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Thread: Massey Ferguson baler in haylage?

  1. #1
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    Massey Ferguson baler in haylage?

    Wondering if anyone has tried one and how they got on?

    So the baler specifically is a 128 but given that all the 100 series and 200 series balers work pretty much identically, I could probably judge it's suitability reasonably well from any of them.

    Secondly, I wouldn't be making haylage out of choice, it would be more if the weather turned unexpectedly(!), or some situation developed such that I knew I wasn't going to get it made in to stable, saveable hay. At present we bring the round bale man in, but I'm considering buying a small bale wrapper and giving myself the option of small-baling and wrapping instead if the baler were up to it. So it would still be pretty dry stuff, maybe not just quite dry enough!

    All advice and experiences gratefully received as ever.

    Thank you.

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    Re: Massey Ferguson baler in haylage?

    I've never seen wrapped small bales here, but I imagine they would be a pain to handle - and use a lot of plastic for the volume of hay stored.

    Many, many moons ago, I experimented with a preservative, sodium propionate (could not buy the ammonium version). For simplicity, I sprayed it on the hay going up the pickup. Wrong place! It needs to be sprayed onto the underside of the swath, coz that's where it would be damper. Eventually figured out a system which sprayed onto the centre of the bale being made, thru a hole in side of the bale chamber, between the strokes of the plunger, the spray timed by the position of the plunger. I never did quite get around to building the system. That was when we would normally get one good drying season in five. With climate change, that ratio is (probably) reversed, so there is no point spending the time now, but you might give it some thought as an alternative.

    One significant negative: sodium propionate is highly corrosive; any shiny steel will begin to rust pronto, so I don't know long a baler would last!

    JV
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    Re: Massey Ferguson baler in haylage?

    The main thing is not to panic. There are a couple of ideas that you might care to consider but it all depends on the quantity of bales. If it's only a few hundred (and it will get expensive in plastic if it's in the thousands) then you can bale it when it's 70-80% fit and stack it (on a floor covered with pallets) in a certain way. We used to use milk churns and stand them vertically on the floor and them build the bales round them, bringing the churns up as you go, thereby making something resembling a chimney all the way to the top. In a standard Dutch barn bay we would use half a dozen churns. And if you do this you leave air channels leading from the outside of the stack to the churns.

    It's all about getting air into the stack. For that reason don't ever do this in an enclosed barn. If it's a Dutch barn with any sides sheeted then think about the job and put channels to where there is no sheeting. Making these "chimneys" also allows you to keep an eye on things with regard to the hay getting too hot. I've had to move a couple of stcks in my time becuase of overheating. And do not be under any mis-illusion, it the stuff gets too hot it will self ignite.

    The other way is barn drying. I have baled lucerne when really sappy and put the bales on a barn drying floor that was designed and built for the job. But of course you need the floor and a big fan. But the hay that we made out of lucerne was incredible stuff and the cows milked like crazy on it. But the bales were ridiculously heavy until dry and be aware that a conventional baler will moan and groan at you a bit if you try and bale anything that isn't fit.
    Last edited by zaza; 25-05-19 at 09:00 PM.

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    Re: Massey Ferguson baler in haylage?

    Small wrapped bales are a bugger to handle and the only time I helped someone with them we stacked them onto pallets to make moving them easier. Every single bale had to be hand balled from the wrapper to the pallet and there are no nice string handles to use. Never again.

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    Re: Massey Ferguson baler in haylage?

    Years ago I baled haylage with a MF 15 designed in the '60s. It was a short bale and dense. I only baled about 100 max at a time, slow but did not seem to cause a problem with steady care and sharp plunger knife.
    I built a press to squeeze the bales into a bag. This was followed by heat sealing bag.
    Total ball ache, difficult to handle, slow process and if the product was good then watch out for vermin damage. Also problem with bag over wrap was that gas forming could not escape unless through a gap in the heat sealing due to a stalk. 🙄
    A few years on Dad and I went to have a look at a small bale wrapper. First bale demo yanked the bale off the turntable due to the pull of the film.🤔 Walked smartly away!

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    Re: Massey Ferguson baler in haylage?

    Zaza wrote: And do not be under any mis-illusion, it the stuff gets too hot it will self ignite.

    No problem! Test the temperature with a crowbar by driving it into the stack. If it melts, run like hell

    JV
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    Re: Massey Ferguson baler in haylage?

    Quote Originally Posted by john maddock View Post
    Zaza wrote: And do not be under any mis-illusion, it the stuff gets too hot it will self ignite.

    No problem! Test the temperature with a crowbar by driving it into the stack. If it melts, run like hell

    JV
    You could buy purpose built temperature probes about 4ft long that you could push into the stack and get an almost instant readout. We just used lengths of re-bar sharpend and push in and hten pull them out and feel the heat (if there was any) in them and then put them back in a different place. You could also use electric fencing stakes if the step at the bottom had fallen off. Not as long but easier to push in.

