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Thread: Small square baler.

  1. #1
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    Small square baler.

    Looking for something to bale 30 to 40 acres per year, own grass. Would ideally like to spend a grand if possible but will spend more if it's ultimately beneficial to do so.

    Most importantly, really want to try and get something that'll do me a while so reliability/durability/spares availability is a big factor.

    As ever buying s/h, you're limited to what you fall in with so best not to get too focused on a particular thing. Therefore, advice on what to definitely avoid will be just as important as what to buy.

    ALL advice gratefully received.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member T P's Avatar
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    Re: Small square baler.

    My father and myself have been looking for a decent secondhand small square baler for over a year and have driven up to fifty miles to look at__ all varieties of scrap. We have one of our own that is still functional but near the end of it's life _so we can afford to be fussy. We want a better one than we have, no point in parting money and just getting one that's equally worn out. You will need to at least double your budget to get into anything decent from a dealer for the acreage you talk of. A baler is one of the most critical machines in farming if the rain is coming and acres ready to bale. You need to have an aptitude and experience of working with one to keep an older one running. You don't just pay the money and pull it out of the shed or nettles when you need to go.There is some maintenance required like inspection of bearings, pick up cam, sharpening twine knives etc. If you find a really tidy one don't go home to think about because it won't be there long _really good ones don't often come up for sale and there have been very few new ones sold in the last two decades relatively speaking since the advent of the round and big square type. Make sure you can get parts for whatever you buy locally as some brands have little in the way of backup these days especially where the maker went bust.Consider something from MF ,New Holland,JD or Welger.Probably best to steer clear of Jones, bamford and to a lesser extent IH.My father and then myself has contracted baling for decades with IH but anything other than consumables is now a problem for IH,I had to get an engineer to make parts for ours last year as they were still listed on the website at a reasonable price but there was no stock anywhere in the world even the USA which is usually very good for IH baler spares. You can fill the yard with old worn out balers sub 1K but you can't rely on them. If you don't know balers take someone to look them over that does as some of the bigger ex large arable farm machines look tidy but are hanging together mechanically especially New Hollands. I see you are from NI, Douglas Hamilton usually has a few decent balers but they start at about 5k on up.If he has a good one he wants good money. A baler you can see working even if it's only rebaling a few bales in the yard is always a better bet that one at a machinery auction etc. The skills to fix knotter problems in particular on older machines is dying off with the old men who used to work at them. The workshop and knotter manuals for some popular models can be picked up off ebay. Having listed a load of negatives if you get a good baler and look after it for your own use it could last a lifetime.

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    Re: Small square baler.

    There's a few decent looking IH's about at right handy money, now I know why!

    I'm pretty handy and can usually pick up most things. Everything I buy usually ends up in better shape within a few months than when I buy it as I'm a bit nerdy about setting, clearances, etc, and tend not to be happy with something until it's set and running as it was meant. That having been said Id rather my efforts were geared towards keeping something good, good, as opposed to fighting a battle keeping an old dog of a thing vaguely serviceable.

    So, I'll not be buying anything until I'm reasonably certain it has a bit of a future, whatever budget it takes to achieve that so be it.

    Very sound advice and much appreciated.

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    Senior Member davidroberts30's Avatar
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    Re: Small square baler.

    if i was relying on something to make 40 acres of hay i think i would go welger, mf or jd
    think of the baler as an investment and buy the best you can cause by god you'll regret it otherwise
    40000 bales is a lot of work!! and a decent baler will last you 30 years well cared for

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    Re: Small square baler.

    Quote Originally Posted by wrsni View Post
    Looking for something to bale 30 to 40 acres per year, own grass. Would ideally like to spend a grand if possible but will spend more if it's ultimately beneficial to do so.

    Most importantly, really want to try and get something that'll do me a while so reliability/durability/spares availability is a big factor.

    As ever buying s/h, you're limited to what you fall in with so best not to get too focused on a particular thing. Therefore, advice on what to definitely avoid will be just as important as what to buy.

    ALL advice gratefully received.

    Thanks.
    Get a round baler man in or big square bales unless you have a few strong willing teenage sons!

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    Re: Small square baler.

