In 1972, after years of tinkering, Edwin Vermeer introduced the first large round baler. While there had been small round balers before, his design changed haymaking.

"Our goal today is to lead the industry as 'the hay specialists,'" says Jim VanderWerff, vice president of Vermeer's ag division. Pursuing that goal, the company is introducing its first large square baler, as well as several other new products.

L-series balers. Four new L-series models - 504L, 505L, 604L and 605L - feature Vermeer's exclusive bottom drum roller design for better bale density and formations. A 5-bar floating pickup with rubber-mounted pickup tines, Hay Saver wheels and smooth, wide 14-in. belts ensure gentle hay handling and positive hay-feeding action into the bale chamber.

The 504L produces a bale 5 ft. in dia. and 4 ft. wide weighing up to 2,000 lbs., wet or dry, while the 505L produces a bale 5 ft. in dia. and 5 ft. wide weighing up to 1,400 lbs. or up to 2,000 lbs. with an optional silage conversion kit. Both models require a 50-hp tractor and feature combination spring/hydraulic belt tension systems for variable densities and sizes so bales can be tailored to your storage and handling needs.

The adjustable, hydraulic/pneumatic belt tension system on the 604L and 605L allows operators to pre-select densities from light, soft-core bales to giant, high-density packages weighing up to 1,900 and 2,400 lbs. respectively. Bale diameters can be pre-selected from 24 in. to 72 in. The 604L's 4-ft.-wide bale offers the high-density, low-spoilage advantages of big bales plus the convenience of 4-ft. transportation width. The 605L produces a 6-ft.-dia. by 5-ft.-wide bale for maximum forage harvest production. Suggested list prices: 504L, $18,438; 505L, $21, 095; 604L, $21,788; 605L, $24,207. Big square baler. The CommandRam harvests up to 45 tons of hay per hour and creates a 38- x 46-in. six-tie package up to 1,600 lbs., which enables operators with standard flatbed trucks to transport 33% more big squares.

The unit's hydraulic plunger drive system compresses the hay in the chamber on command when the chamber is full. The plunging process allows, for example, 17 to 22 slices per 8-ft. bale.

A spring-loaded adjuster allows the operator to match bale lengths to transport or storage needs, up to 9 ft. long. Bale density and shape are automatically controlled by the baler's hydraulic tension control system. Each of the six knotters makes a single knot, and an electronic knot-sensor monitors missed ties by flashing sensor lights visible from the tractor.

A minimum tractor requirement of 140 hp is recommended with single remote to handle the pickup lift. PTO speed is 1,000 rpm. Hydraulic pump capacity is 80 gpm, and an ASAE 7-pin connector outlet is also required. Suggested list price: $89,950.

Bale wrappers. Wrap a fresh bale, stack a recent one and pick up a new bale without leaving the tractor seat. The SW3000 and SW3500 bale wrappers are built so that one operator can handle high-moisture silage bales ranging from 4x4ft. up to 6-ft. widths and 5-ft. diameters.

The 3-pt. mounted SW3000 includes a hydraulic-lift turntable that rolls a wrapped bale up to 2,400 lbs. The trailered SW3500 cuts field time by allowing the operator to wrap a bale while crossing the field to pick up another one. A hydraulic self-loading arm lifts and loads bales while a hydraulic damper system gives the operator the choice of gently rolling the wrapped bale on its side or on end.

Both models feature an easy-loading pretensioner assembly to create a 70% film stretch for maximum film utilization. Suggested list price ranges: SW3000: $10,509 to $14,137; SW3500: $15,632 to $19,215.

Wider wheel rake. Want to increase raking capacity? The 25-ft. WR V-14 WheelRake comes with 14 crop-driven floating fingerwheels equipped with 40 high-flex steel tines. Simple adjustments allow you to vary height and angle for various crops and field conditions. Windrow widths are adjustable from 3 to 6 ft., and an optional center wheel rake allows you to turn hay in the windrowed area to ensure uniform dry-down. A hydraulic lift and fold system narrows the unit to 9 ft. for transport and can adjust raking widths on-the-go. Suggested list price: $7,500.

TwinRake upgrades. The new R23A and R24A TwinRakes feature adjustable raking widths, windrow widths hydraulically adjustable from 3 to 6 ft. and a hydraulically adjustable basket speed independent of ground speed. Constructed with a heavy-duty rectangular steel main frame, both units are equipped with large caster-type wheels to help cushion the ride and maintain the rake's settings as it negotiates terrain. Six-bar baskets are equipped with 120 rubber-mounted tines per basket. Transport width has been reduced to 98 in. Suggested list prices: R23A, $10,731; R24A, $18,135.

Bale splitter. Handle everything from dry bales to high-moisture, high-density silage bales and coarse crop residues with the hydraulically powered 500S bale splitter. It splits round packages up to 5 ft. in dia. into easy-to-handle slices in seconds. It attaches to a 3-pt. hitch and requires a 50-hp tractor and double-acting hydraulic cylinder. Suggested list price: $2,295.

Round bale handler. Ideal for transporting wrapped silage bales without damaging the wrap, the BH1000 bale handler features adjustable dual rollers with rolling sleeves designed to gently cradle, lift and carry round bales ranging from 4 ft. wide x 4 ft. in dia. to 5 x5 ft. An overarm protection guard prevents the bale from rolling back during lift and transport. The hydraulically powered unit handles loads up to 2,200 lbs., attaches to a loader or a 3-pt. mount and requires a 50-hp tractor with double-acting hydraulic cylinder. Suggested list price: $1,477.

For more information, contact Vermeer Mfg. Co., Ag Div., Dept. FIN, Box 368, Pella, IA 50219, 515/628-3141 or circle 213.