Vermeer: Blockage measures on a round baler help feed material into the chamber more consistently and prevent blockage in the pickup and bale chamber.

New Holland: Blockages can occur when pickup tines are too close to the ground from improper gauge wheel adjustment, improperly set flotation or windguard setting. Large clumps of material block the rotor, causing feeding interruptions, forcing operators to stop.

Easily removable, no-tool windguards are time-savers. Closely spaced windguard rods provide better material control and work with pickup tines to ensure smooth flow.

Roller windguards are the best. They “pre-densify” the crop before it gets to pickup tines, keeping material moving into the bale chamber, especially in short or dry materials. Rotor-cutter balers have standard main-drive slip clutches. Rotor feeders can be reversed.

Company specifications
Kuhn North America: On Kuhn balers specifically, there are three features that help eliminate intake blockage.

  • Drop floor – If a blockage occurs, the cutting floor and knives can be lowered. This is all done from the tractor cab by the push of a button. (Available on Kuhn round balers featuring OptiCut rotor.)

  • Main driveline clutch – Allows you to leave the PTO engaged, dropping the engine RPMs to increase torque, which expels plugging.

  • Hand clutch – On the left side of the baler, there is a hand clutch that allows you to disengage the intake system while the rest of the baler is still running.

Then, you can tie off the bale in the chamber and expel it. You can also use a rotor wrench where the hand clutch disengages to back up the intake. (Available on Kuhn round balers with OptiCut and OptiFeed rotors.)

Vermeer: Both the 404 Pro and 504 Pro Balers from Vermeer offer hydroflex control to help prevent blockage. Hydroflex control has a suspended and flexible mounting that allows the feed floor to shift up and down slightly and minimize material plugging.


Should a plug occur, the operator can hydraulically open the baler floor from the cab to clear plugs and move material back into the chamber.

New Holland: Prior to baling – spread out large windrow clumps. Move or reform uneven or weather-damaged windrows. Avoid baling too rapidly wet, damp material or re-bales.

New Holland round baler pickups are out front where operators can foresee potential feeding problems, helping to ensure positive feeding. Blockages can mean mismatches between pickup and windrow widths or volumes.

New Holland has the widest pickups in the market, the 82-inch tine-to-tine XtraSweep for BR7000 series or the 82-inch tine-to-tine ActiveSweep for the Roll-Belt 560. Wider pickups handle wider, thinner windrows, reducing blockage chances and making denser bales that resist weather and reduce storage losses.

Why it matters: There are many reasons why these features matter. The first reason is downtime. During the limited time available for baling, stopping to unblock clogged balers and running for tools wastes valuable time.

The second reason has to do with operator safety. Clearing blockages provides opportunities for injury to operator and baler if not conducted properly. Always safely lower rotor knives before clearing blockages.

How much weight should this feature carry in my buying decision?

New Holland: Due to the aforementioned downtime and safety considerations, the ability to deal easily and safely with blockages should carry a fair amount of weight on the buying decision.

Vermeer: If a producer intends to bale significant amounts of heavy, wet material such as silage, then blockage measures will be very important in the decision-making.

This type of material tends to plug more easily, but well-designed blockage measures can help producers avoid the delays of unplugging the baler. In addition, many blockage measures allow the operator to easily clear any plugs from the cab should they occur.

Kuhn North America: It’s probably the most important feature of a round baler – no operator wants to spend an hour unplugging a blockage. Kuhn has built in these features to make it easier for operators to harvest their crop efficiently.  FG

For questions regarding any of these comments, contact – Vermeer; Kuhn or New Holland.

Note: The New Holland disc-mower rotary disc diameter was incorrectly reported last issue as 23.4 inches; the correct dimension is 24.3 inches.