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soft core hay baler


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#1 Ravenwalker

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 06:49 PM

I just bought a new krone fortima 1600f fixed chamber baler with net wrap and wide pick up.  I have limited experience with hay balers but I think I would have preferred a hard core baler.  The reason I ended up with the Krone fortima is my father had 2 krone 4x4 hay balers. One was a few years old and the other a bit older but few bales through it.  I am a one man show and after doing the math I decided it would be much faster to bale, haul in and wrap 4x5 foot bales.  I think it came out to 36% bigger.  Anyway, the Krone dealer would give us the most on a trade on both balers and it made the money difference affordable. I didnt have 10g extra for anther brand  So, that is why I ended up with another Krone. I cant complain, I have a new baler.  We buy our equipment form the same dealer and they are great to work with and service is excellent.  that made a big difference as well.  

 

I have wrapped 4x4 soft core bales for haylage and they were just fine for feeding.  I have read that soft core are not good for haylage.  Will I have a problem stepping up to the 4x5? I wouldnt think there would be much difference. many times it is close to dry bales by the time I get everything done and baled myself.

 

I do Have a problem when it comes to wrapping on a inline wrapper. If the net is torn off of one side and you put on new rolls of plastic it will occasionally catch and create a problem.  They seem to be a little bigger than my neighbors 4x5 veermeer.  

 

One major problem I had was the guy who set it up said to only run it at 85% hardness the first 100 bales.  He also said if I run low on time you could let them set out over night and wrap them early the next day.  I did some research and found that to be true.  But, you know what happened.....they were not full hardness in the first place and they were squatting.  VERY difficult to get them through the wrapper.  I am nervous about opening them up the winter.

 

So, my neighbors vermeer silage bales squat a bit.  The Krone does a little more.  They are fairly solid. I run into a little trouble if I am baling on the side of a steep hill and it doesnt form on both sides.  Then the one side will be a bit softer.  It is a little harder to move second cutting. 

 

They are fairly hard.  I do drop a gear when it hits the 75% full buzzer.  Would stopping and let it pack in after that buzzer make it more solid?

 

We didnt have heavy hay this year due to lack of rain.  But, this thing seems to be a hay eating machine.  it just sucks it in.  We had a little trouble with the net wrap But I think we may have that worked out.  the monitor is easy to use.  It seems to be over engineered and I think it is made to do thousands of bales a year. very heavy built.  I only do 350 bales a year so it will still be going when I am not.  

 

Any information and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#2 slowzuki

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 08:10 PM

I have a 5x4 soft core roller baler. Back in the day the soft core were the only ones that handled silage bales. On mine you can bale as fast as hay will go in the pickup the first 75%, the bale hardness has everything to do with slowing down to pack the last 25% in.
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#3 Ravenwalker

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 08:27 PM

Thanks!

#4 somedevildawg

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 08:12 AM

Welcome to Haytalk,
You’ve done a days work getting that Krone...sounds like they treated you right as well. You’re correct about the pickup....it really gobbles the hay up, without a doubt, the best pickup in the industry. The net can be finicky to get setup but it’s a very dependable system. Fluid film on surfaces that have paint worn will help next season when you pull it out of the barn, otherwise you’ll probably have net “issues”the first few bales until the surfaces get “cleaned”
My dealer didn’t go for the “breakin period” per say....we baled about 10 bales at 60% and then cranked her up to 85% and that’s where it’s at now. Because they are soft core, the bale will continue to expand once it’s ejected from the chamber. I have mine set to 58” to make a 60” final bale size in dry hay.
Enjoy the baler, easy operation and it’s built like a brick shit house too.....

#5 Tx Jim

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 09:11 AM

May I ask what is the advantage of a soft core baler vs a hard core? I think utilizing soft core baler one could bale higher moisture "dry hay" & it would not mold as easily but that is a guess on my part. All things equal I think a hard core bale will outweigh a soft core bale of the same dimensions. I also think hard core,netwrapped bale has more eye appeal for better sale-ability 



#6 Ravenwalker

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 09:35 AM

Thanks for the info!  I have mine set at 100% to keep it tighter for the inline wrapper.  


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#7 slowzuki

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 12:14 PM

Can bale about same moisture as small squares with soft core. Bit higher if you leave them out before stacking.
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#8 krone.1

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Posted 12 August 2020 - 12:47 PM

It sounds like you feel like you settled by going with the F1600 Fortima. Not the case at all. We tend to make bales that we like of vs. what the livestock likes. Which is the most important? Put identical crop/condition fixed chamber bales and variable chamber bales in a ring and see which one leaves first. Fixed chamber bales are more palatable and you have less waste. Notice I said "fixed chamber" and not soft core? North America hay industry's marketing people coined the term "soft core" so the fixed chamber balers would be perceived as a negative in order to eliminate them as competition since most manufacturers don't offer them. Most of Europe does haylage and in Germany 54% of the balers sold are fixed chamber balers.

IMO fixed chamber balers are underrated in North America.

