Maierhofer family | Eastern Styria Diligent gaze, well practiced movements, sparks are flying: Hans-Peter Maierhofer is sharpening the knives of his round baler. The next job is scheduled for this afternoon. Here, in Eastern Styria, the young farmer runs a classic dairy farm with pasture land and cultivated fields. Our home is in the Pöllau Valley in the Hartberg District, Eastern Styria on a dairy farm which we all operate together: Julia, my girlfriend, my parents, and myself. Our farm comprises 75 dairy cows and their offspring And, I am thrilled that you are visiting us today. It is the end of May: High time for the first forage harvest of the year. Like his father before him, Hans-Peter relies on round bales for the harvest. We have been using round bales for 20 years at our farm. My father was the one starting this tradition. We also worked with bunker silos – but the farm was smaller then. We would have had to expand our bunker silos, but ended up going with round bales instead. We still use bunker silos for our maize, though. The weather has been cold and unsteady. And, it did not change for our visit. It rained the day before. The sun is reluctant to show itself. It is weather conditions like these where “round bales” truly shine: You are more flexible and do not need to finish cutting in one go. And, in our situation, where the fields are farther apart, it helps that you can set up the bales on any of them and take them home at your leisure in the wintertime. And, even if the forage has not ripened evenly, it does not matter if I do 2 hectares one time or 15 hectares another. The Traunstein (bunker silo) does not offer me the same convenience, as opening and closing it is a problem. We have fields down in the valley, we have fields that ripen much later, and we can use them in the way that fits our needs best, provided the weather plays along. The Maierhofer farm puts their trust in a round baler made by Göweil. While visiting a trade fair three years ago, Hans-Peter stumbled across this new machine and was impressed immediately. A hands-on presentation created tremendous excitement, both in the father and the son. The decision to purchase the machine followed quickly, and has not been regretted since: In the end, the more than 95 % of grass silage we produce made us realize: We often deal with such poor conditions as wet crops and short forage and would benefit from this baler as it allows us to produce silage all year round. The Göweil G-1 F125 is a professional machine for superior throughput performance during the tough job of silage production. What primarily counts for Hans-Peter is bale density, though. We frequently start out at 12 to 15 km/h, but as soon as the bale starts compressing – i.e. when it is time for baling, we lower the speed as needed to take in as much forage or crop as possible And, this works really well, which is immediately apparent – just look at how firm the bales are! We have also weighed them already – although the weight will always vary with how dry or wet the forage is. Nonetheless, we have already had an occasional 1,000 kg bale! The baler boasts a number of unique technical features, e.g. the hydraulic drive axle. A crucial advantage in slope positions, even if the hitched tractor is strong enough. However, that has not always been the case: We used to have a 150 HP tractor and often needed to operate in steep terrain which is when the drive axle really came in handy Now, we have a more powerful tractor, and yet – things are not always perfect – as we all know – conditions are often too wet for driving which is when the drive axle definitely helps. However, it cannot eliminate the weight but it adds braking force when going downhill, when driving uphill, you feel the push it provides from behind Simply gentle on the soil Baling has always been the senior boss’s job. No one is allowed to take this task away from the 70-year-old. He too would not want to miss the drive axle anymore: Because you do not tear up the ground as much When the bale is done, you are supposed to push back a bit but that would tear up the ground The drive axle definitely helps – and does a much better job! The drive is powered hydraulically by two wheel hub motors. Uphill, they push the tractor, downhill, the help brake it. The operating states are controlled by sensors housed in the drawbar and shown to the driver on a color display. The driver can focus his attention entirely on his work. Keyword “slope position”: A bracket specially designed for this purpose has been fitted to the tailgate This bracket holds the bale in place and keeps it from rolling away while being ejected. This basically ensures that you will never lose a bale The tailgate opens – and the bale wanders out While lying between the wheels, it cannot escape because the bale catcher presses down on it and not until the camera shows that the bale is at rest will the tailgate open all the way to make sure the bale is entirely secure. This saves you the