    The weather has always ALWAYS been my worst enemy.

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    Re: Massey Ferguson baler in haylage?

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    You could buy purpose built temperature probes about 4ft long that you could push into the stack and get an almost instant readout. We just used lengths of re-bar sharpend and push in and hten pull them out and feel the heat (if there was any) in them and then put them back in a different place. You could also use electric fencing stakes if the step at the bottom had fallen off. Not as long but easier to push in.

    The weather has always ALWAYS been my worst enemy.
    Agree completely about your weather comment.

    JV
    Agtronix - the home of the Weedswiper

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    Re: Massey Ferguson baler in haylage?

    Thanks for all replies so far,....................even if it did become more about the intricacies of saving winter fodder in small bales rather than a massey baler coping with less than crispy dry grass! (specific thanks to 'essexpete') as that is also an ongoing quandry.

    I DO struggle with the idea of wrapping small squares for some of the reasons listed, most specifically the plastic use aspect. Against that, the idea of spending a day under a roof wrapping small squares, with the rain bouncing off said roof, safe in the knowledge that what you're handling would otherwise have been lying out in that rain, has a definite appeal also.

    We have pushed our luck a bit in the past by bring in hay in less than perfect condition and stacking it openly in cattle sheds and then opening doors appropriately to allow air flow through the stack and vent up through the slatted roof. It has worked OK so far but it's still a bit nerve wrecking and also labour intensive, but for someone like myself who worries about such things it is also undeniably environmentally friendly.

    One for Zaza, if you were forced in to baling the hay a wee bit too early did you make the bales a wee bit looser to allow air through them, tighter to keep air out, or just as normal?

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    Re: Massey Ferguson baler in haylage?

    Quote Originally Posted by wrsni View Post
    One for Zaza, if you were forced in to baling the hay a wee bit too early did you make the bales a wee bit looser to allow air through them, tighter to keep air out, or just as normal?
    That is always a difficult one. Yes, you are correct insofar as slacker bales allow the air into them a bit more but the problem with that is that after they have dried out they are not easy to handle because the strings are so much slacker and the bales tend to fall to pieces when handling them.

    I would rather bale them tight but only as far as they can be handled comfortably. If you get it right the end product can be amazing because if they are able to dry out they also cure and if it's decent grass to begin with any livestock will love it. It's a difficult subject to try and describe the best method because it all depends on how far off being fit the hay was when it was baled but we always used the milk churn method with plenty of air vents from the outside of the stack to the churns if the weather looked to be on the turn. The real secret is to know how to read the weather properly. If it isn't settled then don't mow it in the first place unless you have a proper barn drying setup.

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    Re: Massey Ferguson baler in haylage?

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    If it isn't settled then don't mow it in the first place unless you have a proper barn drying setup.
    I understand your point, but if I'd stuck stringently to that rule I'd have gotten no hay made in 2017 whatsoever!

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    Re: Massey Ferguson baler in haylage?

    Quote Originally Posted by wrsni View Post
    I understand your point, but if I'd stuck stringently to that rule I'd have gotten no hay made in 2017 whatsoever!
    We've all broken that rule and in my case many times. I used to run two balers and some of my customers would mow, or tell me to mow, almost regardless of the weather. For my own farming business I specialised in hay for the racehorse trade for about 20 years. 1st year ryegrass seed hay and if it wasn't cut by the 2nd week of June you could forget it for that market. And don't even think about trying to make the seeds do a 2nd year.

    Somehow they could tell and wouldn't be interested. But the price always made up for it but the two merchants that I dealt with who supplied nothing but that market imported containers full of lucerne from Canada where apparently they could make that into hay over there and I was always told that it was streets in front of what we could produce in this country protein and energy-wise for the nags.

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    Re: Massey Ferguson baler in haylage?

    I've never seen or heard of it being done but have often wondered how small bales ( plastic string obviously ) would fare stacked in small clamps of 80-100 sheeted and well weighted down as per a normal silo. Any neighbours that tried small bale silage only done it for a season or two due the the labour involved.

    ETC

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    Re: Massey Ferguson baler in haylage?

    Well apart from the fact that there would be no sensible reason to do it in the first place, there'd surely also be too much air trapped between the individual bales themselves rendering the entire thing in to a stinking mess.

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    Re: Massey Ferguson baler in haylage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barney View Post
    Small wrapped bales are a bugger to handle and the only time I helped someone with them we stacked them onto pallets to make moving them easier. Every single bale had to be hand balled from the wrapper to the pallet and there are no nice string handles to use. Never again.
    Clearly if the OP is thinking of making any quantity like this, some kind of loader mounted miniature bale squeezer would be essential.

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