Chalk it up to innovation - 50 years of Vermeer round balers

“Find a need, fill that need with a product built to last, and simply build the best.”

These words were famously spoken by Vermeer Founder Gary Vermeer, who made a name for himself by designing products like the round baler that transformed industries and helped shape new ones altogether. Products that proved there is always a better way to get the job done.

It began when a local cattle producer told Gary he was getting out of the cattle business because making hay was labor intensive and he could no longer do it alone. That was when Gary decided a one-person system was needed.

After first chalking it out on the Vermeer factory floor, and conducting successful field tests with the first prototype, Gary and his team knew their round hay baler design was something big. And was it ever. Introduced in 1971, the “big, round baler,” as it was known in the industry, allowed hay producers to make hay bales almost 10 times bigger than any other baler on the market. Perhaps more importantly, it turned a process that traditionally required multiple people into a one-person job. Finally, hay producers could single-handedly put up high volumes of hay in shorter periods of time.

This was only the beginning of agricultural innovation.

For the last 50 years, Vermeer has been steadfast in its commitment to help hay and forage producers find a better way to make hay. With a team carrying on Gary’s spirit of innovation and deep passion for agriculture, we are in continuous pursuit of ways to improve our equipment to meet the needs of the industry. What we do every day helps make a real impact on our customers’ operations. We are committed to producers — whether they put up a few hundred or tens of thousands of round bales to feed their cattle. These producers excel at harvesting crops for haying, feeding and bedding to help nourish a healthy and vibrant food supply, as well as harvesting crop residues to support the biomass industry. At Vermeer, we tip our caps to the hay producers who play such an invaluable role in feeding and fueling the world.

After nearly 50 years of round hay baling, we reinvented the way our producers work again. In 2017, the ZR5-1200 self-propelled baler — the first of its kind — marked the beginning of a new era in haymaking.

From the patent-pending independent suspension system that delivers a smooth, comfortable ride to the one-step baling automation process that operators perform with the push of a button, the ZR5-1200 bucks the trend.

But the work doesn’t stop there. Vermeer and its robust network of independent dealers will continue to provide unwavering support to Vermeer hay producers and their equipment day in, day out. Vermeer dealers are passionate about agriculture — especially the hay and forage industry. They know Vermeer round balers as well as anybody because when they go home, many of them harvest their own crops, too. Who better to provide service and support for Vermeer hay tools than those who use the equipment themselves?

The big, round baler forever changed the way we make hay, helping hay producers do more with less. It has inspired innovation across the industry. How we handle, store and feed hay — everything has changed. Fast forward 50 years and Vermeer is more focused in the field than ever. The more things change, the more Vermeer can help hay producers stay ahead of the times and be Equipped to Do More®. To read more about the 50th Celebration, click here.