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Small Baler and Small Tractor - Round or squares??

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#21 JamesInPa

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Posted 17 December 2020 - 01:50 PM

Between me and my dad we've done hundreds of thousands of square bales using just an H and an M so I'd suggest small squares as well, unless you find a good deal on that 1734 baler. I echo what Edd in Ky said, especially as you don't want any waste with only ten acres of hay and trying to minimize grain use.  Also with your small tractor trying to haul even small round bales out in deep snow will be tough work.  I only feed squares to my own stock and when you are dealing with muddy hillsides or heavy snow and a small herd of cattle, it's a lot less aggravation to just walk out to the barn or take a truckload along the road and put out square bales in the field by hand.  It snowed ten inches here yesterday and I just got back in from doing that rather than messing with a tractor and wagon.  Two years ago when it rained nonstop for months and the ground was so saturated that even hillsides were laying water lots of people were sliding down hills on their tractors while trying to feed out rounds.

 

The few times I fed out rounds I ended up spending an hour with a pitchfork in 10 degree weather breaking it apart and putting it all into little piles several feet apart, the same way I put out squares by kicking the sections several feet apart.  There's zero waste that way as they don't lay on it or step on any of it, and minimal damage to the field from the animals standing in one place eating.  But it's a lot easier to kick apart squares than rounds ;)

 

As far as grass fed cattle go, I run mostly black angus like everyone else around here but this year for my eight breeding cows I borrowed a Red Devon (aka north devon) bull from a guy five miles down the road who runs a larger grass-fed beef operation.  That breed marbles a lot better on grass only than most beef cattle and also do well on marginal pasture.  They aren't popular as a feedlot breed because they do better on grass than grain.  He's switched to them several years ago and loves them because they make nice grass fed beef and are extremely docile for beef cattle.  They are a tiny bit smaller than black angus (he's a shade larger than my cows and definitely smaller than an angus bull and CALM). I think I'm going to buy some females off of him next year myself and phase out the angus.  Note that they aren't the same as the south devon or the american milking devon.  They look like a slightly smaller red angus, with some noticeably different features that means you can tell it's not an angus when you look closely.



#22 8350HiTech

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Posted 17 December 2020 - 02:57 PM

Feeding of round bales is getting a bad rap in this thread. If one is properly set up to feed them with a fence line feeder, there is no hogging through mud or navigating treacherous hillsides in the snow or large amounts of waste. With the right set up it wouldn’t even require a loader to position them, just a three point spear. (Though it would probably require a loader anyway if they’re coming off of an indoor stack.
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#23 8350HiTech

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Posted 17 December 2020 - 02:58 PM

whoops, double post.

#24 slowzuki

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Posted 17 December 2020 - 04:48 PM

Exactly. I'm not advocating a round baler for 10 acres, but they feed well without waste.  Bale feeders work well, we also feed over fence with a pitchfork occasionally.  Tip them on end and the hay spools off well into sheets, with 20 lb fork fulls to toss in spaced apart piles.

 

Most of our round bales are just set in the field though with strings on, once they have eaten 1/3 of the bale the strings are cut off and removed.  If you cut the strings off immediately they tend to waste a lot.



#25 KS John

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Posted 17 December 2020 - 04:56 PM

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.

I agree with 8350 HiTech, If comparing feeding small rounds to ss the Driving through mud argument goes away IMHO, You will make several trips with ss. At least 1 a day. While it may not be financially sound to bale your own hay on 10 acres, you have to take into consideration getting your hay from an outside source, which may or may not be done in a timely manner. For the OP, have you considered selling the 2 small tractors and buying 1 larger tractor? The H or M ca pull the rake so you might be able to get by that way.



#26 Jimmy Bartlett

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Posted 18 December 2020 - 10:18 AM

John this might work for Jacob - he could swap one of the compact utility tractors for a little larger tractor.  There are possible tractor trades that would be even in cash value (older/heavier).   One larger tractor helps to diversify the operation although he'd be losing one tractor with a foot pedal hydrostat.  

 

edit - on 6ac it might be prudent to graze a few cows & buy a few rolls of hay as mentioned earlier. 



#27 Edd in KY

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Posted 18 December 2020 - 05:54 PM

Hey, I did not say small squares are better than round bales. I simply said there are pros and cons with each. 

Especially in a small operation like mine with several paddocks with different types of animals, sometimes small squares  are simpler to make, store and feed. That said I have round bales in most of my paddocks enclosed in bale feeders. But feeding is usually a 2 man job as the critters rush for the gate when they see a new bale coming and the mud can be pretty nasty and the tractor  tears up an area in the paddock ( I do not have feed lots). 

 

The fence line feeder is a neat concept. Here is one farms demonstration and critique. It won't work for my fencing and setup, but it seems feasible for many.  per this Univ. of KY demonstration.

 

www.edenshalefarm.com/fencelinefeeding system

 

Edited for you Edd. Mike

 



#28 FarmerDick

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Posted 19 December 2020 - 07:16 PM

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.


I’m very new to farming and haven’t bought any equipment yet. Could you tell me a couple of as balers I could look for on the used market?
What size tractor would I need to use the baler?

#29 r82230

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Posted 19 December 2020 - 08:34 PM

Farmer, welcome aboard.

 

We can be 'real' helpful on spending your money, BTW.

 

Few questions first:

 

  • Acres you are thinking of?
  • Market or use of hay produced?
  • Storage faculties?
  • Any hay making experience or someone local to mentor?

 

With these questions as a starting point, it will be ...................

 

Popcorn

 

Larry

 

 

 



#30 Edd in KY

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Posted 19 December 2020 - 08:54 PM

Farmer Dick, without much information about your operation let me say that if you are interested in small square bales, there are lot of options you can consider. Many older new Holland, John Deere,  and Massey balers sell for very low prices at auction, sometimes as low as $1000 and often under$2000. Some  older models were originally designed to operate with low horsepower tractors and can work very well with  a small tractor like a 35 horsepower live PTO tractor (although 50 HP works better). But condition is important (and  can vary widely from near perfect to total junk). I have a 50 year old NH270 as a backup, that is a consistent baler, light weight and low HP requirement, and I have $1200 invested.

 

I defer to the round baler guys to give you  advice on those models and HP requirements.







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