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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good afternoon. I realize this subject has maybe been beat to death...so please forgive me for bringing it up again! I need some advice on what kind of low cost setup I should pursue to get small squares in the barn. I have a small time square bale operation, currently 12 acres of Jiggs, but looking to expand to 25-30 acres in the next year or two. Usually we are getting 700-800 bales per cutting on the 12 acres currently in production. What options do I have for under $20k? Do grapples that mount on a tractor loader work? Seems like that would be my lowest cost option? Does sliding bales on the ground pick up dirt and debris? I'm open to used Steffen type accumulators, as well as Stack Wagons,etc. Thanks in advance. -Travis
 

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What are the interior dimensions of the barn you will stack in?
Have you been around a stacker or an accumulator in operation?
How many people are helping you?
What tractor(s) are you using?
Do they all have loaders?
Do you have a skid steer?
How far is it from the field to the barn?
Is your ground flat, hills or in between?
 

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We use a accumagrapple set up it's no hands low volume low cost ....next level in volume and cost is a baler mtd accumulator and grapple setup...next is probable a bale wagon setup...then bale barron, squeezes etc.....

As far as rubbing bales on the ground bales comming out of the barn stack you can not tell which side was down in the field ...

800 would be a long day for a accumagrapple.
 

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We use a Kuhns 1036F 10 bale flat and bale close to 20,000 a year. Most are stacked and sold out of the field but we do bring home approx. 4000 for storage on wagons through out the year. I think you can get that setup with grapple for under $20,000 still.

As noted in post 2. Really need to know what you have available to work with to narrow down potential ideas.
 

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We do a baler pulled, ground skid accumulator and grapple on skidsteer. Dragging on the ground doesn't pick up dirt or debris like you might think. They just kinda skid along and create their own kind of slick, folded back surface. Never had any issues or complaints with dirt/debris.
 

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Generally, accumulators fall into the following categories:
1. Out front, accumulator/grapple combos. Low cost, good for the small acreage farmer. I think if you move up to 25-30 acres, you would be at the limits of its capacity. Very dependent on operator skill to work effectively.

2. Drag type accumulators and grapple. A lot of these are in use. Accumulator doesn't require tractor hydraulics to function. Drag type accumulators either keep the bales in line or they flip two bales to make a "tie stack". All accumulators like tight, consistent bales. Drag types are not as forgiving with loose or "banana" bales.

3a. Table type accumulators and grapple. Usually requires tractor hydraulics to function.
3b. Kuhn type accumulator and grapple. Keeps bales off ground, does not require tractor hydraulics.

4. Pull type stack wagon. Moving up in complexity. Pull types have self-contained hydraulics that run off the pto. Requires sufficient height in barn to unload (check on specs, but I think around 14 foot or so).

5. Self-propelled stack wagon. Highest cost, need to be higher acreage to justify cost. I would also put the bundler type accumulators in this class as well.

Based on the info provided on your operation, I think one of the drag type or table type accumulators would work well for you. If you are buying new, you're probably going to get one of the drag types.
 

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I’m a small time operator and I rely on a new holland super 1048. When you increase your production, what are you going to do with the additional hay? I do roughly the same amount of ground you are planning to grow to. I have a few core customers that take the hay stacked with the bale wagon. Half of what I produce gets picked up and dropped off in customer barns and I never have to touch it again. I‘m a one man operation and it’s efficient to do it this way. These machines were built in the 70’s and are easy to maintain. Parts are easily available. It’s basically Ford medium duty truck Parts.
 

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Like Davis says, stack cruisers us small guys use are old and inexpensive, Simple mechanics, easy to get parts, and fast to put hay away. You can do a lot of hay alone, even more with a baler operator. Ours is a 1049.
Interesting. I think there may be a regional aspect to the use of stack cruisers as I have never seen one in use here in the Southeast. Several years ago, I was looking into the possibility of a pull type stack wagon and most of the units I saw were located in the Midwest / West.
 

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I put up 1800 14x18 bales from 20 acres with the assistance of (2) tractors and a super 1048 this year. It took about 10-11 days, I was the only driver and I worked my normal 50-hour week job. No breakdowns and no stacks fell over. There is no way I could have done that by hand or with an accumulator. Even a pull type would have added some time due to a smaller capacity.
 

