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Thread: The pain of small bales - any answers?

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    Senior Member WoodenHead's Avatar
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    The pain of small bales - any answers?

    Having forgotten what it's like making hay as over the last few weeks of temperatures in the upper 20s, low 30s - it's now made me realise just what a pain handling the small bales required by most of our customers is. We make round bales too but so many still want small bales.

    We use flat 8 and a bale squeeze trailer with longer runs back to the barns flat 8 / hand loaded onto a bale trailer.

    The real pain has been unloading and stacking them inside and the days seem to have gone when local help was around to heave them up, convey and stack + it's the time taken.

    Is anyone doing anything easier? Does anyone 'pack' them in 21s like the Bale Baron / Bandit?

    None of us is getting any younger here and we ought to find an answer.....
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    Senior Member 4wd's Avatar
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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    I used to stack them inside with the flat 8 grab essentially just make columns leaning slightly together up to 12 high.
    If feeling enthusiastic you could climb up and put in some crosses or even throw some up to the bay behind to get more in.
    You can grab the 8s the 'wrong' way, at least with ours you could.
    If no one else was there to lead I typically set down three or four 6x8s in the yard then switched to stacking for 20 minutes.

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    Senior Member Badshot's Avatar
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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    The question is do you really need the little bales? The big squares can be nearly as handy if opened and flakes carefully.
    If in doubt get a bigger hammer

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    Senior Member YardofTruth's Avatar
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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    If you have a decent barn then stacking with a flat 8 is a doddle. I've never timed myself but I think I can do about 400 in an hour while keeping cool and listening to the radio.

    In my view the only limiting factor to a flat 8 system is the time it takes to cart the bales back using a squeezer trailer 48 at a time.

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    Senior Member Mr Noo's Avatar
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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    Welger flat 10, you end up with square packs so criss crossing them is not a problem with the right bale length, shed also needs to be a decent width, ie, multiples of 8ft.
    We would have a loader out in the field and one back home. Load 3 packs of 10 per layer, used to go to 13 high (our trailers were very low purpose built by ourselves) So load them/unload them without putting a finger on them. Think we used to stack them 21 high in the shed and when rain was forecast we even used to couple 2 trailers together (had 4 in total) in a road train fashion, never got stopped but am sure it was not legal and it certainly made 150hp on the front of it grunt. We used to do a couple of thousand (straw) then get off combining around 10`ish
    One issue maybe that hay in 4ft long bales is not suitable for the horsey folk?

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    Senior Member daven's Avatar
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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    wean your customers off the small bales.... You don't have to be a crook about it, but maybe explain that the small bale price is gonna climb for the obvious reasons you mentioned and the labor prices you'll have to pay. It doesn't take much to adapt to round bales. Only reason I make small ones is big equipment won't fit the areas I bale..
    Be your self and speak your mind. Them that matter won't mind and the others don't matter

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    Senior Member Clive Tee's Avatar
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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    We made small bales one year only and got a contractor in with a Bale Bandit. Banded together in 21's and I cleared the field of something like 2,500 x 32kg bales and stored 1/2 mile away in a barn very quickly, in a day by myself from memory.

    Only problem was, the Bale Bandit broke down every hour or so and it took them 3 days to bale one field !!!! Think the contractor got rid, but maybe they've sorted the problems out now?

    Here's a pic of them baling our field...

    Clive Tee

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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    http://www.cherryproducts.co.uk/uploads/files/177.pdf

    Pick up the pack from a trailed/mounted bale squeeze and stack it in one go?

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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    I do about 6,000 little bales every year, more or less on my own. No way could I handle these the old way we used to by hand!
    Basically I have enough 20' trailers to clear about 800 bales off the field (5 layers of 24 bales, no stacking) and get the trailers ither in the yard or into sheds if rain is likely.
    Unloading is easy with the flat 8 on a Loadall, we fill a 30' wide shed from the gable end, a bay at a time. Lock the outside bales by hand every layer (20 bales per layer) - easy if you just put a flat eight more or less where you want it for hand stacking - and then just slot in six eights every layer (21' wide). So you have alternate 3' and 5' locked bales on the outside of each layer leaving about 22' for three widths of flat 8. Obviously the wider the shed the less proportion of hand locking is needed.
    Sometimes there are two of us, with one person in the shed doing a fairly easy job of hand locking the outsides each layer to save time.

