Based not far from Lismore, Co Waterford, Shane Byrne operates an agricultural contracting business alongside his father, John Joe. Baling, slurry, reseeding and fertiliser spreading are the main services offered.
Baling between 8,000 and 10,000 bales of grass silage annually, Shane currently runs a Massey Ferguson RB 3130F round baler and static wrapping system.
In 2020, he decided to upgrade his seven-year-old Tanco 1320-EH mounted wrapper for the new S200V model from the Carlow manufacturers newly launched S Series at the time.
Standard balers and static wrapping
While one may think standard balers are becoming a thing of the past, there are still pockets of the country (particularly in the southeast) where they remain as present as ever. The county of Waterford is no exception, according to Shane.
Instead of wrapping bales in the field, which is the norm in most parts of the country, silage bales tend to be transported back to the yard to be wrapped and stacked simultaneously.
To do this, Shane has been running bale chasers since 2007. He currently runs one Wilson and one Keltec machine (see bale chaser options on p18).
“I could think of eight contractors, all in the greater Lismore region, running standard balers and wrapping in the yard or at the stack.
"Within the same radius, I’d be doing well to name two contractors running combination balers. Both the farmers and contractors are used to the system in place, and neither have looked into changing it,” Shane explained.
Shane believes there are multiple benefits to this approach.
“Firstly, time. With the number of bales made growing year on year and the weather windows tightening, the output of a standard baler and mounted wrapper back at the yard is every bit as fast – and in some instances, faster – than a combination baler, I believe.
“The big time-saver is during transport. You’re not trying to avoid puncturing bales to the same extent.
“Secondly, the cost of owning a standard baler is less. Granted, a wrapper needs to be bought; but from our experience, having run the previous machine from 2013 to 2020, it wasn’t replaced as frequently as the baler and its running costs were minimal.
"With the current Tanco S200V, we could have a bale on the wrapper, wrapped and stacked in just 22 seconds.
"Finally, the standard baler makes better sense when it comes to baling straw.”
Moving to mounted
Previous to running the older Tanco 1320-EH model, the Byrnes ran a McHale 991C trailed wrapper, which had been adapted and fitted with its own engine for static use within the yard.
Although it served its purpose for a number of years, Shane explained that it was too time-consuming to load and unload it.
“Bales had to be manually loaded, manually wrapped and manually stacked afterwards.
"In order to wrap 400 bales, every bale was handled twice, which was inefficient and unnecessary.”
Moving to the 1320-EH in 2013 was a major step forward and this streamlined the wrapping and stacking process, according to Shane.
“We went from wrapping 25-30 bales/hr to 40-45/hr with our first Tanco – pretty much doubling the output. The whole process in the yard was made much easier for the loader driver.”
After seven seasons and over 80,000 bales wrapped with no issues whatsoever, Shane decided to upgrade in 2020, having heard of the latest S Series machines from Tanco.
He opted for the S200V, the successor to his previous machine.
Tanco first launched its S Series in 2016 to replace the previous 1300-EH series. This series was again revised for 2020 and logically named S100A, S200V and S300V, respectively armed with one, two and three film dispensers.
The V (or Variable) models are fitted with proportional hydraulics, meaning functions such as arm speed can be variably adjusted for smoother, more consistent wrapping.
The S200V and S300V models are fitted with the Tanco telescopic Cut & Start system, film break sensors, individual driven pickup rollers and the RDS Expert Plus control terminal as standard.
Optional extras include an End-Tip kit for placing bales on their ends, remote control kit, load sensing, ground roller option to take the weight of less capable machines, and cab extensions for telescopic loaders. Shane opted for the load sensing and End-Tip options.
The S Series chassis is cleverly designed and constructed using a single-folded pipe section, which reduces welds and increases strength.
The satellite wrapping arms unfold during the wrapping process, leaving the two opposing dispensers to apply the wrap, and allowing time for the film to adhere to the bale without trapping air.
The S200V uses its patented Cut & Start system to cut and retain the plastic between bales, a design Shane describes as simple and reliable, and well improved from his previous machine.
The S300V tri-dispenser machine didn’t suit Shane.
Aside from the additional cost, he said that the fact it can only apply wrap layers in multiples of three would have left him over-applying or under-applying wrap, given that he typically applies six layers at a time.
Six layers equates to 16 rotations of the satellite dispensers.
Build and performance
According to Shane, who has plenty of experience with the older 1320-EH model wrapping 30,000 bales, he feels the S200V is a serious leap forward in almost every aspect – performance, in particular.
“While the two machines looked largely the same, every feature of the S Series has been revised and improved. Physically, it is a stronger-built machine with an updated plastic retaining and knife system.
"The software was also a big improvement and the wrapper operates more smoothly.
"As a result, average hourly throughput is 15 bales/hr ahead of the older machine.”
Like most modern wrappers, the S200V can be operated completely automatically.
Once the bale comes into contact with the load sensor, it is raised, wrapped and unloaded (or alternatively unloaded) with the press of a button, depending on operator preference. All features and functions can be manually operated if needs be through the RDS terminal. Film break sensors, automatically adjust the bale rotation speed, so that wrapping can continue with a single roll of wrap.
Shane operates the S200V using a Claas Scorpion 7044 telehandler, which he feels is more than capable of handling the 870kg wrapper loaded with a bale, considering it has a 4.3t lift capacity.
In terms of hydraulic flow, 30l/min is the minimum oil-flow required to operate the wrapper.
Shane tends to wrap and stack the majority of the bales himself, so he knows the machine inside out.
Having wrapped 30,000 bales with the S200V, he’s more than happy with its performance so far.
“Moving from the 1320-EH to the S200V, Tanco really perfected the wrapper in all areas, some of which I didn’t even think needed improving at the time.
“Now I can wrap bales as quick as I can stack them. It takes roughly 22 seconds from the point of loading to unloading.
"There was a time when the wrapper was the limiting factor of the baling process; now the pressure is on the baler and chasers to get bales back to the yard quick enough.
"Performance combined with reliability and the low running cost leaves it as one of the best machines in the yard,” Shane stated.