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Good afternoon. I realize this subject has maybe been beat to death...so please forgive me for bringing it up again! I need some advice on what kind of low cost setup I should pursue to get small squares in the barn. I have a small time square bale operation, currently 12 acres of Jiggs, but looking to expand to 25-30 acres in the next year or two. Usually we are getting 700-800 bales per cutting on the 12 acres currently in production. What options do I have for under $20k? Do grapples that mount on a tractor loader work? Seems like that would be my lowest cost option? Does sliding bales on the ground pick up dirt and debris? I'm open to used Steffen type accumulators, as well as Stack Wagons,etc. Thanks in advance. -Travis
A Google search, "haytalk curious af4" should bring up a lot of reading material from the threads I've been involved in. Mostly on "newagtalk"

I am old as dirt, but if I had more years ahead of me, I would stick with Kuhns, but add a tie-grabber to speed field to storage movement by improving wagon load and storage stack stability.

If your fields are within reasonable distance from storage that plays well with a NH stackwagon, that system would be hard to beat, but I have no personal experience with one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Good day to y'all. Thanks for all the responses! I apologize for the delay in responding to some of the questions. As far as my setup...
I am located in El Campo, Texas. Down close to Houston, along the Gulf coast.

The ground is flat here. Sometimes too flat! A little more drainage would be nice in wet years.

My hay field is right beside the barn. Currently, there is 12 acres that is sprigged Jiggs. I have an additional 20 acres that is Bahia Grass and Live Oaks, also right around the barn. It will take some time and work to get that into production. My neighbor has been watching me, and may let me take over his 10 acre Jiggs patch, which is right beside mine.

Currently, I have a JD 2950 with a 148 loader on it. I would like to pick up a second tractor as a backup/rake tractor. Maybe a 4020 or similar?

No skidsteer.

I am currently putting the hay in a barn lean-to that starts at 14' height and goes down to 10' at the entrance. I believe this effectively rules out the stack wagons for now. However, I am not apposed to building a hay barn in the next year or two. In fact, if I expand to 20-30 acres, I will probably need to.

From the feedback so far, I would be leaning towards using an accumulator/grapple combo on the front of my tractor. I realize this will be clumsy and slow, but for my current 600-800 bales per cutting may be doable? I would likely stack on a hay wagon and flat bed trailer, pull trailers to barn, and then restack in the barn with the grapple.

Maybe after I expand to more than 20 acres and have a different barn, I could look into an older stack wagon or similar. I really would prefer this method, but my barn situation makes that look unworkable. But if anyone has another idea for me, I am all ears.

One question I have. Is a 148 loader capable of lifting a grapple with 10 bales of hay, or am I stressing things too much?

Thanks for all the responses! -Travis
 

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Have never used a accumulator/grapple. If you are using as such you would be baling on the ground then running around with tractor. Correct?

you will not like it. From what I have seen about those a skidsteer would be ideal for visibility and maneuverability purposes. Your going to lose a lot of both from the tractor seat.
 

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Yes, the 148 can pick up 10 bales with grapple. I have used a 190xt with loader with accumagrapple. I have to stand up to see the bale before it enters the accumagrapple. The last 2 go sideways and I usually miss some. You have to go slow too. If you can't start baling until late in the day, you may not get done moving hay until well after dark. Skid steer is best idea as you can go fast then slow down and see what you are doing. Accumulator that leaves your bales in groups of 10 would be ideal. If you could get 400-600 bales down, I would rent a skid steer assuming you have the accumagrapple. I also had to convert my front loader to skid steer hookup to use and add a grapple hydraulic valve. Your 2950 most likely won't have that 3rd set of remotes. I had to buy a new hydraulic valve with joystick and grapple and install it. Good luck on what you decide. I bought the accumagrapple knowing eventually I would need it anyway. Hoped it would buy me a year, but it didn't. I hope to buy the Norden 10 bale flat accumulator. Good luck on what you decide.
 

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I sounds as though I have a similar situation as you do with the barn near the field. I use a Parrish Accumalator and a 10 bale grapple on the front and rear of the tractor. I can put an average of 300 bales an hour in the barn. That is about the same amount we bale per hour . You can bale more per hour but to keep the stroke count per bale at about 16-18 that’s just how it works out. We usually bale about a 1000 a day and don’t have to get in a big rush. I have baled and put 1300 in the barn by myself but that’s a long day. I will be glad to talk to you about how we are setup and how we got to where we are.
 

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Our barns are not set up for a stack wagon. We are tying to decide between a pop up loader or an old pull type stack wagon. My son is 15 and doing hay we are doing a lot of squares now and hope to have a small round baler before next season. I have wondered if the stack wagon is still a good idea, just to be able to un load it in front of the lean to style sheds we have then stack it inside by hand. Still a lot of work I know but wonder it it would be faster than the pop up loader and trailers? Didn't mean to hijack your thread
 
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