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How to choose the right hay baler article

hay baler john deere new holland square round

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#1 JDBalerParts

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 07:49 PM

Found this article today from GRIT magazine.  Very interested in feedback from you guys (and gals) who have gone through this process and how you decided...

http://www.grit.com/...er-zm0z14jfzsmi

 



#2 Vol

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 07:40 AM

This is more of a "hobbyist" article and publication. The vast majority of folks on this site are producers that want a full sized small square or round baler to get the bales in the barn as soon as possible in order to beat the elements. For most, one of the main deciding factors in choosing  balers is what they can afford to spend at that particular time. Primarily the companies of Vermeer, John Deere, New Holland, and MF/Hesston are the choices.....there are others...especially in round balers. All four are good choices and one can get parts for them pretty quick. The later models have some advantages but some of the older models actually have a few also. Money is typically a huge factor in decision making.

 

Regards, Mike


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#3 hcriddle

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:22 AM

I am one of those hobbyists Mike talks about. I generally don't spend the kind of money on my hobbys of fishing and hunting that I have spent on this little fifty acre hay meadow. :)  I looked at all of the big deal name brands and found that in order to afford what they produce I had to buy something that was worn out and would require more time than I had to spend working on it instead of producing hay with it.

 

I chose Small Farm Innovations because they were close by and because the level of customer care that Phil and Sharon show is above and beyond. I chose the dealership instead of the equipment. The equipment they sell is designed for smaller places and for the price I would pay for good used equipment I was able to get new equipment with a warranty and a dealer to work on it. For me the criteria was dealership support first, then price, then color of equipment. Most of this stuff has been on the market for years in Europe and Japan but not a lot of folks in the US carry it. I have faded a lot of heat from all my uncles who retired from John Deere but when I looked at John Deere I found that those tractors weren't manufactured here either.

 

Maybe one day I can afford the big boy toys but I am hoping that when equipment has to be replaced, my kids or grand kids will be replacing it not me. I for sure am an America first guy but a lot of what America produces has been priced out of range for some of us small guys.


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#4 Vol

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 06:42 AM

I am one of those hobbyists Mike talks about. I generally don't spend the kind of money on my hobbys of fishing and hunting that I have spent on this little fifty acre hay meadow. :)  I looked at all of the big deal name brands and found that in order to afford what they produce I had to buy something that was worn out and would require more time than I had to spend working on it instead of producing hay with it.

 

I chose Small Farm Innovations because they were close by and because the level of customer care that Phil and Sharon show is above and beyond. I chose the dealership instead of the equipment. The equipment they sell is designed for smaller places and for the price I would pay for good used equipment I was able to get new equipment with a warranty and a dealer to work on it. For me the criteria was dealership support first, then price, then color of equipment. Most of this stuff has been on the market for years in Europe and Japan but not a lot of folks in the US carry it. I have faded a lot of heat from all my uncles who retired from John Deere but when I looked at John Deere I found that those tractors weren't manufactured here either.

 

Maybe one day I can afford the big boy toys but I am hoping that when equipment has to be replaced, my kids or grand kids will be replacing it not me. I for sure am an America first guy but a lot of what America produces has been priced out of range for some of us small guys.

 

 

Buddy, what size of bales do you make? A 50 acre hay meadow can produce a bunch of small round or square bales. 

 

Regards, Mike


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#5 hcriddle

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 08:48 AM

Buddy, what size of bales do you make? A 50 acre hay meadow can produce a bunch of small round or square bales. 

 

Regards, Mike

 

 

Mike I just got my T-85 sprigged last year. This will be my first season making hay. I am shooting for 50lb small squares. Please know that no offense was taken. I am one of those guys that tries to listen more than I talk because I learn more that way. So many of you guys have been such a huge blessing and I have learned a lot in the last few years on this forum.

 

I am hoping to get around 50 bales an acre in this first year. I got a really good establishment and have been very pleased with this grass so far. all a testament to what I have gleaned from all of you.

