Just in time for corn harvest, Vermeer is building the first five ZR5-1200 self-propelled balers for dealerships in Iowa and Nebraska. In key proximity to cornstalk baling areas, the machines will have an opportunity to put up a large number of bales this season, and these dealerships have participated in specialized training to support the ZR5.
“The ZR5 has generated a ton of interest in the hay and forage community since Vermeer unveiled it at Husker Harvest Days last fall,” says Mark Core, Vermeer executive vice president. “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.”
Farmers got their first look at the ZR5 in September 2017. The prototype ZR5 balers have been in testing for three years, mostly around the company’s headquarters in Pella, Iowa, and Nebraska.
The machine’s patent-pending independent suspension system helps operators handle uneven ground conditions that come with baling. The most notable feature of the ZR5, aside from being self-propelled, is its zero-turn capability. During the tie-cycle, the machine can automatically rotate to the left or right, positioning the bale parallel to the windrow upon ejection. When placing bales parallel to the windrow, the picking up process can be completed up to 35% faster.
The ZR5 has a hydrostatic ground drive and a hydraulic baler drive. A 200 hp (143 kW) Cummins diesel engine powers the ZR5 down the road at 30+ mph (48.3+ kph), which is especially beneficial to commercial operators needing to move quickly from field to field.
“Everything about the ZR5 self-propelled baler was intentionally designed to maximize efficiency, operator comfort, ease of use and maintenance,” said Josh Vrieze, Vermeer product manager. “We’re excited to make this machine available for purchase. It’s the type of innovation hay and forage producers have been waiting for.”