Growers and contractors who feel they don’t need a crop cutting system on their big square baler can now get the top model in the Case IH range without it.

The Packer Feeder version of the LB 436 Heavy Duty is an alternative to the full-spec' chopping version introduced in 2020 that sports a 29-blade knife bank to slice incoming material.

It helps get more material into each bale but comes at a £20,000 list price premium and needs at least 250hp, 20hp more than the Packer Feeder version, which has a simple six-tine feed rake instead of a 650mm diameter ‘W’ helix intake rotor and those knives.

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In all other respects, though, the new model is identical to the Crop Cutter version, both producing 120cm wide, 90cm high bales.

The newcomer replaced the LB 434 XL model with a 20% gain in bale density and a number of enhanced features, including a new pick-up and hydraulic suspension for the tandem axles.

That density gain comes in part from a 705mm increase in the length of the bale chamber to 4.05m and seven hydraulic cylinders acting on the top and side panels of the new chamber, with compression force sensors automatically adjusting the pressure applied.

It also comes from the near 60-tonne thump delivered by a plunger that has a heavier, larger diameter flywheel behind it, driven through a new main gearbox.

At start-up, the tractor’s pto can be engaged and brought up to speed before drive to the baler is fed in along with the big torque loads generated.

In addition, there is a two-speed secondary gearbox for the first time that increases the incoming 1000 rpm pto speed to 1445rpm for reduced critical torque loadings.

The new gearbox incorporates a flywheel brake (which is said to be much less susceptible to causing a fire), a flywheel slip-clutch and auto drive disengage as overload protection.

Up front, the 3.35m wide pick-up reel has durable poly plastic bands and now has five tine bars for a cleaner pick-up at speed.

When operated on a tractor with Isobus 3 electronics, the baler control system can regulate forward speed to produce bales with a consistent number (and therefore size) of wads to meet end user requirements.

Alternatively, with a software key unlock, the system can operate in maximum output mode, automatically adjusting forward speed to account for varying amounts of material in the swath to boost productivity and ease the operator’s workload.

To cope with the denser bales produced, the LB 436 Heavy Duty (and its New Holland BigBaler 1290 HD sister machine) has six knotters to a new design that produces loop style knots, which are said to be 37% stronger and result in an overall 26% increase in knotted twine tensile strength.

For the cost and environment-conscious, it is also good to know that there are now no knot trimmings left on top of each bale. It has been calculated that over a 10,000-bale season, the lack of cut-offs alone saves more than 46kg, or 6km of twine – and that’s before factoring in the fewer bales per tonne produced thanks to the increased density.

Operators will also welcome the new hydraulic suspension for the two axles, now fitted with larger 22.5in or 26.5in tyres. It not only delivers a smoother, more controlled ride on the road and in the field but also can be used to lower the baler when refilling the extra-large twine box.