REPORT: Fifty years ago, Kemper launched its Bale Express collector, allowing one person to collect square bales and then unload them into a barn loft. They’re a rare sight in the UK, but they can still be spotted in Germany, Austria and other parts of Europe.
The introduction of the Bale Express bale collecting trailer was a welcome piece of engineering, because, up until then, loading small square bales was a largely physical chore. While there were sleighs for randomly grouping bales or bale throwers attached to balers that could chuck the packs into trailers, they still demanded a significant amount of manual labour. At the same time as many UK farmers were running the flat-eight system of sleighs and grabs, German firm Maschinenfabrik Kemper in Stadtlohn presented a different, and some would argue overly complicated solution with its first bale collecting trailer in 1973. This machine was later manufactured by Fella under licence, but Kemper itself built around 4,000 units by 1998.
Kemper offered two models: the BE75, which later became the BE95, and the BE125, the model digits representing the approximate bale carrying capacity. A maximum of 125 bales is not much, because you can stack a lot more bales on a similarly sized trailer. But the advantage of the Bale Express is that
there is no need to tie down the load, and even on slopes the bales can’t drop off the trailer, a key aspect for many owners.
The Kemper self-loading trailer is hitched to the clevis and powered by the pto shaft. The pick-up, positioned on the left of the tractor, has two deflector plates, which line up the bale and then turn it 90⁰ ready for the tines on the conveyor to take hold of the bale. The conveyor is designed as an endless belt and maintains travelling in the same direction when loading and unloading.