PELLA, Iowa — Vermeer is building the first 5 ZR5-1200 self-propelled balers to make available at a limited number of Iowa and Nebraska Vermeer dealerships — in time for cornstalk baling season. These dealerships are in key cornstalk baling areas where the machines can put up a large number of bales during this fall season. The select dealerships have participated in specialized training to help support the ZR5.
The first of its kind, the ZR5 self-propelled, zero-turn baler can make quick work of a field while offering an unprecedented level of operator comfort and maneuverability, according to the company.
“The ZR5 has generated a ton of interest in the hay and forage community since Vermeer unveiled it at Husker Harvest Days last fall,” said Vermeer executive vice president Mark Core. “Finding qualified labor in rural areas has become increasingly difficult and the ZR5 paves the way for greater efficiency, which can allow producers to reduce their labor needs and still maintain — or can even bolster — productivity in the field.”
A patent-pending independent suspension system within the ZR5 allows operators to better handle the uneven ground conditions that naturally come with baling. Perhaps the most notable feature of the ZR5, aside from being self-propelled, is its zero-turn capability. The zero-turn feature provides two major benefits:
- Increased efficiency when turning on the end row
- Ability for the ZR5 to “quarter turn” when ready to eject a bale.
The quarter-turn capability is part of an automated process. The ZR5 baler stops automatically when the bale hits full size. It then applies net and rotates the machine a quarter turn before ejecting the bale automatically. The company says positioning bales in a straight row can save up to 35% in time when it comes to picking up and loading bales.
By automating parts of the baling process, the ZR5 self-propelled baler helps reduce the number of manual steps to make a bale to just one; all an operator needs to do is push “Go.” It is hydraulically driven to help make real-time adjustments based on field and crop conditions. The automation of the baler also helps increase efficiency of the overall baling process and helps create more consistent bale sizes.
The ZR5 features a hydrostatic ground drive and a hydraulic baler drive. A 200 horsepower Cummins diesel engine powers the ZR5 down the road at 30-plus mph, which is especially beneficial to commercial operators needing to move quickly from field to field.
Machine maintenance is another benefit of the machine’s design. The bale chamber can be removed for maintenance in a matter of minutes, so producers can spend time more productively in the field.
“Everything about the ZR5 self-propelled baler was intentionally designed to maximize efficiency, operator comfort, ease of use and maintenance,” said Vermeer product manager Josh Vrieze. “The patent-pending suspension technology provides a smooth ride, zero-turn capabilities make it convenient to line up to windrows and I believe maintaining the bale chamber will be more efficient compared to a traditional baler. We’re excited to make this machine available for purchase. It’s the type of innovation hay and forage producers have been waiting for.”
See the video filmed by Farm Equipment editors prior to the ZR5 baler’s introduction at the 2017 Husker Harvest Days >>