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Twine Choice Drives Business Success

Reliable twine underpins successful baling operations as one Gloucestershire farmer/contractor knows all too well
Written by Aviv Tron
Sales & Marketing Netwrap Product Line Management
CHOOSING the right bale twine cuts down-time, speeds outputs and avoids damaged bales, with an eye on environmental sustainability, and all at the right cost per metre.

That’s the opinion of Brian Brazington, who runs a successful contracting operation alongside his own sheep and grass enterprise at Farmington in the heart of the Cotswolds near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

Three balers produce over 8000 bales a year, with a four-string 80×90 Case/New Holland 332 and a six-string 90×120 Fendt being particularly well suited to the work. Around 60% of the baling is forage and 40% straw, the latter including spring barley, especially tough to bale when picked up right behind the combine on a bright sunny day.

Having tried various twines Mr Brazington settled on TamaTwine+ a few years ago. “It was popular locally, and is available through the farm Co-op, and the fact that leading baler manufacturers market it with their own branding gave me the confidence to use the product,” he says.

The option of purchasing XL spools clinched the switch. “I prefer larger spools. I’d say 95% of baling string problems occur with spool changes. Even if you make every effort to
join the ends with a small knot with short tails it can still come undone. Or the knotter can tie on top of the joint, with the same result – the string fails. Nobody wants to be crawling under a baler getting a shirt-full of barley awns, so we definitely prefer longer spools. They cut downtime.”

Tama Assist

Understanding the best twines to use in different situations made a big difference. Tama’s Warren Tatton helped a lot, drawing on Tama Assist’s knowledge base, which includes
a twine selection tool, an on-line guide to pre-season baler set-up and baler-specific trouble-shooting tips, backed by a team of in-field experts. “It gives me real confidence that
they’re always there should I ever have a problem.”

For hay Mr Brazington uses LSB Long, a twine that goes a long way in lower density forage baling, with 3000m in a twin-pack.

For most other baling he uses LSB Power twine, ideally suited to high density baling in all crops and balers. It comes in 2800m twin-spool packs, or larger XL spools holding 1650m each.

For tougher conditions he uses HD Extra twine, designed for more demanding situations including difficult crops. In barley straw, especially in harsh conditions, it goes on the outside knotters. It comes in 2600m twin-spool packs or larger XL spools holding 1450m each. “It means we can produce 450-500kg straw bales.”

“I’ve also noticed how little set-up the balers need with Tama twine, they’re just ready from the start of the season.” That’s not so surprising, given the company’s close co-operation with baler makers throughout the development of new baling equipment.

Indeed, switching from twine to twine during the season has proven easy too, with no need to adjust baler settings or knotters. “It’s important. It makes it easier for us to use the right twine for the job, which is good for customers.”

Twines by colour

To aid product choice Tama’s twines are colour coded, including the three used by Mr Brazington: LSB Long (green segment), LSB Power (orange segment) and HD Extra (red segment). Complementing those are blue segment LSB Max for light baling conditions, where maximum length is the priority with 3200m/pack, and range topping brown segment HD Prime for the most challenging conditions, with 2200m/pack or 1350m XL spools

"It gives me real confidence that they’re always there should I ever have a problem"
Better twine, less plastic

An enhanced blend of raw materials and finer tolerances means TamaTwine+ uses around 25% less polypropylene, so weight and twine diameter can be reduced, while twine strength is maintained and performance in the baler’s knotting mechanism is enhanced.

“If the twine isn’t right you can’t make good bales, and you can’t capitalise on your investment,” says Mr Tatton. “We have a full range of twines and can advise on the correct twine to deliver the highest output and best performance from your baler, in all conditions.”

Old-tech competitors

Old-fashioned bulky, heavy twines, based on old manufacturing technologies, not only put more plastic into the environment for the required strength, but are also more prone to knot slippage, since knots struggle to hold the sheer bulk of twine.

A further downside of heavier twine is that due to limits on spool dimensions, fewer metres are possible on the spool, so they need re-loading more often, meaning more product packaging, pallets and pallet wrap for the same number of bales.

Something Mr Brazington experienced with other brands was spools wound so tightly at the centre that the twine becomes fractured and breaks when used. “We’ve never had
that problem with Tama.”

Packaging reduction

But cardboard around spools has been a frustration. “The packaging is generally very good, with pallets very easy to move between sites, which is important for us. But I hate
waste and it’s amazing how much packaging waste can build up. I’m glad that in future there will only be a plastic sleeve – not having the cardboard will help reduce waste

Earlier this spring Mr Brazington was concerned that the 2021 growing season could be a repeat of 2020, with a very dry spring limiting grass growth. Hopefully, a nice warm
rain will give a big boost to growth before baling time. But whatever the conditions he is confident he has his twine needs all wrapped up – thanks to a wise product switch a
few years ago.

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