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Small Baler and Small Tractor - Round or squares??

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#1 Jacob

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Posted 15 December 2020 - 11:51 PM

Throwing around the idea of getting a Baler, Planning on planting roughly 10 acres of alfalfa/grass mixture and wanting information opinions on what type of baler would be the best for my operation. I'm wanting to grass feed some cattle for market and I'm wanting to make the the most out of my acres. I have 4 tractors that would be candidates for haying and not looking to get another tractor for financial reasons Farmall H, Farmall M (wide front), John Deere 4400 (compact tractor roughly 30ish at the pto, has a loader that could lift small rounds), and A 4320 (Compact tractor roughly 40 at the pto). I Have no haying equipment so any recommendations for my operation would be greatly appreciated. I don't know how well my 4320 would pull a 1734 (3x4) round baler or if I would be better off making small squares (Have Storage Space for about 1000 small squares. On a 6 acre patch I plan on planting there is a slight incline which makes me skeptical of a small tractor pulling a round baler up a hill. 

 

-Still alot of planning in the process and I've talked to someone and they recommended that I come here

 

 

-Currently own a strawberry business so this is the reason for 4 low horse tractors 

 

- All information is appreciated, Thanks for your time



#2 Okshooter

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 05:19 AM

I have a JD3320 (about 27 pto) and a Case 8420 3X4 round baler (same baler as the 1734) and it handles it just fine with pretty minor hills.   I think your 4320 would be perfect for it.   Field I currently do is about 5 acres and it works great.   I’m trying to add another 3 to 4 acres this summer of alfalfa so hopefully that goes well also.


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#3 Vol

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 05:38 AM

Throwing around the idea of getting a Baler, Planning on planting roughly 10 acres of alfalfa/grass mixture and wanting information opinions on what type of baler would be the best for my operation. I'm wanting to grass feed some cattle for market and I'm wanting to make the the most out of my acres. I have 4 tractors that would be candidates for haying and not looking to get another tractor for financial reasons Farmall H, Farmall M (wide front), John Deere 4400 (compact tractor roughly 30ish at the pto, has a loader that could lift small rounds), and A 4320 (Compact tractor roughly 40 at the pto). I Have no haying equipment so any recommendations for my operation would be greatly appreciated. I don't know how well my 4320 would pull a 1734 (3x4) round baler or if I would be better off making small squares (Have Storage Space for about 1000 small squares. On a 6 acre patch I plan on planting there is a slight incline which makes me skeptical of a small tractor pulling a round baler up a hill. 

 

-Still alot of planning in the process and I've talked to someone and they recommended that I come here

 

 

-Currently own a strawberry business so this is the reason for 4 low horse tractors 

 

- All information is appreciated, Thanks for your time

 

Typically, square bale demand is the greatest and most profitable as not many folks make small squares anymore. Small squares will also utilize your space much better than rounds. 

 

Regards, Mike


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#4 somedevildawg

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 06:03 AM

Welcome to Haytalk Jacob....good luck with your new adventure.
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#5 8350HiTech

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 07:28 AM

Typically, square bale demand is the greatest and most profitable as not many folks make small squares anymore. Small squares will also utilize your space much better than rounds.

Regards, Mike


Not too important thought with the OP likely feeding them all on site for a niche market.
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#6 8350HiTech

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 07:31 AM

As long as your tractor handles that little round baler it will save you a lot of work over doing square bales and your cattle won’t care what shape the bales are. You may end up needing to buy some feed eventually and if you’re already set up for rounds at that point purchasing should be much cheaper on rounds.
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#7 r82230

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 07:32 AM

Both the M and H models have pulled a fair amount of ss balers in the day and they still would today, problem is live power has most folks spoiled today.  Not that the skill to 'kick' it out of gear quickly can't be learned when a slug runs into the baler however.

 

Hopefully, you are planning on storing the RB inside, if so RB can be less labor (hand that is), if you have the right equipment and space to work with.

 

SS bales naturally can be more labor intensive, but also have some advantages (Vol mentions) along with you can control waste better.  Plus, you can mix your hay qualities if needed (we just had a discussion the other day on this board, with higher/lower quality hay feeding, via RB).

