New Variopack balers for NZ manufactured in 2002 will feature a reverser as standard equipment. The reverser is activated hydraulically and is mounted to the Multicut rotor shaft.
Also new is a crop hold-down roller instead of the hold-down guard on the pick-up.
Often we hear of contractors who have handled hundreds of thousands of dollars in cashflow yet retire with nothing to show for it. Or the farmer who does some extra contracting work to supplement his farm income and suddenly realises that he has no money to replace his machine.
If you do not have an accurate system for calculating costs, maybe we can help you. The solution is a simple calculation which can be hand-written or used in a spreadsheet as in the example below.
It is easy to set up and takes only a few minutes to get a result. This calculation sheet is based on the company’s early years in agricultural contracting. Although developed in the 1960’s these simple formulas still apply just as well today.
To find out more, ring and ask for John Tulloch. Below is as screen shot based on the spreadsheet which gives you an idea of its overall complexity.
If you would like to see a better copy, we can fax one through.
Kevin and his wife Janet along with their son Shane run a contracting business based in Carterton, Wairarapa. The operation is based around grass and maize silage, hay and balage, and regrassing/green-feed crop cultivation.
During the season just past the team has harvested over 6,500 acres of grass silage, 500 acres of maize silage, along with some 35,000 round bales. In the off-season the company carries out excavation work, which effectively keeps them busy all year round.
95% of Gray Contracting customers are dairy farmers. This fits in well with Gray Contracting work load, because after the cows have been dried off, there is some excavation work to do metalling dairy farm tracks and cleaning drains etc.
Gray Contracting employs 5 permanent staff, and has had 22 employees on the payroll at peak times during the season.
The Season gone by
Shane commented “We have certainly had plenty of work to do. Unfortunately some of the supplement made suffered because of the weather. It was an extremely difficult and frustrating silage season, followed by an almost impossible hay season. Some of the best hay made this season was made in March. But it has been a good season for work loading, in that we have been busy from September right through to May. Our high load season has increased from 3 months to about 10 months over the years since I have been involved in the business.”
Pictured from left to right is Shane Gray, Aaron Cook and Daniel Maxwell.
Kevin said that the good parts back up service from Tulloch Farm Machines is very important to their overall operation. Kevin has looked at most other brands of mower conditioners, rakes and balers, but the Krone is the best option in his opinion.
“The Variopack baler will always get the job done even in adverse conditions, and it is absolutely imperative that we can go out and do the job without having costly waiting time or downtime,” Kevin said.
Shane said, “We find the gear from Krone to be of high quality and reasonably low maintenance. We find that the VarioPack is slightly higher on the maintenance side, but then it is the only baler that we can send out in the truly difficult conditions.”
“We are getting good bales and on an average day, it is easy to put out 300 bales or more. The VarioPack can easily bale 60 bales/hr in good going.”
Shane said about the rakes “The old rake (6.21-6.81 DUO) has been a good one, and I would estimate that it has raked at least 30,000 acres. It has to be the best built rake on the market, and it does do an excellent job.”
“Then when we bought the new one (SWADRO761) I was surprised to find the new rake that much better again, because it was hard to imagine how the old one could be improved.”
Shane Gray with the 2 ea. Krone rakes.
Last year Gray Contracting added a Krone AMT5000CV mower conditioner to the mowing crew. Shane said “We needed a larger mower conditioner to increase our mowing capacity. Now we are able to knock over 100 acres every day on average with the AMT5000CV without any problem. On our best day we did 200 acres.”
John asked Shane in general about other brands of Tulloch gear that they have owned over the years. Shane answered “We have owned Gehl equipment over 18 years, and it has been really reliable. We have had a good run out of every Gehl machine we have owned.The Gehl balers do a particularly nice job in hay, and we are more than pleased with them.”
When asked about future trends that will affect the business in years to come Shane said “Competition is growing in the agricultural sector. Everything is driven by costs, and in order for us to become more efficient, our capacity needs to get bigger. We will need machines that will put through a bigger volume in a shorter space of time.”
The Gray lineup of machinery
Gray Contracting has an impressive line up of machinery!
