From Balmacolly Farm, Bankfoot, Perthshire, TH Stevenson & Sons makes several thousand round bales each year, including grass and straw, mostly for consumption by the farm’s beef cattle.

“We produce around 600 silage bales each year for our cattle, with the remaining couple of thousand being straw,” explains Tom Stevenson.

Until last season, the farm had been using a variable chamber baler, but has recently switched to a fixed chamber model following an unfortunate fire that meant its previous baler could not be recovered.

“We opted for the heavy duty FixBale 500, supplied by local dealer AM Philip,” he says. “Where we previously had the option of different size bales, the FixBale now gives us a consistent 4ft bale that is much more tightly packed.”

“The extra density means we’ll probably have fewer bales to handle this season, which should make us more efficient with bale handling,” explains Tom.

Powered by a Valtra T154 packing 165hp, he says the combination is well-suited to the rolling countryside in which the Stevenson family currently farms.

“The baler is solid-looking, low-profile machine sat on wide, low ground pressure tyres,” he says. “It’s incredibly stable. And the 2.3m wide pickup easily collected all the straw we could throw at it.”

“We’ve yet to put the baler to work in grass silage, but having seen the shape and weight of the straw bales it makes, we’re looking forward to getting stuck into grass silage with it,” he says. “We should see an increase in forage quality from getting much tighter bales.”