HarvestersBaling 100 bales per hour…

You read that right: Samuel Bertrand’s John Deere V451R baler unfail­ingly gathers hay and makes more than 100 round bales per hour.

“I have always loved baling, espe­ciall with this machine,” confesses the Mr Bertrand.  It produces up to 6,000 bales every year for his live­stock and for fodder sales. The biggest river in France by the size of its catch­ment area, the Saône crosses five regional depart­ments before flowing into the Rhône, in Lyon.  In Haute-Saône, it offers farmers flood­plains of various flora conducive to the produc­tion of quality hay. “Here we find up to 30% legumes and grasses, like ryegrass, fescue and cocks­foot,” explains Samuel Bertrand.

Samuel Bertrand, manager of Earl Fontaine-Froz, is a Charo­lais breeder and fodder producer in Beaujeu-et-Quit­teur, Haute-Saône.

The market for round bales

For the Earl de Fontaine-Froz Charo­lais herd, 3,000 round bales cover the annual consump­tion demands of hay and straw. The same volume, Mr. Bertrand sells to a trader who supplies regional clien­tele as far as Switzer­land (Geneva is just a three-hour drive from here).

I have always loved baling, espe­ciall with this machine.

Samuel Bertrand

“There is still a demand for round bales,” he explains, “if only to unroll them and handle them more easily on the smaller farms for calves and heifers, for example.” A semi-trailer truck can deliver up to 70 round bales to their desti­na­tion provided that they are perfectly shaped and at the agreed weight. This is just the job for the John Deere V451R vari­able chamber baler.

Frive seconds for ejec­tion thanks to the FRS quick release system, recog­nis­able by its hinged black curtain.

Work­flow without delay

“This machine is robust enough to produce 10,000 bales per year, while weighing just over four tones,” says Philippe Oster­mann, marketing manager at the Arc-les Gray plant, where all of the brand’s Euro­pean presses are designed and manu­fac­tured. Mr Bertrand gener­ally pulls his V451R with a John Deere 6155M, or even with a 6195M, if the terrain demands it.

“With a pick-up of 2.2m, we can aim for a contin­uous forward speed of close to 15 km/hr,” he explains. It was during a test drive that Mr Bertrand first knew that the V451R baler was right for him:  “I purposely took on a windrow with a spin of the wheel; the machine didn’t jam – exactly what I was looking for,” he recalls.

80ha of flood­plains on the banks of the Saône River provide Mr Bertrand with high quality hay. in the summer this is where he grazes his 250 Charo­lais cattle.

Road clear­ance objec­tive: with an average diam­eter of 1.3m, two bales can be placed sidew by side on the trucks. To the left of Samuel Bertrand is Philippe Oster­mann, who arrived from the the close by John Deere factory at Arc-les-Gray.

“High-end” binding: For a long time, Samuel Bertrand has been using only Edge To Edge or CoverEdge nets. The farmer adds that his customers even appre­ciate the green colour of this very effec­tive net.

The full-width mobile bottom plate, controlled from the cabin, allows work to be resumed without delay in the event of a jam. “This comes in handy, some­times several times in one day,” he admits.  Coupled with net wrap­ping, which takes no more than 10 seconds, the FRS quick release system, recog­nis­able by its artic­u­lated black curtain, releases the bale in just five seconds. This is how he main­tains the pace of 100 bales per hour at Earl Fontaine-Froz.

Storage in stacks of 5 thanks to the bales’ flaw­less size-confor­ma­tion; to service his customers without errors during loading, Samuel Bertrand uses red mark­ings to iden­tify the fodder’s parcel of origin and the number of piles from that parcel.


Vari­able Chamber Balers

read more

Quick and controlled main­te­nance

“I spend more time blowing out this baler with a compressor than I do greasing it,” smiles Mr. Bertrand, adding that his machine, which has processed a total of 25,000 bales, still has its orig­inal bear­ings. Mr Oster­mann points out that a quick measuring ruler for checking drive chain wear is avail­able from John Deere dealers. As for the tyres, the 500/55-20 size mounts, which are not the widest in the V451R cata­logue, are proven to be well suited to the ground condi­tions encoun­tered on the meadows on the banks of the Sâone.

Investing in high-end tools

“Before settling down, I had the chance to do a one-year intern­ship on an arable farm in Alberta, Canada,” recalls Mr Bertrand. He noticed that the farm manager preferred buying harvesting and sowing equip­ment that could cover a larger area per hour, while the farm’s trac­tors remained more classic. 

“The V451R baler is the best equipped and the most expen­sive in the John Deere cata­logue in the Franche-Comté, but I compen­sate for this invest­ment by prefer­ring John Deere M series trac­tors, which are already comfort­able, rather than the R series.”

Arc-les-Gray:  A recently modernised factory

A £12-m (€15-m)investment program has just been completed here, and a new one is on the way.  John Deere is aiming for a 20% increase in produc­tivity for its factory while reducing the area by 40%.  Round balers, which are exported mainly to Europe but also to Australia, South Korea and Japan, repre­sent two-thirds of the busi­ness.

The rest is accounted for by the brand’s front loaders and lifts for German tractor facto­ries. In Arc-les-Gray, John Deere employs nearly 500 people, plus dozens of tempo­rary workers during peak produc­tion.  Its pomising future has led the company to recruit massively, which is excel­lent news for Franche-Comté.