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Thread: Changing from poly to sisal.

  1. #1
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    Changing from poly to sisal.

    I know that some of the older balers won't run poly twine. But does anyone run sisal twine out of choice in something that can run either, or has changed from poly to sisal for whatever reason?

    I'd prefer to run sisal and am happy to absorb the small amount of extra cost per bale, but don't want hassle with misties or knots not holding.

    Any experience?

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    Re: Changing from poly to sisal.

    I used to run IH balers for contracting as well as at home. Up to the early B47s they would only run sisal but when poly became more popular because of the price differential they modified the knotter slightly with a spring loaded keeper blade on the retainer. Then you could use either poly or sisal and no need for adjustments. You had to have the retainers correctly shimmed, the needles laying the twine over the retainer correctly but when everything was in order it all worked well.

    Quite a few of my customers would ask me to use sisal for hay but said I could use poly for straw and so to prevent a lot of hassle and having to keep changing it over that's what I used to do. 56 packs of sisal (at 8,000ft per pack) was 1 ton in weight if I remember correctly. Used to get about 800 bales from a pack of sisal and 1,000 from a pack of poly (10,000ft ???) Always bought a ton of sisal before the season started but most years ended up buying a bit more. I always bought Red Star if I could, it was good string, Bluebell had loose ends sometimes

    If either of the balers was missing more than 4 bales in 1,000 it was time to take the 5/8" AF spanner, undo the erring knotter carrier, and swing it up so you could investigate the problem. I always told people that the sledges gave more problems than the balers ever did.

    Best day baling was in 1968 behind 2 14ft Landlords and a Fisher Humphries that was on demo. 80 acre field of tallish W.Barley that fed like a dream. Bone dry and my balers were always put away properly so nice and shiny. Had opened it up the night before and got going early the next day and baled 6,200 bales that day with a B47. Nothing went wrong all day, ate food and drink on the move, and the combine drivers had turned at the end and gone back on their previous run (no tramlines in those days) and so no pikes. Got quite boring after a while but I had a few misses obviously. Usually because I had made a poor job of joining 2 spools together. Never got anywhere near that figure ever again though. 3,000 was a good day normally. Happy days.

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    Re: Changing from poly to sisal.

    Well I've only recently got the baler and wanted to get it running reliably on poly first (which I now have) but I'd prefer to use sisal for environmental reasons.

    I realise the majority of experience will be trying to change the other way (sisal to poly) so it looks like it's going to be a matter of buying a pack of sisal and see what happens!

    Haven't been worried about speed yet and so far this year haven't had to! Still about a thousand or so to make weather permitting so might just get a bit of a lick on next time and see how it goes for the hell of it.

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    Re: Changing from poly to sisal.

    You will find that sisal is easier on your hands than poly, especially if you're not used to handling many bales. I think rodents like it a bit more than poly so put plenty of food down for them. What baler do you have ?

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    Re: Changing from poly to sisal.

    Don't be mislead by my use of the "e" word, I've been handling bales since I was too wee to do anything other than roll them, just never run my own baler before.

    I suppose back in the day, the idea of plastic twine wasn't significant as we weren't being consumed by the stuff elsewhere to the degree which we are now. I just think it's common sense to substitute something plastic with something fully biodegradeable if and when it's practical to do so.

    We shouldn't have to be told!

    *edit* - sorry, 128 Massey Ferguson, built in France!!!!!
    Last edited by wrsni; 16-07-18 at 04:39 PM.

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    Re: Changing from poly to sisal.

    Quote Originally Posted by wrsni View Post
    Don't be mislead by my use of the "e" word, I've been handling bales since I was too wee to do anything other than roll them, just never run my own baler before.

    I suppose back in the day, the idea of plastic twine wasn't significant as we weren't being consumed by the stuff elsewhere to the degree which we are now. I just think it's common sense to substitute something plastic with something fully biodegradeable if and when it's practical to do so.

    We shouldn't have to be told!
    Interesting this topic came up just now.
    I have recently returned from a short stay in a gite on a farm in Normandy, France.
    There is a substantial amount of flax grown in that area and substantial factory there for linen production. My bedroom had the most fabulous linen curtains. It got me to thinking about sustainability and plastic pollution, and a future for our agriculture.
    There used to be a flax mill near Howden in Yorkshire and rope making building at Barton on Humber, one quarter of a mile long, from the days of sail from Hull and Humber ports.

    I suppose it would be too much to ask Mr Gove with his environmental hat on to reform Brish Agriculture.
    Not that I want to go back driving a Ford Major towing an Albion binder!
    jack Caley

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    Re: Changing from poly to sisal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack_Caley View Post
    I suppose it would be too much to ask Mr Gove with his environmental hat on to reform Brish Agriculture.
    To be fair, I wouldn't fancy his job.

    Our land is hooked on chemicals, and our farmers on subsidies.

    Given time the land can and will recover, but the farmers???????

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    Re: Changing from poly to sisal.

    Very little experience with Massey balers. I used a 10 or a 15 I think it was when I worked on a farm but when I started up on my own I needed to buy a mower and a baler. 45 for a s/h IH B23 cutterbar mower and 45 for a s/h Massey 701. For 90 I was in the haymaking business (had to borrow the Wuffler and Acrobat from a friend ) Mowing was 25/- (shillings) an acre (1.25p) and baling was 8d (8 old pennies - 3.3p in new money) The 701 was the nodding donkey baler. It made good bales but it had to be fit or else it would clog up either in the elevator or in the cross auger. The knotters were on the side of the chamber and the needles were mounted on the near side of the chamber and stuck out quite a bit and you had to trip them and push them in when travelling or else you smacked gateposts/staunchions/old ladies on push bikes over. The knotters had a belt driven fan on them which was a very good idea but if the belt broke you might as well pack up and go and get a new one because you'd only do another 50 or so bales before she would play up.

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    Re: Changing from poly to sisal.

    Quote Originally Posted by wrsni View Post
    To be fair, I wouldn't fancy his job.

    Our land is hooked on chemicals, and our farmers on subsidies.

    Given time the land can and will recover, but the farmers???????
    Some will, some won't. Those that are prepared to change and able to weather the storm will survive.

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    Re: Changing from poly to sisal.

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    The knotters had a belt driven fan on them which was a very good idea
    Also fitted to the Massey inline balers nowadays, what's new eh!

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    Re: Changing from poly to sisal.

    Quote Originally Posted by wrsni View Post
    Also fitted to the Massey inline balers nowadays, what's new eh!
    Didn't know that. Thanks WRSNI. There was one problem with a fan on the knotters of a 701. Most of the sledges in those days were manned. And if you were the unfortunate chap riding one all the crap from the knotters was blown back straight to where you were standing !

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