- Tractors JD tractors (8 ea. models from 80-150 hp), Fendt 260 hp
- Forage harvester Claas 840 with RU450 maize front
- Stack loader JCB 4145
- Mower conditioners Krone AMT5000CV, Kuhn Alterna 5000, JD 1360 with auto-swather
- Tedders None - this is sub-contracted out when necessary
- Rakes Krone KS 6.21-6.81 DUO, Krone SWADRO 761, 2 ea. Invaders
- Round balers Krone VarioPack1500, 2 ea. Gehl 1475 , JD
- Conventional balers Gehl 3250 (2 ea.)
- Medium square baler Hesston 4860S
- Cultivation Kverneland BB6 plough, Vaderstad RX620 roller, Leveller 6m, Cultivator 5m
- Seed drills Great Plains CPH1000, Aitchison 3m roller drill
- Diggers Kobelco 10 ton, Kobelco 6 ton
It is sometimes difficult to imagine how future machines can get any bigger with the limitations of road transport and weight restrictions, however the trend is definitely going to continue if we look at the products on the drawing board at our major suppliers. We believe that the most successful contractors in the future will be those who understand how to provide and promote a quality end product.
The first deliveries of the twin screw Supreme feed processors have been completed in March and April 2002.
This unique design of feed processor from Canadian company Supreme offers real advantages. Farmers thinking about TMR (total mixed ration) in New Zealand typically want to add a high percentage of baled material whether it be balage, hay or straw.
“The Supreme is capable of handling all types of bales without having to preprocess, which saves time and money. For a machine of it’s size, you can use a relatively small tractor, because the mixing action is very power efficient compared to other types of mixer feeders. An 18 cu.m. machine can use as little as 90 PTO hp.”
“The vertical movement of the screw, which lifts the material as it mixes, blends the feed thouroughly, and because it has no pinch points there is little wear on either the tank or the screw.” says John Tulloch.
“The new generation twin screw models improve mixing time by up to 30% over single screw models.”
Graeme and Beth Stuart with children Glen (12) and
Richard (14) in front of their new Supreme 700T.
Krone RoundPack Baler
Graeme Marshall in Otagois a fan of the Krone RoundPack Baler. The RoundPack1250MC is the Krone fixed chamber baler making a bale 1.2m wide x1.25m diameter. John Tulloch asked Graeme for his comments in May 2001 after his first season with the machine.
Graeme said “Compared to a belt baler you can bale anything, you can bale with water coming out of it if you want.”
“We were happy with the service from McLarens and Tullochs. The one problem we couldn’t solve immediately was quickly sorted when Tulloch’s sent a service representative (Philip) down from Masterton. Philip said that if there was any further problem, we could ring him directly. I felt as though there was a back up.”
"The machine does, however, need a cover for the bearings on top (being made up). We have had no problems with chains or bearings, and there was a real time saving not having to clean rollers at night. You haven’t got that problem with this machine.”
“The truck driver told me he noticed a difference in the quality of the bales, in that the Krone bales sat firmly on the deck and he had never lost a bale when cornering (unlike others). I was impressed with the bales. They were dense, easy to stack, easy to handle, and with edge-to-edge (Tama) net we have made some of the tidiest bales around.”
“The tidy net wrap on the bale is a real advantage when it comes to wrapping, because there are no stalks sitting out for the plastic to be torn on.”
“We experienced a 25% increase in capacity over the old baler. The more horsepower, the better the bales were. We baled 58 bales in 38 minutes on a 2 ha. job in barley and peas at Thorntons. That was the record for the season.”
Graeme Marshall and his son Peter with their new Krone RoundPack baler.
Ralph Priddle started with the company in 1974 as a Field Serviceman, and worked his way to the top job as General Manager between 1980 and 1987, when he left the company.
Ralph returned to the company in 1992 in a sales role, and was again General Manager between 1993 and 1998.
When John Tulloch returned from Europe to take over as Manager, Ralph slotted into a sales and dealer support role covering the Northern Sales Area from Taihape north.
With his management and administration experience, Ralph is also assisting John with administration behind the scenes.
Ralph is married with 2 children, both of whom are grown up and have left home, with one living in Perth and the other in Wellington - each with two children.
In their spare time Ralph and wife Alison enjoy playing pétanque and are members of the Masterton club.