    On my own I can easily unload and stack tidily about 200 an hour; with two available I suppose it would be nearer 300. Usually do this early morning when the dew is still down. It really is quite an easy job with very little handling of bales.

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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    Quote Originally Posted by daven View Post
    wean your customers off the small bales.... You don't have to be a crook about it, but maybe explain that the small bale price is gonna climb for the obvious reasons you mentioned and the labor prices you'll have to pay. It doesn't take much to adapt to round bales. Only reason I make small ones is big equipment won't fit the areas I bale..
    if your customer is mre horsey who wants 20 bales at a time and doesnt have a shed big enough to get a big bale it has to be small bales .. in answer to the OP question, if i was personally making a lot of small bay hay and straw i would have a bale bandit or bale baron. was looking at them (out of interest) at LAMMA- dealer was a bloke in in the south east, sussex maybe.. had a lot of hay in packs.. had an option to buy a lorry load and (stupidly ) at the time didnt do it.. turn out to be wrong.. as month half later every man and his dog where after hay of any kind in our biy of somerset..
    Big Vern..... Stay low Move faster

  11. #11

    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    Finished last of our small bay hay last week.
    just under 40000 bales in barns and less than 150 handled.. (This mainly due to too much right foot on forklift when loading)
    we use a bale baron..
    My machine has packed around 24000 and other than a new micro switch (which it comes with spare in the tool box) not a prob.
    old mans one done the rest but had needle bent on two diff occasions..
    needles are very long compared with a big baler and move about a bit when tieing.
    Have to say service from bale barons was impeccable as usual..
    broke down at around 3pm...Mechanic picked bits up and came to us from pull borough West Sussex. (Good 2 hour drive with collecting parts) and it was going again before 7 to bale another 1000 bales that night.

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    Senior Member daven's Avatar
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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Vern View Post
    if your customer is mre horsey who wants 20 bales at a time and doesnt have a shed big enough to get a big bale it has to be small bales .. in answer to the OP question, if i was personally making a lot of small bay hay and straw i would have a bale bandit or bale baron. was looking at them (out of interest) at LAMMA- dealer was a bloke in in the south east, sussex maybe.. had a lot of hay in packs.. had an option to buy a lorry load and (stupidly ) at the time didnt do it.. turn out to be wrong.. as month half later every man and his dog where after hay of any kind in our biy of somerset..
    We were the same, but a couple of round bales and we broke away from the idiot cubes real quick...... Folks are different tho... Maybe they worry about someone sneaking hay from a big bale???
    Be your self and speak your mind. Them that matter won't mind and the others don't matter

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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    When i worked for a guy that made hay for sale, we baled in flat tens stacked them 12 high (120) bales then i went in with the Timmick transtacker , like a 48 squeezer only bigger hauld them back to where ever and either made stack outside for sheeting or stacked them in barn with it, unless stack fell over we never handled a bale.
    Doddle
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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    I just bale mini hesstons at 5' customers now prefer them to small bales, just back the pickup to the stable door slide off straight into stable job done.

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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    lots of us struggle with this question...i guess that's what makes them valuable (difficulty).... every year i'll vow to square bale then, faced with a field of fit hay, i'll panic and get the round baler out ......I think rebaling is the answer....and there's an opportunity for someone to design/build a portable machine to do so and travel the country much like the threshers did

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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    Quote Originally Posted by nick channer View Post
    Finished last of our small bay hay last week.just under 40000 bales in barns and less than 150 handled.. (This mainly due to too much right foot on forklift when loading) we use a bale baron.. My machine has packed around 24000 and other than a new micro switch (which it comes with spare in the tool box) not a prob.old mans one done the rest but had needle bent on two diff occasions..needles are very long compared with a big baler and move about a bit when tieing.Have to say service from bale barons was impeccable as usual..broke down at around 3pm...Mechanic picked bits up and came to us from pull borough West Sussex. (Good 2 hour drive with collecting parts) and it was going again before 7 to bale another 1000 bales that night.
    that be the chap i was yapping to at LAMMA
    Big Vern..... Stay low Move faster

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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Vern View Post
    that be the chap i was yapping to at LAMMA
    Nick scrace from bale baron I guess. Or his brother...

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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    For a low cost equivalent of a bale baron system I have a supply of 3' x 6' pallets.

    Hand loaded straight on to the pallet in the field in 20's and then fastened with Heavy Duty Polypropylene Hand Strapping.