 

I just responded here because I know sometimes those of us with smaller budgets have to look at alternative means. I try not to be too jealous of all the heavy equipment you guys have. My goal is to have all my equipment paid for in the next five years so I can retire from law enforcement finally and spend my days doing what I love doing.


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#6 Vol

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 06:38 PM

That T85 is some good stuff Buddy.....and you are absolutely dead on about budgets directing our purchases. That is very true for all of us.....well almost all of us. Not too many guys on this site were born with silver spoons. There is not one thing wrong with starting out small and working forward. Matter of fact, that is the way of most on here....especially if we didn't inherit the land that we farm. 

 

I hope it works out for you quickly Buddy.....and I want you to know that I appreciate to no end the thin Blue Line. Be careful out there man.

 

Regards, Mike



#7 somedevildawg

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 09:21 PM

Mike I just got my T-85 sprigged last year. This will be my first season making hay. I am shooting for 50lb small squares. Please know that no offense was taken. I am one of those guys that tries to listen more than I talk because I learn more that way. So many of you guys have been such a huge blessing and I have learned a lot in the last few years on this forum.
 
I am hoping to get around 50 bales an acre in this first year. I got a really good establishment and have been very pleased with this grass so far. all a testament to what I have gleaned from all of you.
 
I just responded here because I know sometimes those of us with smaller budgets have to look at alternative means. I try not to be too jealous of all the heavy equipment you guys have. My goal is to have all my equipment paid for in the next five years so I can retire from law enforcement finally and spend my days doing what I love doing.


Wow, some thoughts that immediately come to mind.....
Which baler did you purchase? Seems they have two....
What rake?
What mower?
fertilization schedule?
For your feed or to resale?

#8 hcriddle

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 09:31 AM

Dawg,
 
I bought the TIB inline baler, 8 wheel rake, and Zetor 6'6" drum mower. I also splurged and bought a Kuhn accumulator and grapple because I am a one man show. Too old to pitch hay bales anymore. I have been treated extremely well by Phil and Sharon since first meeting them. They answered all my questions and gave me great advice even though it was a couple of years before I bought my first tractor from them.
 
I plan to fertilize after each cutting if possible and I am baling to sell. My daughter and son-in-law are hooked up with the calf roping, and performance horse crowd from Texas A&M days and hopefully I can establish some good customers with that group. They are waiting for me to start cutting and baling and several have agreed to bring their trailers and pick it up in the field. All sounds good now but I am still a little skeptical. So far all the hay folks around me are telling me that I should have no problem selling it because very few people are doing small squares anymore.
 
I have a retirement from the Houston Police Department and am 4 years away from being vested in the retirement system for the county where I work now. I am in my 39th year of law enforcement and am tired. Would rather spend my days on a tractor and tending to my grass. This was supposed to supplement that retirement income but the way things are going in Houston and Austin right now the possibility of losing my retirement is looming pretty large. The Lord has been faithful to me for 59 years and I don't think He will fail me now so the hay business is a little more important to me now.
 
Mike thanks for the support. I have never done this job for the money I have done it because I believe in the criminal justice system in this country. If we would go back to trying cases in the courtroom instead of the news media the criminal justice system might return to its proper function. Seems that the "facts" fall by the wayside when the news takes over. Sorry, this should have been in the boiler room forum.  :D


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#9 slowzuki

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 09:39 AM

Sorry I just looked but do they really charge 18,000$ for their inline? That seems on high end of things, maybe just a list price?

#10 r82230

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 09:48 AM

I plan to fertilize after each cutting if possible and I am baling to sell. My daughter and son-in-law are hooked up with the calf roping, and performance horse crowd from Texas A&M days and hopefully I can establish some good customers with that group. They are waiting for me to start cutting and baling and several have agreed to bring their trailers and pick it up in the field. All sounds good now but I am still a little skeptical. So far all the hay folks around me are telling me that I should have no problem selling it because very few people are doing small squares anymore.

I hope you have complete success with those who are 'pick it up in the field'.  Not to rain on your parade, but I would suggest that you always have a back up plan in place, in case they don't show up in a timely matter.  You can probably guess where this piece of knowledge comes from.  :(  But then again, maybe it only happens in MY area and yours could be much different.

