For Buckinghamshire farmer Nick Sear of Manor Farm, North Marston, the integration of Tractor Implement Management (TIM) for baling has been something of a revelation.
“I’d heard of TIM and wanted to see what it could do for our business,” says Nick, pictured. “Anything that makes life easier with long days in the cab has got to be worth exploring, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the level of automation on offer.”
Nick is responsible for the commercial farming operation that runs alongside the Animal Antiks animal-assisted learning charity at Manor Farm. He supports Animal Antiks by imparting a wide variety of practical farming techniques to its students, building on the education and care its youngsters receive from attending day placements and work experience.
“We’re currently a grassland farm, but I’m looking to increase our acreage so that we can include an arable rotation to add value to the education we currently provide,” he says.
Kit at the farm includes Kubota M7-173 KVT Premium and M6-142 tractors, plus a Kubota mower conditioner, rake, tedder, flail mower and bale wrapper, all supplied by local dealer George Browns. And the farm has added to its portfolio with a Kubota BV5160 variable chamber baler for hay, haylage and straw bales.
“The BV makes a superb bale, and when it comes to hay and haylage for our livestock, we aim to make the best quality that we can,” he adds. “We’ve been using probes for moisture readings, but since retro-fitting TIM with the TechnoPack to our baler, we have gained a built-in moisture meter in the chamber.”
“This gives far more timely moisture assessments, and is a great indicator when baling later in the day,” he adds.
The BV5160 is an ISOBUS-compatible baler. And when Nick swapped his older Kubota M7-172 for the latest specification M7-173 KVT Premium tractor, it opened up a wealth of possibilities with plug-and-play technology. He’s now much more consistent with baling output, thanks to the automation provided by the TIM process.
“I’ve done a lot of baling over the years, and yes, you can out-perform TIM,” he says. “But you can’t do it all day, every day. TIM automation is a big benefit to me, by reducing stress and fatigue levels in the cab, while providing repeatable accuracy and a consistent output.”
When activated, he says that the TIM capability cleverly takes over the tractor, during the baling process.
“Through the CVT gearbox, TIM slows the tractor to a standstill once the bale chamber is filled,” he says. “Revs are dropped while the net goes on, then the chamber door is opened and closed, to let the bale out – and it’s all automatic. All I need to do is press the drive pedal once the system beeps at me, which increases revs and starts the driving process all over again.”
“I won’t be the only baler operator who has accidentally opened the chamber door instead of lifting the pickup – TIM now takes care of all that for me, I just need to steer down the rows and confirm that the way ahead is clear after each bale is ejected. It’s brilliantly effortless, and I’m looking forward to a full season with TIM.”