 

With some windshield time on your Fortima you will be surprised at how good of a bale you can make. It was designed to be a haylage baler from the beginning. It makes a good bale. I think it's cute the way some manufacturers make a "Kit" to convert a dry hay baler into a silage baler. That is like Nissan offering a "kit" to convert an Altima into a 1 ton dually. A haylage baler needs to be designed to do haylage from the start.

 

We have sold a ton of KR series balers over the years. They were designed to do haylage but most went into dry hay duty. They run FOREVER! They don't show up on the used market very often.

 

As far as weights, we recently had several baler brands in the same field doing comparisons. We had a 1600 there but not concentrating on it so much, we logged the results with it anyway. It was the most impressive baler there, especially if you consider costs.   

 

I suppose the purpose of my rant is to say don't dismiss a fixed chamber baler when you are shopping for new baler.


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#9 Tx Jim

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Posted 12 August 2020 - 02:16 PM

May I ask what makes the hay baled in a fixed chamber baler more palatable than from a variable chamber baler if baled from the same field/same crop?   When feeding fixed chamber bale may appear to disappear quicker than variable chamber baled hay because there's less hay for animals to consume. What were the bale weight differences between the 2 different style balers in this hay consumption test? 



#10 krone.1

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Posted 12 August 2020 - 08:31 PM

Jim, I don't have any studies to back me up on this,,, but I think the fixed chamber bale core more closely mimics grazing for the animal. It takes less effort to get it out of the bale and they get a more controlled portion.  

 

On the bale weights, We had 3 variable chamber balers in the same field at the same time. They were operated by the owners. We requested they make as tight of a bale as possible. Speed or cycle time wasn't recorded, We were only looking at density. There was a Krone VariPack 190, the bale measured 60.5"... There was a Deere 468, the Deere bale measured 63". A McHale 640 was there also and made a 61" bale. We had requested the operators to make a 5' bale.

The weights of the bales out of these 3 variable chamber machines (in random order to prevent any brand bashing) were:
874#

1030#

914#

 

We also had a Krone F1600 there (4x5 fixed chamber), not included in the comparison.... but we were all set up, so how could we not see how it compared? In full disclosure, all 3 of the variable chamber balers were run in controlled identical windrows. The F1600 was running at the other side of the field so it was in similar, but not identical crop. The F1600 bale measured 63" and weighed 944#. Again, we weren't in identical conditions, but there were some jaws that dropped when the reading came up on the fixed chamber bale.  Keep in mind a few % points in moisture can have a big impact on weight. After seeing the results, I regretted that we didn't put the F1600 in the same comparison.

 

My point in taking the stick to this pile is so baler prospects (new and used) will consider all the options. IMO A fixed chamber baler has merit.



#11 somedevildawg

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Posted 12 August 2020 - 11:59 PM

Well I done went and learnt something....I’ve never had a “soft core” or “fixed chamber” baler until the ones I have now. I know the center looks a little different (has a star shape) but it’s not what I would call “soft” (at least I can’t tell a diff when stabbing it) the bale weights are within a few pounds of my other balers with the Krone being a bit higher, (could be due to compression differences) but where it really shines is consistency. Every bale is exactly the same size (maybe a 1” variation) IMO if wrapping was part of your haymaking, I don’t think it gets much better than a fixed chamber baler. If I was really paying attention I could get the variable chamber bales purty consistent, but with the fixed chamber even a cave man can do it :o (sorry to offend any cave men ancestors, it’s my systemic whiteness showing)
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#12 Tx Jim

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 06:46 AM

krone 1

Thanks for your reply.

874#s vs 1030#s for same size bale is a significant 20% difference. I never considered the fact that fixed chambered bales were all the same identical height which is definitely a PLUS for stacking.hauling & although I have no experience wrapping can see the benefit

Thanks,Jim



#13 r82230

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 07:00 AM

Well one thing to keep in mind is how much hay is in the outer part of the bale.  Naturally, operator, hay type and moisture are also factors.  Almost 60% in the outside 12"  of a 5' bale according to these folks.  Never mind the size matters part in the title.  :cool:

 

https://www.enidnews...b11c20f3c1.html

 

So maybe there is some validity to the ability to get almost the same amount of hay into the same size baler.  

 

One of the things that I have been following, is the ability to cut (process) the crop, where there is research on animal performance improvements.  Have to wonder what a fixed chamber process would be.   

 

NH calls it the 'bale slice' system.  AND I see NH is now offering a 'fix chamber' baler,  :o  seems they use less HP, but no 'bale slice' option.

 

Larry


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#14 somedevildawg

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 12:48 PM

If I were baling for my own livestock or selling by weight I would most certainly have bale slice added to mine....otherwise I see no advantage.

#15 r82230

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 09:48 PM

If I were baling for my own livestock or selling by weight I would most certainly have bale slice added to mine....otherwise I see no advantage.

