Thirty years ago Vermeer started the round bale revolution with the invention of the big round baler. "And, today, with the introduction of the new family of XL Series Balers, we are starting a new one," says Mark Core, director of marketing at Vermeer.

"A year ago, when we asked several of our serious hay baler customers and dealers what improvements they wanted to see in their next baler, general feed back from the groups descried a baler 'simpler to operate and maintain; one that gives them more hay per day, high density bales, excellent leaf retention, and in the end, fewer bales to handle when the baling is done... and, for extra measure, don't raise the prices,'" grinned Core.

The Pella, IA-based manufacturer quickly responded with the recent introduction of the new Vermeer 500XL and 600XL Series Balers.

"During the past year, we fought hard to add more value to our complete baler family and still keep prices in line. The new XL Series is our first, giant step towards this effort, with a complete menu of changes and improvements addressing the requests of customers and dealers alike," stated Core.

"Our primary focus has been in the areas of speed and capacity, and basically, that is where the bigger improvements have been made. These balers love to eat hay."

"They are equipped with a five-bar pickup to handle big windrows; bottom drum design which promotes faster hay intake; a horizontal bale-starting system for fast starts in all types of crops; wide belts for maximum belt-to-bale contact; rubber-mounted pickup tines, which create greater pickup action and lower replacement costs; and the best hay saver wheels in the field today. In many instances," Core concluded, "producers will find they can drive a full gear faster."

Core says it is the "extras" that customers are really going to appreciate, claiming that the new XL Series Balers are much more durable than just one year ago.

For example, the newly reinforced belt tightener assembly on 500XL series Balers is three times stronger. Vermeer has also strengthened the tailgate and tailgate pivot areas. A larger sprocket on the output drive shaft (on all XL Balers) improves the wearability and chain life for one of the biggest wear points of a baler. Rust-resistant yellow zinc plating, ground level servicing, a heavy-duty 10,000 pound test safety towing chain; and high flotation tires (31.5 x 13.5-15, six-ply) also are now standard on all XL models.

Another major improvement is a cut-out clutch which totally eliminates hot or burnt out discs in accidental overfill and overload situations. This can be a major hassle with standard slip clutch systems; especially those times when the baler's pulling harder on outside windrows, you have more horsepower than you need, or you are trying to bale the last few feet of a windrow overfilled.

Drop 'n go bale ejection system is also standard now on 500XLs and 600XLs. This eliminates the need to disengage and re-engage the PTO when dropping a bale and helps maximize hay production.

Other features include, double-arm twine tie, eight-ball twine storage (threaded from each side, pickup tine adjustments (aggressive to normal), new improved safety-transport light assemblies, resettable bale counters, hydraulic hose guides and transport racks; and PTO cover shields.

A significant change in the 500XL Series Balers is the maximum bale size. The 500XL Series Balers now produce a 65" diameter bale. This gives producers 17% more bale capacity (than the older five-feet diameter bale size) for basically the same price...plus, it reduces field time, resulting in fewer bales to move and handle.

Customers can select between the 554XL model or the 555XL. Maximum bale weights, 1,200 and 1,500 pounds, respectively, depend upon moisture content of the specific crop.

The smaller 554XL, when equipped with a simple, low-cost silage package, is capable of baling both wet or dry hay. Bale weight capacity on the 554XL (with the Silage Option) is 2,000 pounds, at a recommended four feet diameter.

Recommended tractor horsepower for the 555XL and 554XL Balers is 50 hp and 60 hp respectively.

The new 600XL Series Balers, designed for large hay producers and commercial operators are equipped with combination hydraulic-pneumatic belt tension systems for even greater bale densities.

The model 605XL features a maximum bale weight of 2,400 pounds, depending upon moisture content of specific crops; 1900 on the 604XL. The narrower 47" width on the 604XL enables commercial producers to load bales two abreast on an eight-foot trailer without overhang.

Other improvements on 600XL Series Balers include: re-positioning the hydraulic control valve for easier access when making adjustments and better protection from dirt, dust or hay buildup, simplified tailgate lock and bale size indicators, reinforced steel side shields with flex-fit latches and transport safety locks for extra protection when transporting at higher speeds.

Recommended tractor horsepower for 600XL Series Balers is 90 hp.

All XL Series Balers are available with Accu-Bale and Accu-Tie Bale Monitors and Silage Kits, Bale Kickers (600) and Ramps (500), Net Wrap, Automatic Pressurized Chain Oilers and Innoculant Application Kits.

See Jorgenson Equipment at the Tulsa Farm Show in the Vermeer exhibit.

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