    My two pennorth but I have written it all before. Firstly, apart from an MF701 (in 1967/8) I have been totally IH. I was contracting and farming and once had a B47 that had done 180,000 bales when I sold it. At that stage they go bell mouthed and since the B47 didn't make the best bale if you were pushing it then when they have done that much they never will again. The 440 was a decent baler, by that time I was running two of them. You got to know the knotters and knew what to do when they played up. If I was missng much more than 2 in a 1000 then it was time to swing the knotters up and have a look what was going wrong. The 445 was a good baler, and the 445D had the Deering knotter. Whatever you do don't buy the Vicon replacement. They were crap.

    BUT. I think you probably should look at a Welger nowadays. I used one for a season and was impressed. Well built and reliable. I only know the older Masseys so can't comment on the later ones. I have never touched a Claas but ran their combines and they were reliable enough. I would agree about ignoring Bamford and Jones, if only because I guess spares will be difficult. I know nothing about JD.

    If you find an IH that you think you like the look of then post the photos. and I will give my opinion. You can tell a lot by looking from a distance as well as getting stuck in. Don't consider anything pre-B47, that will be too slow. And IH produced some good operator and service manuals.

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    Re: Small square baler.

    im currently using a BAMFORD BX9 very impressed shaft drive so no chains breaking !!. there is a JONES equivant just as good. a lot cheaper to buy and run than a welger. If your selling the bales a welger is better to put on a lorry more weight in the bales . but normal use the BAMFORD is really good plenty of spares and its BRITISH!!!

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    Re: Small square baler.

    Know a lad who got a NH 935 today at 1700 near Holywood. I thought that sounded good value. He seen it baling before buying and is home a happy chappy! He was going to take it straight to the field and give her a blast.

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    Re: Small square baler.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulscots View Post
    Know a lad who got a NH 935 today at 1700 near Holywood. I thought that sounded good value. He seen it baling before buying and is home a happy chappy! He was going to take it straight to the field and give her a blast.
    I suppose that sort of highlights my concern. If you see a baler, it looks sound, you see it working and it's churning out good solid square uniform bales does that automatically mean it's a good baler?

    Can there be hidden ills?

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    Re: Small square baler.

    Can there be hidden ills?[/QUOTE]

    There always is the potential for hidden ills in a complex piece of secondhand machinery but if you worried too much about it no-one would ever buy anything secondhand. My view is that if you buy a tidy machine and there's a problem, you fix it and you still have a tidy machine that's just a bit dearer than you thought. If you buy a rough machine and there's a problem if you fix it you still have a rough machine and it'll be a lot dearer than you'd hoped or else you park it in the nettles. Regarding problems that can occur the old proverb that you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear applies. With a baler there are some things that you can check before purchasing and some you can't. With most models you should be able to check that the rollers on the pick up cam are in good nick and turning and avoid needing to rebuild the cam which is a common secondhand baler snag. You can see if the chains have seen any lubrication or whether they have been run dry through neglect etc. Probably the biggest thing you can't check is the condition of the gearbox internals but if you hear it running and it sounds ok I wouldn't worry. Balers (especially IH) can wear or break the teeth out of the crownwheel at the point where the ram is pushing hardest but it's not that common and not really worth worrying about. If a machine is tidy with fresh paintwork and you can see signs of grease being applied and the oil level bung has been out of gearbox at some point that's an indication of some sort of care and attention. If the level bung hasn't seen a spanner and the gateways have been widened with the pick up guard you can draw your own conclusions.

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    Re: Small square baler.

    Quote Originally Posted by T P View Post
    Probably the biggest thing you can't check is the condition of the gearbox internals but if you hear it running and it sounds ok I wouldn't worry. Balers (especially IH) can wear or break the teeth out of the crownwheel at the point where the ram is pushing hardest but it's not that common and not really worth worrying about.
    All balers can do that. They wear at the change of direction of travel of the ram and you can check it by getting the ram at the extremes of it's stroke and check for backlash by moving the flywheel. It will be worse when the ram is on the compression stroke, i.e. when it is packing material into the chamber. The secret is to have the gearbox apart and move the pinion/crownwheel interface round a bit, say 90 degrees. I always did mine when a baler was getting towards the 100,000 mark.

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    Re: Small square baler.

    Quote Originally Posted by T P View Post
    My view is that if you buy a tidy machine and there's a problem, you fix it and you still have a tidy machine that's just a bit dearer than you thought.
    It's a sound theory. I've never really been able to afford new machinery, although I've just ordered a new 360 haybob!, so am well used to the perils of buying used. I bought two pieces of s/h equipment in England last year, a Kubota compact tractor and a Major roller mower. Both were good straight looking yokes and both were supposed to be in full working order, the mower was on ebay, the tractor direct from a dealer.

