It’s 2 a.m. in central Oregon, and James Warkentin is baling alfalfa on a clear June night. Here, despite the old adage, the time to make hay is by the light of the moon. “To make perfect export hay, our baling window is only about three hours a night when the humidity softens the hay enough to put it up,” he says. “That’s why we appreciate these Masseys. In five years, we’ve never lost a night of baling.”
Thanks to the reliability of his Hesston by Massey Ferguson® balers, alfalfa producer James Warkentin of Christmas Valley, Oregon, spends less time on equipment maintenance and more time with family, including sons Zaiden (in the air) and Kenden.
Warkentin farms 3,000 acres of alfalfa outside Christmas Valley, about 90 miles southeast of Bend, Oregon. His family has been in the hay business for 35 years, and today, about two-thirds of their production is exported. To help cover so many acres in just a handful of hours and still produce quality hay, the Warkentins, who work with AGCO® dealership Robbins Farm Equipment, operate a fleet of eight Hesston by Massey Ferguson® 2270XD large square balers.
“It is so unbelievably stark, the difference between these balers and anything else,” he says. “We tried others, and we just couldn’t keep them running. But once we went to Massey, now we don’t stop baling, while others are sitting out there with the hoods up.” Nick Huston, brand manager, Hesston by Massey Ferguson, says commercial producers like Warkentin are who they have in mind when building the industry’s most reliable balers. “These producers have windows of operation that are so fleeting,” he says. “Any amount of downtime is going to take away from their bottom line.” From the creation of the first large square baler in 1978 to the new MF2370 Ultra HD, the industry’s first Class 8 baler, Hesston’s innovative, yet simple design has ensured dependable, consistent performance.
“It all starts with our proven chain-drive system that drives the plunger, the knotters and the stuffer,” says Dean Morrell, AGCO hay and forage marketing manager. “Others have switched to gearboxes that require more routine service.” On large square bale models, Hesston’s patented packer and rotor systems create uniform flakes that lead to uniform bales, he adds. Hesston-designed knotters ensure that once a bale leaves the chamber, it’s secure through transport to its destination. Such dependability can be found throughout the Hesston line.
“Producers don’t want to be tinkering with the baler to make sure it’s working correctly,” Morrell says, adding that sealed bearings and easy ground-level access to the hydraulics, fuse block and lube reservoir make the MF2370 Ultra HD even easier to service. “They want to pull into a field and be able to run, then switch crops without making any adjustments. With our balers, they won’t have to.” Warkentin is anxious to upgrade his fleet to the MF2370 Ultra HD, as the denser bales will allow him to capture even more value in the alfalfa export market. “Every baler has its strong points and weak points, but we really haven’t found the weak point in these balers,” he says. “The reliability is unbelievable.”