 

Larry


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#11 hcriddle

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 09:58 AM

I hope you have complete success with those who are 'pick it up in the field'.  Not to rain on your parade, but I would suggest that you always have a back up plan in place, in case they don't show up in a timely matter.  You can probably guess where this piece of knowledge comes from.  :(  But then again, maybe it only happens in MY area and yours could be much different.

 

Larry

 

You are so right Larry. That's why I am a wait and see guy. All sounds good now but come baling day can be a very different story.

 

Slowzuki, I got a better price than that but even at $18,000 by my math was way better than the $25-30,000 inlines from the big names. Granted I could have bought used for less but then I am back at the time issue and no dealer support.



#12 slowzuki

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 11:10 AM

Having a Kuhns accumulator I would still run the bales through that, that way you can still grapple them if people are no-shows.

 

You are so right Larry. That's why I am a wait and see guy. All sounds good now but come baling day can be a very different story.

 

Slowzuki, I got a better price than that but even at $18,000 by my math was way better than the $25-30,000 inlines from the big names. Granted I could have bought used for less but then I am back at the time issue and no dealer support.



#13 hcriddle

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 12:55 PM

Having a Kuhns accumulator I would still run the bales through that, that way you can still grapple them if people are no-shows.

 

 

Yeah for sure. Everything goes through the accumulator and then can get loaded on their trailers in the field. That way if they don't show or what ever I may have left over I can load up and put in the barn.



#14 Vol

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 04:18 PM

Having a Kuhns accumulator I would still run the bales through that, that way you can still grapple them if people are no-shows.

 

That is true and the folks that do come and pickup hay out of the field will love you for having them in groups of 10 or whatever. It will be faster for them to pickup and get gone....which is a good thing.

 

Regards, Mike



#15 hcriddle

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 04:25 PM

Thanks so much guys. You all have been very kind and helpful which is what I like about this forum. I have talked to so many people in this area but got no where. I decided to take this endeavor on because I could not get anyone to cut this place even when I told them they could have everything. Guys would not show up and one guy who did pushed up a bunch of brush in piles and left it in the middle of the pastures and I finally burned them about three years later.

 

I do have some used equipment like my shredder and my disc which I bought because I just needed to get moving on this. Thanks again for all the help. I am looking forward to seeing a little return on the investment finally.


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#16 somedevildawg

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 10:52 PM

I will say this, my hats off to you guys in LE....my step father spend 42 yrs in and he would be appalled at what has happened in this country.

You picked a tough task...there is not a tougher assignment than growing T85 without a conditioner and with only a small square baler.
My best advice would be to take it slowly and be cautious as sometimes things are much different than they otherwise appear....kinda like the "rear view mirror effect"
To be honest, 50 acres of Tift 85 is a bit overwhelming given proper fertilization and rainfall....it will produce some grass....you need to be prepared before the inevitable happens.
Whatever you do, do not let it get past 35 days between cuttings during the summer months...I don't think that equipment is up to the task, to be completely honest with you, but it will work if all things are in your favor. When it's gonna get dicey, is when things are not in your favor. Them horsey folks are a tough sell for the 85 HERE, when it gets prewashed I can really imagine them turning their nose up at it....make sure to have a cow market ready.
Fertilization....to achieve the best yield, the NPK requirements for T85 is high....mine is around $90 per acre. You may want to do less.....but that's 3-4 times a season.
For all those reasons, and more....I would STRONGLY suggest you invest in a round baler. And I ain't so sure those folks don't have one, but a good used one with twine tie would be sufficient.
Good luck, it's a daunting task, 50 acres of T85 is no joke, be prepared....
And build barns....
It may be tough but it's a hell of a lot better than dealing with the trash on the streets nowadays.....thanks again for your service
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#17 hcriddle

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 07:24 AM

Thanks Dawg. My plan is to divide this into three separate pastures and bale one each week on a 21 day cycle. I have been contemplating a round baler for exactly the reasons you stated. Rain has not been a huge issue but I know that whatever does fall will fall at the most inopportune time. If for some reason I can't get on the field I would like to be able to round bale it for cow hay. My neighbor has a round baler and I can probably work something out with him as well. He told me yesterday that he is going to cut his meadow once and then shred it the rest of the year because he has too much hay already.