    When I got the tractor (about February time) it was pissing oil from the front axle and the clutch was permanently engaged (clutch actuating mechanism banjaxed), when I got the mower (June I think) it was leaking oil from one of the gearboxes (output shaft bent). Ended up fixing both things myself, in the case of the tractor the supplying dealer after much negotiating agreed to foot the bill for the parts, in the case of the mower I got squat and had to stand the cost of a new gearbox. But at least both things were worth fixing and I did eventually end up with two decent bits of kit which will hopefully be working away here for many years.

    I suppose my problem with a baler is lack of familiarity both in the job of working at them and the cost of parts. Despite being reared around them it was always contracted in and I've never as much as had a spanner on a baler my whole life although I see no reason why I shouldn't be capable of keeping one right once purchased. The big concern is buying an essentially decent looking baler but it containing some major hidden flaw that will essentially render it useless. By the replies so far that doesn't seem like it should be a concern, a sensible degree of work to get it right after purchase, if necessary, along with ongoing maintenance during ownership doesn't bother me.

    Many thanks for all replies so far, very helpful.

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    Re: Small square baler.

    Quote Originally Posted by wrsni View Post
    It's a sound theory. I've never really been able to afford new machinery, although I've just ordered a new 360 haybob!, so am well used to the perils of buying used. I bought two pieces of s/h equipment in England last year, a Kubota compact tractor and a Major roller mower. Both were good straight looking yokes and both were supposed to be in full working order, the mower was on ebay, the tractor direct from a dealer.

    When I got the tractor (about February time) it was pissing oil from the front axle and the clutch was permanently engaged (clutch actuating mechanism banjaxed), when I got the mower (June I think) it was leaking oil from one of the gearboxes (output shaft bent). Ended up fixing both things myself, in the case of the tractor the supplying dealer after much negotiating agreed to foot the bill for the parts, in the case of the mower I got squat and had to stand the cost of a new gearbox. But at least both things were worth fixing and I did eventually end up with two decent bits of kit which will hopefully be working away here for many years.

    I suppose my problem with a baler is lack of familiarity both in the job of working at them and the cost of parts. Despite being reared around them it was always contracted in and I've never as much as had a spanner on a baler my whole life although I see no reason why I shouldn't be capable of keeping one right once purchased. The big concern is buying an essentially decent looking baler but it containing some major hidden flaw that will essentially render it useless. By the replies so far that doesn't seem like it should be a concern, a sensible degree of work to get it right after purchase, if necessary, along with ongoing maintenance during ownership doesn't bother me.

    Many thanks for all replies so far, very helpful.
    Like you , I have only bought second hand tackle and the truth is that some you win and some you don't. I would say that the chances of picking up a baler at a grand that will go straight to work and not stop is slim . The best chance is that a dealer gets a local baler in against something else and knows that the guy who had it kept it right and will give you a go with it first.
    I see J Swinbank has a JD on at the money you are talking but it will most likely need a good look over , you nearly always find one major fault with a machine when you first get it and that is generally why it was sold. In the case of a conventional baler though it may just have sat in a shed for ten years til the owners got sick of the sight of it.

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    Re: Small square baler.

    One of the major considerations must be availabilty of spares. Nothing worse than having hay fit to bale, the needles go and say hello to the knotters when they aren't supposed to, a dodgy forecast, and not being able to get some more PDQ. My Wife always said that haymaking time was grounds for divorce.

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    Re: Small square baler.

    You used a capital "W" for wife, Freudian slip?

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    Re: Small square baler.

    Quote Originally Posted by wrsni View Post
    You used a capital "W" for wife, Freudian slip?
    No, I was taught to use upper case for close relatives. The same for Headmaster, Major-General, et al. They are known as proper nouns as opposed to common nouns. This explains the correct form : http://dictionary.reference.com/help...guage/g71.html

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    Re: Small square baler.

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    No, I was taught to use upper case for close relatives. The same for Headmaster, Major-General, et al. They are known as proper nouns as opposed to common nouns. This explains the correct form : http://dictionary.reference.com/help...guage/g71.html
    So you're more of a common noun than a proper noun then zaza?