 

It would be for MY cows, the added expense wouldn't pay (of course selling RB in my neck of the woods doesn't pay either ;)).  My thought is if better feed efficiency, then less RB fed, less RB need to be made, equals more little idiot bricks made.  Those idiot bricks is where the coins are in my area.  The guys selling RB, are chasing one another to the bottom (to get the lowest price). :huh:

 

Right now, it's on the 'wish list' only,

 

Larry



#16 Ravenwalker

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 09:13 PM

Thanks for the info Krone 1.  It is nice to know they were made for haylage.  Some say the fixed chamber are not good for that.  I did dry hay a few days ago.  I baled at normal speed until I hit the 75% mark then I stopped and let it drop down to around 50,  I went slower until it was ready to wrap.  On two occasions it got to around 98% level then would bounce between the mid 80s to the mid 90% level.....I looked back and it was running over the hay.   I right to assume I had a full bale and it couldnt take in more hay which made the sensor/monitor not read correctly?  the pickup was still running.  It worked fine after that.  

 

The net wrap worked very well this time.  the only problem is sometimes it does not go out to the side or tears on the side.  That makes it more difficult to transport and wrap.  I am in WV and we bale on some very steep ground. I wonder if the net issue may be from wrapping on the side of a hill on transporting down to the bottom of the hill to drop?  

 

Would it hurt to shut the pto off after wrapping and transport it to the bottom?  I was thinking as is spun in there it could get torn.

 

Can you turn the PTO on with a full bale in?  Would you dump it and then turn it on?  Or does it Matter?

 

The bales seem be be almost as tight as the neighbors vermeer.  the center is a bit soft but there is no way you could stick your hand in like some have described  You can just barely  run the fingers in. 

 

It seems one side is tighter than the other at times.  I think that could be putting more hay on one side.  I think that happens when I am baling around the side of the mountain.  I made my winrows go up and down the hill as much as possible and it seemed to work. 

 

Doing haylage this week.  the only thing that I am concerned about is the corners not covering.   These are a little bigger than five foot.  We also replaced the plastic roller stretcher on the inline wrapper last year.  I think it is a bit closer. It will wrap the krone bale okay but if the net is off on the side, the hay is sticking up on the side and if there is a fairly new roll of wrap on the wrapper.....the plastic roll hits the hay bale and cant wrap it.  that is a pain.  We will just have to put a good end in first or if one has tow bad sides wrap them when the roll is smaller.

 

Thanks for any suggestions. 



#17 krone.1

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Posted 15 August 2020 - 11:39 AM

I can't see any reason not to turn off the PTO at any time. We used to have a declutch on some of the heritage balers but eliminated it due to high maintenance. I would turn off the baler after it is wrapped to prevent possible damage to the net as well as unproductive, high load wear to the baler.

 

Have you checked the angle rollers on your net stretcher bar? Also, you made need to increase your net brake tension by increasing the tension or lightly sanding rust/glaze off of your drum and pad.

 

Opening the tangs on the core drum should keep your net centered.

 

Your misshaped bales may be due to indicators needing adjustment.

 

Do you have an F1600B or an F1600D?

 

Here is a pic of an F1600 bale with the net maxed out over the edge of the bale. Will this work for you?

 

Attached File  1600 bale.jpg   39.4KB   0 downloads



#18 Ravenwalker

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Posted 15 August 2020 - 09:48 PM

Krone 1

 

that would be absolutely perfect.  I have some bales to go out to the sides but not down around.  I will try turning of the PTO and see what happens there.  I should be able to dump the bale with out it on, correct?  Do you think that would be worse?  I will see if I can get some pics to show you what is going on.  

 

You have defiantly eased some worries.  I think this baler is a good one.

 

On a side note.....i moved back to take over for my father who is 87.  he has had several fixed chamber balers.  He stated the same reason as you......he feels that it is easier for the cattle to eat the hay.  He has had a Claas and this will be his forth Krone.  Imagine the changes he has seen.  He mowed, raked, hauled in and stacked hay until he was 16.

 

I will give it a try this week and get back with you.  I never knew you could adjust the indicators.  I think The Krone guy came down and opened up the tangs you were talking about.  the net was getting caught while baling and I had the brake adjusted tight.  It seems to have fixed that problem.

 

Now iI just need to figure out how to get the net centered.  I will see if I can figure out the angle on the net stretcher rollers.  I am not sure which f1600 I have.  I will try to find out.

 

thanks so much for the info.  I will take some pics of what is going on.


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#19 krone.1

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 11:41 AM

If your baler is reasonable level the bale will come out without the pto engaged. If not, just make sure to lock the tailgate before you go back there. Not sure why the wrap isn't staying centered. Does it take a lot of effort to get the brake drum to go in the center tube? usually you have to take the reverse wrench to get it centered up.

 

Here is a pic of where I run the net stretcher angles to get it over the edge of the bale:

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#20 Ravenwalker

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 01:31 PM

I am not sure how to center it up but here is a picture of where it is.  I clean it up like new after every use to eliminate any problems from debris.  Here is a also a pic of what they come out like when it works well which is about 90% of the time.  The other pic is when they do not go to the sides.  It is usually just one side.  These are a little worse because of handling.  I included a pic of the baler so you can see what model it is.  

 

I have a neighbor that had a belema 125.  He plugged it.  He didnt lock the door.  While he was working on it the door slowly came down.  I must have had him in just the right position so he couldnt get out.  He died.  I ALWAYS lock that door open.

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