 

I appreciate the honest evaluation of the equipment. I very well may be looking for something different sooner rather than later. I am in the process of building a barn at this moment so I hope to have storage and I have a second location already picked out if I need it. Your fertilizer budget was pretty close to what I had budgeted so thanks for firming that up.

 

I am trying to read as much as I can about other people's experiences and I feel pretty good as long as I have you guys to tell me when I am screwing it up. Rest assured I don't have a problem yelling for help when I get in trouble. You are right about your step dad. Things are way different today. I've seen lots of changes and not many of them are for the better. Most favor the crooks and leave all the honest folks to suffer for it.

 

Thanks again to all and may God bless each of you as the hay season gets kicked off.


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#18 reede

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 07:39 AM

One thing to think about, regarding getting the hay gone the day you bale it.  If you offer for the folks to bring their trailer the day before, and give you a number to stack on it, some may just take you up on it.  I stumbled into doing things this way a couple of years ago(don't use accumulator/grapple, I've got EZ trail bale baskets), when I went to using humidity as my guide to set the moisture in the hay.  Local folks jumped on it, and I bale usually in the morning, have homeschoolers help stack on trailers early in the afternoon, and call folks to pick up after work.  Of course, that doesn't help in the case of afternoon thunderstorms, but that just comes with the territory. 

 

On your proposed schedule for cutting, and having it spaced out:  The folks that do my lime/gypsum spreading have a lot more bermuda acreage than I do.  They were on a schedule like that last summer, until the drought hit, nothing grew for 2 months, and when we finally got rain and it started growing again, all the fields needed to be cut at once.  So just have a plan available. 


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#19 VA Haymaker

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 08:33 AM

That is true and the folks that do come and pickup hay out of the field will love you for having them in groups of 10 or whatever. It will be faster for them to pickup and get gone....which is a good thing.

 

Regards, Mike

 

We don't even let the customer pick-up out of the field out of fear they will figure out a way to hurt themselves.  We bale on a wagon, bring the hay to a defined place where we hand off the bales and they load their trucks/trailers from there.  Works for us... 



#20 VA Haymaker

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 08:45 AM

I will say this, my hats off to you guys in LE....my step father spend 42 yrs in and he would be appalled at what has happened in this country.
You picked a tough task...there is not a tougher assignment than growing T85 without a conditioner and with only a small square baler.
My best advice would be to take it slowly and be cautious as sometimes things are much different than they otherwise appear....kinda like the "rear view mirror effect"
To be honest, 50 acres of Tift 85 is a bit overwhelming given proper fertilization and rainfall....it will produce some grass....you need to be prepared before the inevitable happens.
Whatever you do, do not let it get past 35 days between cuttings during the summer months...I don't think that equipment is up to the task, to be completely honest with you, but it will work if all things are in your favor. When it's gonna get dicey, is when things are not in your favor. Them horsey folks are a tough sell for the 85 HERE, when it gets prewashed I can really imagine them turning their nose up at it....make sure to have a cow market ready.
Fertilization....to achieve the best yield, the NPK requirements for T85 is high....mine is around $90 per acre. You may want to do less.....but that's 3-4 times a season.
For all those reasons, and more....I would STRONGLY suggest you invest in a round baler. And I ain't so sure those folks don't have one, but a good used one with twine tie would be sufficient.
Good luck, it's a daunting task, 50 acres of T85 is no joke, be prepared....
And build barns....
It may be tough but it's a hell of a lot better than dealing with the trash on the streets nowadays.....thanks again for your service

Another tangible challenge IMHO, just as tough as whipping the fields into shape, is establishing a customer base that will buy your hay at a price where your effort/expenses pencil out. 50 acres, properly managed will yield a lot of hay.
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