Debbie Harrison has been in the baling business for six years and this season has been working with a brand-new MF 2370 Ultra high-density baler in wheat and barley straw for Peterborough-based Agribale Ltd.
She originally trained in civil engineering but tried baling for a day and was hooked. Personally averaging around 10,000 bales in a season, she’s got plenty of experience under her belt with different balers.
“There’s lots of good things about the MF 2370,” she says. “When you are out in the field, the mission is to get it baled as quickly as possible and keep the farmer happy. He wants the straw off his land and, of course we are always against the weather. With the MF UHD, you can achieve this. It’s a very high-speed baler and can clear a field rapidly.”
“The baler produces good density bales and runs very well. We’ve had no problems. You know that it’s going to be able to take in the straw no matter what. It just carries on at the chosen forward speed, easily handling clumped straw for instance.”
“The set-up of the twine boxes (containing two rows of nine twine balls) is brilliant,” Debbie explains. “I’m only 5ft 5ins but I can reach from ground level to access them. There’s also a good diagram on the machine showing how to string up.”
“The knotter has also been brilliant – really reliable. And I like the fact that there is a lot of space underneath the baler if you need to work on it. Greasing and blowing down is easy too. The grease points are very accessible which is a big advantage.”
Debbie’s baling day usually starts around 8am. “Then we keep going until the moisture levels stop us,” she says. “One day recently the team finally got in at 4am!”
During these long working hours, what sounds does she listen to up in the cab? “I’m a country girl, so it’s mostly country music - especially at the moment, Kip Moore.” When not out baling, she has her horses and dogs to look after.
“I love my job!” she adds. “I don’t think you could do it if you didn’t love it. To me it’s not really a job as I enjoy it so much.”
Agribale is a major agricultural contracting business which specialises in baling straw. The company purchases direct from the farmer in the swath and offers other services such as contract baling, chasing and haulage. There are currently 13 balers in the fleet and the team produces more than 90,000 bales a season.