hassle of having to drive to a level spot and allows you to deposit the bale in any slope position The bale furthermore becomes particularly angular, which is very important and is guaranteed to remain in place Apart from this optional equipment, the baler comes with a host of standard features: The machine really stands out when we have to deal with clogs: We slightly reduce the motor speed, and the rotor duct is cleared The occasions where we have to clean manually are really few and far between This lightens our workload tremendously If a clog forms at the rotor I simply lower the speed, and the clog is cleared Not so with the other baler we used to have when you swung out the drop floor you usually left a good portion of the forage behind. You either had to clear these remnants manually or the drop floor would no longer close all the way because of jammed forage These problems no longer occur with the new baler. The 30 knives are of great benefit especially for our feeding robot, which also needs to mix The shorter the material, the easier the work for the robot the lower the wear! The binding is completed flawlessly – and the bales are deposited properly The old baler always left behind remnants of forage, requiring you to complete another run – and clear the field… of unsightly heaps scattered everywhere. This has never really been an issue with this baler – is operates amazingly! To sharpen the knives, Hans-Peter uses a grinder made by Göweil, which has been in use at the farm for quite a while now. This grinder allows you to sharpen both curved and straight blades used in different devices and made by different manufacturers. The 30 knives are loaded conveniently from the top. They can be used on both sides. So, in actuality, each set gives you another set in reserve. The bars are swung in hydraulically with the press of a button. The machine’s ease of use also extends to its maintenance: All service points behind the side flaps are easily accessible. The automatic central lubricator supplies grease to a great many lubrication points. The rest has been bundled on easily accessible strips. There is no doubt that this machine guarantees convenient mechanization. The farmer has never considered extending its use beyond his own farm. That is for one specific reason: We use the machine at our own farm two thirds of the time – we hardly ever operate for other farms While the 2,000 bales we produce every year do not qualify as a large volume our considerations placed greater focus on service life we hope – and expect that this machine will grow old with us. While senior drives the baler, Hans-Peter transports the bales home. This job is completed with Göweil technology as well: With the double transport frame that is capable of loading two bales at a time. A procedure that has proven its worth: We take the bales home – since we do not have far to drive, the longest distance is 3 km – using the bale fork Mounted on the front hydraulic system is a bale fork while a double bale fork is fitted on the rear Overall, the amount of wrapping we do ourselves at the farm is 95% This means that we can drop our guard a little bit during bale transport. You can even drive a little faster than usual and handle the bales with “less care” when they are bound with netting. Hans-Peter intends to continue and optimize the farm as a full-time enterprise. Given our present workload, we definitely cannot grow any further. We have reached a healthy size that allows us to live comfortably. My parents are retired already. My girlfriend has been working on the farm full time for two years. And, we will be perfectly happy if we can keep operating like this. Nonetheless, there is always room for improvements and we will simply try to find ways to improve while running our business the way we always have Sounds like an excellent plan! Hans-Peter and his girlfriend Julia cannot imagine working in any other job: You will be hard-pressed to find a job that offers as much variety as the job of a farmer I never wanted to be anything else. Even as a child. Growing up, my life revolved around farming We stick together as a family and that has been working out great for us! The Maierhofer farm in Pöllau: A prime example of a family-run farm that is prepared for the future. We wish Hans-Peter and his girlfriend ongoing success and the sense to make the right decision for the future. Dear viewer: Now it is your turn! What is your take on the round bale system? What kind of technology do you trust for your forage harvest? Share your opinion in the comments below and drop us a Like, if you enjoyed this report. We will soon present additional Göweil customers including their operations and the technology they use as well as their views and philosophies. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to make sure you will not miss any of our videos. Are you working with Göweil machinery as well? Post your photo on Instagram under hashtag #ifarmitmyway so that we can all enjoy it!