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    Re: Small square baler.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulscots View Post
    So you're more of a common noun than a proper noun then zaza?
    "zaza" is of course my nom de plume and as such I reserve the right to use lower case initial letters in order that I may seek to attain a position as inconspicuous as possible. I chose the name, and the lower case, so that it takes the least amount of effort to log in to this web site. Just the index and middle finger of my left hand are used, because both letters reside close to the left hand side of a qwerty keyboard. So, ipso facto, I am able to type my nom de plume with my left hand, immediately followed by my password with my right hand, and then either use my right hand, or any other appendage that happens to be lazing around looking for something to do, to hit the return key.

    Q.E.D.

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    Re: Small square baler.

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    "zaza" is of course my nom de plume and as such I reserve the right to use lower case initial letters in order that I may seek to attain a position as inconspicuous as possible. I chose the name, and the lower case, so that it takes the least amount of effort to log in to this web site. Just the index and middle finger of my left hand are used, because both letters reside close to the left hand side of a qwerty keyboard. So, ipso facto, I am able to type my nom de plume with my left hand, immediately followed by my password with my right hand, and then either use my right hand, or any other appendage that happens to be lazing around looking for something to do, to hit the return key.

    Q.E.D.
    Well done zaza! Your efficiency deserves as many gold stars as is warranted, plus some Brownie points as an incentive bonus.

    JV

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    Re: Small square baler.

    Quote Originally Posted by john maddock View Post
    Well done zaza! Your efficiency deserves as many gold stars as is warranted, plus some Brownie points as an incentive bonus.

    JV
    Well, thank you JV. That is indeed a compliment and I know that Mrs. zaza also reads this Forum and so maybe she will now authorise the release of the chocolate biscuits that she has squirelled away somewhere. Thank you.

    But I rather fear that we have drifted away from the original subject and while not wishing to become a prophet of doom I am concerned that the OP gets as much information and help as is possible with the choice of a small baler. It doesn't matter what breed they are, they can all play up at times and having spent decades with them, and actually earning good money with them most of the time, I am more than happy to give my two pennorth to him/her.

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    Re: Small square baler.

    zaza: "But I rather fear that we have drifted away from the original subject and while not wishing to become a prophet of doom I am concerned that the OP gets as much information and help as is possible with the choice of a small baler."

    I agree. I have been reluctant to add my experience coz someone would ask for pics & I don't have time to learn how to post them.

    I've run a B47 since 1970, (maybe 250k bales) and about the only places I haven't had to repair are the 2 gearboxes. The knotters have been the most taxing, but I've learned how to rebuild the critical parts so that they now work well. The cams on the pickup were also a challenge; welding a short length of M12 bar inside the curved slots on the end plates prevented the cams over centering.

    I'm not familiar with the term "bellmouth" but I presume it means the bale chamber immediately behind the plunger expands due to the pressure of forcing damp hay. If so, it has not been a problem on my machine. The hydraulic bale tensioner has never given trouble and is good value.

    In my opinion, a B47 is a satisfactory baler for a beginner, but the next model (440?) with different knotters (as I understand) could be a better buy.

    JV

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    Re: Small square baler.

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    But I rather fear that we have drifted away from the original subject and while not wishing to become a prophet of doom I am concerned that the OP gets as much information and help as is possible with the choice of a small baler.
    Worry not, the thread is doing an excellent job for me irrespective of it's minor detour.

    Besides, I kinda started it with the Freudian slip analogy anyway.

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    Re: Small square baler.

    Quote Originally Posted by john maddock View Post
    zaza: "But I rather fear that we have drifted away from the original subject and while not wishing to become a prophet of doom I am concerned that the OP gets as much information and help as is possible with the choice of a small baler."

    I agree. I have been reluctant to add my experience coz someone would ask for pics & I don't have time to learn how to post them.

    I've run a B47 since 1970, (maybe 250k bales) and about the only places I haven't had to repair are the 2 gearboxes. The knotters have been the most taxing, but I've learned how to rebuild the critical parts so that they now work well. The cams on the pickup were also a challenge; welding a short length of M12 bar inside the curved slots on the end plates prevented the cams over centering.

    I'm not familiar with the term "bellmouth" but I presume it means the bale chamber immediately behind the plunger expands due to the pressure of forcing damp hay. If so, it has not been a problem on my machine. The hydraulic bale tensioner has never given trouble and is good value.

    In my opinion, a B47 is a satisfactory baler for a beginner, but the next model (440?) with different knotters (as I understand) could be a better buy.

