Paul Treble knows plenty about hay baling. In the contracting business for more than a quarter of a century, Paul has worked in all manner of conditions, with all manner of machines, to meet the expectations of those who engage his team.
He has a simple message about McHale balers and wrappers: “We want more of their gear in Australia!”
Paul’s business is based in Simpson, down in the fertile Western District of Victoria. He established his contracting operation in 1994 and also spent eight intervening years working for another contractor in Gippsland. These days, he has eight fulltime members of staff on the books, a number which increases via the engagement of casual staff during harvest.
“We mainly contract to the dairy industry,” says Paul. “That’s about 90 per cent of our work. We do cultivation, prep and sowing and then come harvest, farmers will have us do the preparation for making silage and hay in round bales. We’ve got two McHale wrappers, the conventional 991B and the other is an Orbital. We also have four McHale V660s and three Vario Fusion baler wrappers.
“We work in an hour’s radius by tractor, so it’s about a 50 to 60 kilometre range from our base unless it’s a bigger job. In that case we have trucks to transport the machinery. The farmer will tell us what he wants – either a hay baler or a silage baler. If he wants us to wrap, we take the Fusions in and do both jobs with one machine.”
Remarkably, the first version of McHale’s Fusion, a combined/ integrated baler wrapper, appeared 20 years ago. As the series evolved, the Fusion range has become the “go to” choice for farmers and contractors in more than 50 countries across the globe.
Today, the Fusion 3, the Fusion 3 Plus with film binding technology, and the Fusion Vario with variable chamber carry on the tradition, known for their patented bale transfer, high speed vertical wrapping ring and strong resale value.
Paul notes the longevity and durability of his McHale fleet. Being an experienced contractor, he is keenly attuned to the factors that can derail his business.
“Our biggest cost is down time – if we can avoid it, we’re more productive,” he says. “We found that with McHale there’s very little down time. The maintenance on them is minimal and they last longer.
“There’s more electronic componentry now, but as far as the simplicity of McHale goes that hasn’t changed – they haven’t gone too high tech. You always get plugging. Other brands have the drop floor as well but we find the McHales are so much more efficient.
“Since we’ve gone to the baler wrappers, there’s time saved with non-blockage and transfer of the bale into the chamber for wrapping, and we just don’t have the problems that we used to have with older systems, even in damp conditions.”
One of the first McHale machines that Paul invested in was a V660 variable chamber baler. It is still going strong today, 70,000 bales later, with its original belts and original tyres.
“I was one of the first to have McHales in my area,” Paul says. “There were other brands being used, and still are, but they’d always be looking over the fence at what I was doing. Now, you would say there are more McHales in our area than any other brand – that’s contractors and farmers.”