    Keeps the bottom bales off the floor and only involves one hand bale movement.

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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    What about one of those krone multi pack balers?? Don't they put four 2' bales into a 8'x4'??
    are the small bales the same size as a conventional bale?

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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    Quote Originally Posted by farmboymark View Post
    What about one of those krone multi pack balers?? Don't they put four 2' bales into a 8'x4'??
    are the small bales the same size as a conventional bale?

    I thought they were a good idea. Two problems though - its way over a hundre K baler and the segments are still too large for being handy. I was talking to them at LAMMA and they suggest you can move them with a sack barrow - but lots of the jobs where conv bales go are not really sack barrow situations

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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Vern View Post
    if your customer is mre horsey who wants 20 bales at a time and doesnt have a shed big enough to get a big bale it has to be small bales .. in answer to the OP question, if i was personally making a lot of small bay hay and straw i would have a bale bandit or bale baron. was looking at them (out of interest) at LAMMA- dealer was a bloke in in the south east, sussex maybe.. had a lot of hay in packs.. had an option to buy a lorry load and (stupidly ) at the time didnt do it.. turn out to be wrong.. as month half later every man and his dog where after hay of any kind in our biy of somerset..

    You can say that vern, but to justify a 40+K bale sledge, you have to be using it a lot (like Mr Channer), or else for most poeple, even doing 15- 20,000 little bales like we do, the figures just arnt going to stack up.
    Its bad enough having a combine sitting in the shed idle for 48 weeks/year - but you sort of NEED one of them.

    We just use flat 8 sledgfe, grab on a telly (much better than tractor loader) sometimes a trailed 56 bale transporter thingy and a number of old 40 ft trailers. Building is 60 ft wide so can stack by far the most of them in the building with the flat eight. Biggest shame of the 56 squeezy thing, is when you pick them up, move them to the building, then put them down again, they sort of spread quite a bit, which makes re picking them up with the flat 8 awkward

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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    Quote Originally Posted by farmboymark View Post
    What about one of those krone multi pack balers?? Don't they put four 2' bales into a 8'x4'??
    are the small bales the same size as a conventional bale?
    Tried one a few years ago on straw, one wedge was like lead the next feathers and they were still quite large for the average horsey girl

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    Senior Member Clive Tee's Avatar
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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Courier View Post
    For a low cost equivalent of a bale baron system I have a supply of 3' x 6' pallets.

    Hand loaded straight on to the pallet in the field in 20's and then fastened with Heavy Duty Polypropylene Hand Strapping.

    Keeps the bottom bales off the floor and only involves one hand bale movement.
    That's the way to do it.
    Clive Tee

  24. #24

    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clive Tee View Post
    We made small bales one year only and got a contractor in with a Bale Bandit. Banded together in 21's and I cleared the field of something like 2,500 x 32kg bales and stored 1/2 mile away in a barn very quickly, in a day by myself from memory.

    Only problem was, the Bale Bandit broke down every hour or so and it took them 3 days to bale one field !!!! Think the contractor got rid, but maybe they've sorted the problems out now?

    Here's a pic of them baling our field...

    I well remember Adrian baling wheat straw opposite us with that outfit, I think he could have screamed at it

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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    Uhhhh that Bale baron makes me feel, well, erm... 59,000 for a machine that is the same size as a Hesston baler, acts like a Hesston baler, and about the same price as a NH BB... whatever big square baler new. The use it instead of a sledge idea looks good on the flat ground, but I reckon slight slopes will cause problems. The best model I can see is the one that picks them off the field, but you would have to be making some hellish large amounts of bales a year to justify one, but with labour scarce, and manually handling thousands of small bales not being an attractive job, then maybe it is a solution, albeit it seems somehow wasteful to me to have two balers do the job of one. Our neighbour does a few thousand a year to sell, and I am now thinking with all of the time he takes alone on the job, never mind the hired in help, is it worth the huge effort just to supply a few customers, even if you sell them all? Seems to me you are breaking your back to get them in, then doing it from autumn onwards selling them