 

I'd lean you towards ss bales, probably could get two old ss balers (so you have a back up, just'n case), cheaper than a RB.  But I'm using YOUR labor and money.  ;)

 

BTW, welcome to HT.

Larry


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#8 Hayman1

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 08:16 AM

Just curious if any of you folks using small rounds and small tractors with a few head have looked at a small bale processor-grind what you need each day into a feed trough.  Minimize waste.  Idk if they make a shredder that small, just wondered


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#9 mstuck21

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 08:43 AM

I don’t have cows so take my thoughts for what they’re worth but in my area I feel like a guy could small square Alf/grass mix to sell for horses and buy rounds of fescue/pasture mix to feed his cows and come out money ahead.

If the weatherman turns on you and a cutting doesn’t make horse quality you’ll have somewhere to go with it.
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#10 IH 1586

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 09:28 AM

I don’t have cows so take my thoughts for what they’re worth but in my area I feel like a guy could small square Alf/grass mix to sell for horses and buy rounds of fescue/pasture mix to feed his cows and come out money ahead.

If the weatherman turns on you and a cutting doesn’t make horse quality you’ll have somewhere to go with it.


Not if op is striving for a higher quality grass fed beef.
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#11 Jacob

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 09:29 AM

I don’t have cows so take my thoughts for what they’re worth but in my area I feel like a guy could small square Alf/grass mix to sell for horses and buy rounds of fescue/pasture mix to feed his cows and come out money ahead.

If the weatherman turns on you and a cutting doesn’t make horse quality you’ll have somewhere to go with it.

That's a good point and thank you for replying but the only problem is that I don't have a big enough tractor to lift bigger round bales.


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#12 mstuck21

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 10:39 AM

Neighbor raises 10-15 beef a year for themselves and extended family is super low tech .. has a bale spear mounted on the rear 3-pt of his compact tractor.. buys a gooseneck of rounds at a time.. they push all the rounds off the trailer by hand and after the delivery guy leaves he arranges them in a line along the fence with the 3-pt.

Can’t stack the bales using his method but he gets by on the cheap equipment wise. Your list of equipment is light years ahead of him lol.

Good luck in whatever you choose. Oh and check out Greg Judy on YouTube he’ll have all the answers on the grass fed side of things.
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#13 Edd in KY

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 10:50 AM

I do both small squares and big rounds. Here are a few of my learnings over the last 20 years.

Small square balers need a lot less HP. Small square balers are much cheaper than round balers.

Small square bales stack tighter so they take up less inside space than round bales. In some ways

small square bales are easier to feed just...put a bale in the back of the pickup and throw it over the fence. Small squares are much much easier to sell...anyone can load a few, pay and go. Small squares take more labor and must be stored inside. The best hay customers are people that don't make any of their own hay but own critters.

 

Big rounds can be stored outside (SS can not). A big round bale may last a week for a few cows...but you will need to drive through the mud with a heavy load to do it. Round balers take more HP and very small round bales mean many trips into the fields, and don't last very long in the feed lot. Round bales do not sell well in my area.

 

Just my observations. Your usage may vary.


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#14 r82230

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 11:44 AM

That's a good point and thank you for replying but the only problem is that I don't have a big enough tractor to lift bigger round bales.

 

Amish move RB with something like this:

 

https://www.fresh-gr...le-trailer.html

 

Larry


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#15 Vol

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 11:52 AM

Not too important thought with the OP likely feeding them all on site for a niche market.

 

Re-read his last sentence....and saving/utilizing space is always important. And he sounds like a business man that would enjoy factual information in case the winds of change come through. 

 

Regards, Mike


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#16 Jacob

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 12:12 PM

I have a JD3320 (about 27 pto) and a Case 8420 3X4 round baler (same baler as the 1734) and it handles it just fine with pretty minor hills.   I think your 4320 would be perfect for it.   Field I currently do is about 5 acres and it works great.   I’m trying to add another 3 to 4 acres this summer of alfalfa so hopefully that goes well also.

What type of cutter do you use? I'm not sure what would be best for my operation to dry the hay the fastest - thanks for the reply I've been looking at some of those 8420's which would work pretty good for my operation - I think my 4400 could lift those bales pretty easily if I put some weight on the back 



#17 Jacob

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 12:23 PM

Both the M and H models have pulled a fair amount of ss balers in the day and they still would today, problem is live power has most folks spoiled today.  Not that the skill to 'kick' it out of gear quickly can't be learned when a slug runs into the baler however.