    JV
    Yes JV, that is what is meant by the term bellmouth. It was a term that I first heard from a mechanic who actually worked for IH directly, roaming the dealers to sort out baler problems that the dealer's own people couldn't fix. And as I have previously mentioned, I always turned the main gearbox crownwheel if I had got to about 100,000 if I knew I was going to keep the baler.

    One major improvement on 440 knotters over the 47's was the moving knife instead of the fixed knife. If that fixed knife isn't shimmed up absolutely spot on the twine isn't cut right through and that will cause problems.

    The early 47s wouldn't handle poly twine and so IH introduced an addition to the retainers and they could be retro-fitted. Most of my customers wanted sisal twine for hay anyway because it was kinder on the hands but it was when baling straw, when we would use poly, that the modification was required. It also made a large difference if you were pushing really hard. It was not unknown for me to have to go to 5 customers during the course of a day and if the weather was crap, and it was getting late in the season with the resultant heavy crops you had to push hard. This was where the 47 fell down a bit. They wouldn't make a brilliant bale if you were really crashing on. I always made sure that the hay knives in the chamber were sharp and that the ram knife was up tight against the stationery knife. That helped to make a better bale as well as allowing a bit more speed.

    I have just looked up some of my old records and in the B47 days I was on about 8d per bale. That's just over 3p in new money. If I could squeeze 40,000 bales per baler out in a season that was 1333. Not all profit I know but when you consider that the baler was about 800-1,000 to buy it was a decent investment. I wonder how the modern baler figures stack up ?

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    Re: Small square baler.

    I forgot to mention that I used to buy sisal twine by the pallet. 56 packs on a pallet and if memory serves me correctly there was 6,000 ft in a pack of sisal, 8,000 ft in a pack of haytwine, and 12,000 ft in a pack of poly. I seem to remember we could get about 600 bales out of a pack of sisal and about 800 out of a pack of haytwine. I haven't mentioned Haytwine before. I think it was a Red Star product and it was nearly as soft as sisal and much kinder on the hands than poly. I seem to remember that the twin pack of sisal worked out at about 8.

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    Re: Small square baler.

    "If that fixed knife isn't shimmed up absolutely spot on the twine isn't cut right through and that will cause problems."

    Not wrong on that point zaza!

    ON tother hand, I think its a little more complicated than that; my experience is that if the twine (I've only used poly) is not held correctly in the twine discs coz of wear in the latter, allowing it to slip, the twine knife sharpness & position was critical. With the discs reworked, it was much less so.

    JV

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    Re: Small square baler.

    On the IH 440 knotter front, anyone know where to get one?

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    Re: Small square baler.

    Quote Originally Posted by john maddock View Post
    ON tother hand, I think its a little more complicated than that; my experience is that if the twine (I've only used poly) is not held correctly in the twine discs coz of wear in the latter, allowing it to slip, the twine knife sharpness & position was critical. With the discs reworked, it was much less so.

    JV
    You are right JV, it's a situation where if all things are more or less right everything comes together (fingers crossed icon required here ). I always found that by playing with the shims on the retainers fixed any problems in that area.

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    Re: Small square baler.

    Quote Originally Posted by braveheart View Post
    On the IH 440 knotter front, anyone know where to get one?
    May I ask why you think you need a new knotter BH ? This is your parts store : http://partstore.caseih.com/us/parts...49672ar1294013

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    Re: Small square baler.

    Long story but, friction bush on star wheel that trips knotters disintegrated, started tying every pump of the ram, unbolted knotters and swung up to get rid of all string knots debris etc., swung down and forgot to bolt one down again before starting.
    So guess what, when I started up again one knotter spun round on the shaft again and smashed to bits!!!!!!!!
    Would rather get a salvage knotter but may have to be case.

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    Re: Small square baler.

    Quote Originally Posted by braveheart View Post
    Long story but, friction bush on star wheel that trips knotters disintegrated, started tying every pump of the ram, unbolted knotters and swung up to get rid of all string knots debris etc., swung down and forgot to bolt one down again before starting.
    So guess what, when I started up again one knotter spun round on the shaft again and smashed to bits!!!!!!!!
    Would rather get a salvage knotter but may have to be case.
    Oh crikey BH, that is terrible bad luck. Case will leg you up for a complete knotter. Any dealer is going to want an arm and a leg for a s/h baler. You're best bet I think is a scruffy one from eBay.

    Did the casting smash up ? If not you might get the parts reasonable. Good luck anyway. Set up a search on eBay but I guess you will want it soon.

    EDIT. Don't forget that the knotter from a 430 will be identical.

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