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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    Quote Originally Posted by brynseiri View Post
    Uhhhh that Bale baron makes me feel, well, erm... 59,000 for a machine that is the same size as a Hesston baler, acts like a Hesston baler, and about the same price as a NH BB... whatever big square baler new. The use it instead of a sledge idea looks good on the flat ground, but I reckon slight slopes will cause problems. The best model I can see is the one that picks them off the field, but you would have to be making some hellish large amounts of bales a year to justify one, but with labour scarce, and manually handling thousands of small bales not being an attractive job, then maybe it is a solution, albeit it seems somehow wasteful to me to have two balers do the job of one. Our neighbour does a few thousand a year to sell, and I am now thinking with all of the time he takes alone on the job, never mind the hired in help, is it worth the huge effort just to supply a few customers, even if you sell them all? Seems to me you are breaking your back to get them in, then doing it from autumn onwards selling them
    There's this guy in Canada who has converted a big square baler to pack small bales:

    http://tiehog.com/

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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    What it needs is a gadget that grabs square bales cuts the strings makes a gap and then make say four bales out of it

  28. #28

    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    Quote Originally Posted by brynseiri View Post
    Uhhhh that Bale baron makes me feel, well, erm... 59,000 for a machine that is the same size as a Hesston baler, acts like a Hesston baler, and about the same price as a NH BB... whatever big square baler new. The use it instead of a sledge idea looks good on the flat ground, but I reckon slight slopes will cause problems. The best model I can see is the one that picks them off the field, but you would have to be making some hellish large amounts of bales a year to justify one, but with labour scarce, and manually handling thousands of small bales not being an attractive job, then maybe it is a solution, albeit it seems somehow wasteful to me to have two balers do the job of one. Our neighbour does a few thousand a year to sell, and I am now thinking with all of the time he takes alone on the job, never mind the hired in help, is it worth the huge effort just to supply a few customers, even if you sell them all? Seems to me you are breaking your back to get them in, then doing it from autumn onwards selling them
    We have some serious hills here.. They weren't grassed down 50 yrs ago for no reason!!!!
    Bale baron works ok if you can go straight up and down and take a big wide turn at the headland. It's no use trying to turn sharply on a hill.. You will end up in a mangled mess.
    also when bale hits the turn table if your on side hill and its trying to throw it up hill doesn't always go to plan.
    having said that there is a good mod available where you can bolt or rivet plates to turn table which we haven't done yet although we have them in box to put on...

    I had a guy come from kent back in the autumn to look at some blocks grass for sheep grazing..
    we were driving round in the land cruiser and when he saw the hill we were about to go up he wasn't happy..
    you sure we can get up there he said..
    he couldn't believe his ears when I told him we drag baler and baron up and down...

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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?


    Originally Posted by Courier
    For a low cost equivalent of a bale baron system I have a supply of 3' x 6' pallets.

    Hand loaded straight on to the pallet in the field in 20's and then fastened with Heavy Duty Polypropylene Hand Strapping.

    Keeps the bottom bales off the floor and only involves one hand bale movement.




    QUOTE=Clive Tee;182249]That's the way to do it.[/QUOTE]

    Still a lot of handling. But 3' x 6' is half a flat 8.... Where are the engineers?

    Two pallets side by side and use a flat 8 grab? Better still if you have an accumulator that will put some sideways to bind the bundle.

    How many straps do you use and where do you put them?

    Nice idea though, if you can get top money for them. Though the horsey girls would still grumble. One was asking for half sized bales the other day because conventionals are too heavy! They'd be fun to stack!

  30. #30
    Senior Member WoodenHead's Avatar
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    Re: The pain of small bales - any answers?

    Thanks everybody - there's a good selection of answers here and some bear out investigation.

    I think the problems we have could be reduced if we had better sheds. They are odd shaped, old and not really suitable for easy machine stacking. It's difficult to justify the money to refurb them let alone replace them but we've three and maybe could do one every other year.

    This year will be interesting because at present everyone has more hay than they know what to do with and already it's beginning to be dog eat dog with the less scrupulous visiting regular customers touting for business or placing ads in the parish mag etc. In these circumstances we must look after our regulars by giving them what they want and maybe leave the weaning off of small bales until it gets on short supply.

    By the way, we have a Loadhandler conveyor type unloader which simply straps onto the Hilux (and lives there). We can then deliver 20-25 bales if not more and just wind them off into the stable or yard. You can do a couple of Hestons too this way for an outlay of 110 and also use it for logs.
    This thread has taught me to think more

    Edit: ps - it's blooming good hay!
    Last edited by WoodenHead; 24-07-13 at 10:31 AM.

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