDP II large square baler from Krone runs faster and produces more 3 x 4’ bales at a higher density than its predecessor, says a grower and custom harvester who tested it.

Nick Mussi, Stockton, CA, offers a good frame of reference. His family now owns not only the newest Krone high-density press (HDP) model, but also a standard 1290 HDP and three other BigPack balers.

Mussi; his brother, Nathan; and cousin, Garrett, run Triple M Custom Farming as well as harvest the acreage on their family’s farm, L & R Mussi Farms. Their five balers produced 75,000-plus bales of alfalfa, teff grass, rice and oat straw, cornstalks, sudangrass and winter forage last year.

Everything about the new baler is bigger than the regular HDP, Mussi adds. “You can make a lot more bales per hour with the HDP II. In cornstalks, we got 117 bales per hour; with the HDP, it was 70 bales.”

“It’s definitely a big machine,” he says. “It has eight knotters so you can put more tension on the bales, which allows for more weight.”

Adding weight to straw bales helps growers pack more product per bale and shave transport costs. The standard HDP, developed nearly a decade ago, did increase bale weight by 25%, says Krone bale specialist Niklas Beindorf.

But the HDP II produces bales 10% more dense “while maintaining the same ground speed,” Beindorf says. Straw 8’ bales produced by the HDP generally weigh 1,140 lbs; the newer model puts out 1,254-lb straw bales.

To produce those heavier bales, most of the machine’s components are larger.

“The gearbox is huge. It has to handle 1,600-1,700 horsepower each time when the plunger plunges against the bale. We also have two cylinders in the back and top that will give 50% more force in the bale chamber.”

The HDP II, compared to the HDP, features a flywheel that spins faster, at 1,180 rpms vs. 1,000 rpms; has a 30% higher compression force and an increase in plunger strokes to 45 vs. 38 strokes/minute.

An eight-knotter system was needed to hold the dense bales together, and a constant air stream keeps the knotter table clean, the Krone specialist adds. Twine storage was also increased from 32 spools on the HDP to 54 on the HDP II.

“This baler can hold 27 balls on each side. It holds enough for a long working day.” One grower testing the machine sent Beindorf a photo of his monitor. It showed that he’d baled 3.6 hours that day, producing 371 oat-straw bales.


 

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The baler’s variable filling system was made 18% larger than the standard HDP’s, he adds. It was designed to have only four strengthened packer bars with larger bearings in the cam track. The cutting system floor was also lowered, making for easier cleaning when plugged. An active sensing rake was added to adjust the amount of material fed into the system.

The baler monitors how many flakes are made and their thickness. “That gives you a good idea if your material is dry or not, how heavy your bales are,” Beindorf says. With the optional moisture tester kit and the standard bale scale, growers have a good idea of their bales’ quality as they’re produced, he adds.

The HDP II that Mussi and his partners bought this past June is “a big improvement” over the prototype they tested. “Anything that we found wrong with it, they improved on with last year’s model.” The knotter system, for instance, is completely different from the one Krone started with, he says.

“It does take a larger tractor with more horsepower to run it,” Mussi points out. “We had it on the JD 8360R, which has a 360-hp engine. The other balers we can run on 190- to 200-hp tractors.

“And it uses more fuel, but we’re getting production on it.” He estimates he made 20,000 bales with the HDP II by the end of harvest.

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