 

Hopefully, you are planning on storing the RB inside, if so RB can be less labor (hand that is), if you have the right equipment and space to work with.

 

SS bales naturally can be more labor intensive, but also have some advantages (Vol mentions) along with you can control waste better.  Plus, you can mix your hay qualities if needed (we just had a discussion the other day on this board, with higher/lower quality hay feeding, via RB).

 

I'd lean you towards ss bales, probably could get two old ss balers (so you have a back up, just'n case), cheaper than a RB.  But I'm using YOUR labor and money.  ;)

 

BTW, welcome to HT.

Larry

I really wish they had live power - we used to have a NH ss baler for baling wheat straw to cover the strawberries with in the winter, and the M pulled it good but it sucks that it stops the pto when you push the clutch in. I've been looking at some small round balers and the only thing is I don't want to overwork the 4320 - 

 

I don't know very much about cattle and I'm not sure what the best food is to feed them so if there is any recommendations on feed (Trying to do as little to no grains as possible - Grass fed Beef) I'd greatly appreciate it 



#18 r82230

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 01:33 PM

I don't know very much about cattle and I'm not sure what the best food is to feed them so if there is any recommendations on feed (Trying to do as little to no grains as possible - Grass fed Beef) I'd greatly appreciate it 

 

Well you might have a quandary.  Fast gains, usually require more energy, which grains (corn, oats & barley) are a good source.  With hay being a good requirement for the animal, it to can use as a decent amount of ration IF high quality hay is used.   The big word is IF.  It takes work IMHO to make high quality hay.  ;)  

 

Now, to grains, you can gain a lot, but there can be a 'balancing' act involved.  You can really pack on some pounds (daily rate of gain) on the animal, while losing pounds yourself (out of your pocket book).   See attached piece on feeding a 4H steer (where you don't always look at the bottom-line to where it's the most profitable).  See attached 'Forage Quality in Perspective PSU' piece, table 3 for an example of the bottom-line profit/cost.  

 

I've seen hay test CP (crude protein), from below 7% to well above 20%.  If you are shooting for more than a 13% CP overall diet, then having a hay testing close (or above) goes a long way on reducing your need to purchase CP.   Barley could be an ideal grain feed for raising beef (not grown in my area unfortunately).  Corn is widely used, but starts with a less than 10% protein (but great energy), so a protein needs to be added (soybean meal is used a lot for that purpose).  Oats carry the CP, but lacks on the energy side, BTW.

 

The best advice in my view would be test your hay and develop your animals dietary needs off that.  I make my own feed for my grandkids 4H critters and actually send that in for an analysis,  along with already having my hay tested.   

 

Unfortunately, I'm not knowledgeable as others on grass fed beef. :o   Hope I didn't short you on the 2 cents of info.

 

Larry

Attached Files


Edited by r82230, 16 December 2020 - 05:08 PM.

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#19 Okshooter

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Posted 16 December 2020 - 03:29 PM

I started with a sickle that the guy I bought the baler from through into the deal, but last year bought a drum mower and prefer it for the speed and ease of maintenance.  I have worried about drying when I get the alfalfa going without a crimper, but I'm gonna try it and hope for to get some good from this damn OK heat.  I'm not familiar with the 4400.  I assume you don't have a loader on the 4320.  I can easily lift a 4X5 bale with my 3320 and good ballast on the back.  The 3X4s only weigh about 400 to 500 pounds.  I am pretty sure I could lift two at a time with my loader if I had the bale spike to do it.  I have been happy with the baler and the way it performs with my tractor and didn't even consider ss bales because I'm fat and lazy and didn't want to have to handle them by hand.  We raise meat goats not cows, but I like only having to feed once every few weeks and not worrying as much if it's getting rained or snowed on while it's out for them to eat.


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#20 Beav

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Posted 17 December 2020 - 12:13 PM

save yourself a lot of money and headaches run the cattle on the 10 acres of grass and buy hay. If you have time you could mob graze it to increase numbers. !0 acres is hard to justify the money for equipment investment, unless you buy cheap used and that where the headaches come in. Good luck  


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