Benchmarking test highlighted netwrap length shortfall
Buying rolls of netwrap that are significantly shorter than indicated on the packaging could mean contractors and farmers are wrapping up to 25 bales per roll fewer than expected, significantly raising production costs.
That is the startling message to emerge from a benchmarking investigation programme conducted over the past three years on rolls of netwrap of all lengths and types from most major manufacturers.
To establish the actual length and strength of many of popular types of netwrap sold in the market, the benchmarking tests were conducted in strict accordance with the internationally recognised procedures.
The state-of-the-art measuring techniques were developed by the DLG Test Centre in Gross-Umstadt, Germany. Its test facilities and protocols are accredited both nationally and internationally. Over the three seasons of testing more than 60% of all the rolls that were evaluated were found to be less than the stated length. For every ten rolls tested, six were found to be more than 100 millimetres shorter than specified on their packaging. More than 20% of rolls were found to be more than 200 millimetres short, and 8% of nets were more than 300 millimetres short.
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The implications for business costs are clear, said Graham Robson, technical manager at netwrap specialist Tama.
"Buying rolls of netwrap which are shorter than their indicated length clearly adds to business costs, since more rolls will be needed to compensate for the shorter length of netwrap on each roll," he said.
The strength of netwrap was found to vary considerably too. That matters a lot as round-baler technology progresses, with denser and much heavier bales putting greater pressure on the netwrap used.
The benchmarking tests showed many nets tested over the past three seasons were clearly not strong enough for modern baling techniques.
Netwrap strength matters too, stressed Mr Robson. "If the netwrap is weaker than expected, obviously more net will be required to hold safely your valuable bale secure. That considerably reduces the number of bales possible from each roll."
With short length and weaker net often occurring in the same product, quality issues clearly deserve greater attention from contractors and farmers alike, Mr Robson told me.