In recent years, many contractors have begun offering farmers a bale transporting service to avoid the monotonous task that is drawing in bales.

In some parts of the country such a service has become the norm, while in other parts the demand continues to grow. Therefore, purpose-built round bale chasers have grown in popularity and in many cases have replaced loaders and bale trailers. As a result, time is saved and less labour is required in the field, and in the yard too with one particular Irish design. Samco’s CTS 1600 unloads by tipping its body backwards, leaving the bales stacked two rows high, removing the need for a loader.

On the other hand, Wilson and Keltec have stuck with a more simplistic solution which unloads in reverse to the way it loaded and therefore bales tend to require stacking afterwards.

Here, we look at the three machines currently available on the Irish market.

Keltec Engineering

Keltec Engineering based outside Kilmallock, Co Limerick, has been building bale chaser for more than 30 years. It offers three sizes (eight-, 10- and 12-bale options).

Key to Keltec’s design is the patented bale load assist rollers, which it believes enables bales to be loaded easily and gently. While in transport position, the auto-smart bale cage locking system protects against hose failure, driver error or tractor malfunction.

The bale cages are manufactured using 80mm diameter Strenox steel with a 6mm wall, while the pipe work on the side cage is built with 5mm pipe. As standard, units are fitted with load-sensing brakes and 550-45 R22.5 tyres. However, sizes up to 710mm tyres can be optioned.

Pricing for the 10-pack starts at €27,000 plus VAT.

Wilson Engineering

Laois-based Wilson Engineering offers its Super Move, Monster Move and Mega Move ranges. Initially, the firm offered its Super Move in three sizes: six-, eight- and 10-bale variations. However, with the introduction of the Monster and Mega Move, this has grown to 12-, 14- and 16-bale models.

Once loaded, each cage is locked in place with two spring-loaded hydraulically operated catches on each side for safety.

Wilson Engineering offers a number of optional extras including a steering drawbar, sprung drawbar, load sensing air brakes etc.

The chassis has been designed by Wilson and is constructed using 10mm box section. All models are built on high-speed axles with rocking bogey designs. The bale cages are constructed from rolled high-tensile 80x80x8mm box section and 5mm walled pipe section. Extras include a sprung drawbar, air brakes with load sensing, a steering axle and a steering drawbar (unique to Wilson Engineering).

According to Wilson, 75% of customers tend to specify all of these options. In terms of tyres, 550, 560, 620 or 710mm options can be specified. Pricing for an eight-pack starts at €22,000 plus VAT.


Limerick-based manufacturer Samco offers its 16-bale CTS 1600 bale chaser. According to the firm, chasing bales with its CTS 1600 is a one-man operation, removing the need for a loader on stacking duties.

Its design picks up the bales in the same direction as the baler releases them, meaning no crossing of the field is required. By handling bales by their ends, where more plastic is used, the risk of plastic damage is reduced. A pressure setting in the handling arm using the on-board controller and joystick allows the operator to select the parameters to suit the bales at hand.

The Samco CTS 1600 is designed to be a one man solution right through from loading to unloading and stacking.

Once the bottom two bales are loaded, they are moved up to allow two more to be loaded underneath. When in place, the four (two bottom and two top) are moved to the rear of the trailer and the process of loading another four bales begins.

The unloading system tips the rear eight bales on their ends, two high. By extending the sides, the bales are released and the rear of the body is brought back down and the front eight bales are pushed to the rear to await unloading.

With an overall length of 7.3m, the unit is built on high-speed sprung axles with load-sensing air brakes, shod with four 710/45R22.5 tyres.

The footprint needed to unload the bales is halved and the combined tractor and chaser do not have to be straight for unloading. Pricing starts at €65,000 plus VAT.