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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone. I am in my second year of baling and selling wheat straw in small squares (baled with JD336 twine tie). Last year I baled and put up 2500 bales the old school way (manually stacking onto the trailer and unloading in the barn). As all of you know, labor is hard to come by which drove me to purchasing a Rafter M accumulator (10 bale tie) and grapple with side shift and this year put up about 4000 bales. While this system effectively reduced the labor, and allowed me to do more myself, I still feel like it is not the best way for me to get the straw put up. I didnt go nearly as fast as I had hoped. Here are a few things I ran into with the accumulator:
  1. I could not pull it behind the baler because I am baling the wind row that the combine lays which requires two passes with the baler to pick up the straw. I cant rake it because the baler cant handle that amount of straw at once. So, the accumulator requires one man to run it. Not that big of a deal.
  2. Here in Louisiana we have to put water furrows in our fields to drain the water. This caused problems occasionally. The bales would sometimes hang the leading edge in the furrow and either flip over, flip up and raise the accumulator and create a mess, or tear the bale up. Big inconvienence.
  3. Frequently, the bales would just slide on the ground ( laying the stubble over like a mat) and would not have enough resistance to force thru the trip levers, so you would have to stop and manually trip the lever and put the bale in place. This was frustrating.
I am not knocking the accumulator. I think it would work flawlessly in hay with more density. This is just the nature of the beast with straw (I think).

The grapple worked great and the side shift is awesome. Occasionally It would break a string because the bales would be too compacted in the grab and the string would be under the grapple fingers. I have the grapple mounted on the FEL on a JD 4320 so you really cannot see the bale orientation when you grab them. This worked but I am not sure it is the way to go with straw. I noticed that after grabbing the bales twice with the grapple (once to load, once to unload) they are not as tight as they were in the field. I know straw is very sensitive to handling, walking on them, ect so I would like to minimize this.

I am hauling out of the field on a 30 foot gooseneck flatbed, and a 30 foot wagon. It would take a minimum of 3 hrs (could be 4) to get the two trailers loaded, strapped down, and back to the barn with a total of 500 bales. The maximum travel distance one way is 8 miles, and most is less than 4 miles.

I am stacking them flat in the barn on top of pallets going 9 bales high at the eaves, and 10 bales high after that. The tractor will only lift 10 high. It was a bit cumbersome stacking in the barn with the tractor due to the room that is required to manuver it with a 10 foot long grapple hanging on the front.

95% of my sales is to feed stores which get about 120 bales at a time. I am loading these by hand because I cant leave the tractor sitting around commited to the hay grapple and I can load it by hand faster than I can get the tractor (wherever it may be), and get hooked up.

After saying all of this, My issue is really the logistics of getting the staw out of the field and into the barn. I am not convinced that the accumulator and grapple is the best for me. I would love to try a bale baron, or bandit, or similar but I dont have the volume required to justify spending that much money. I would even lease one, but I doubt anyone does that. Would a NH stackliner work for me? Anything you can think of? I welcome all opinions, and suggestions from you. Thanks in advance.
 

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Full of questionable knowledge.
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a NH stacker would work for you, but they aren't cheap either if you are considering a self propelled one. However in my experience stacking straw or oat hay it's somewhat tough to get the stacks to stay standing good as the bales are so slick and they tend to be somewhat spongy. I wouldn't like to use a grapple and accumulator, but some guys on here love them.
 

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Yea sounds like you need someone with a baron or bandit to come bale that for you, before you kill yourself by overload, that's a lot of wheat straw to put up by hand, there is a fellow on this site that has a bandit in la. And I think a few more around that area according to him, perhaps you could get an arraignment worked out with them, 21 bales in a bundle and they make that 4 hour job of loading about 45 min with hydro's doing the heavy work. At the end of the day you may save money....Definitely save your back, hands, feet........
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for the information. I like the concept of the bale baron because when I load them out of the barn by myself, I can use the FEL with spikes, or pallet forks I suppose. Does anyone know what the life span of a bale baron / bandit is? I know that is a loaded question, but roughly how many bales can you run through one before you start getting into a lot of repairs?
 

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Kuhns has a grapple that also ties the group together. I always cut the wheat field so when I finished bailing there was only a 2 inch stubble. Sounds like the drag accumulator is not the way to go. I always has second thoughts about them and you have confirmed my suspicion. I have a Hoelscher but I am seriously leaning the a Kuhns. I also like to stack the hay on the side instead of flat. If you had a back board on the rear of your trailers you wouldn't have to tie them down. There are some pictures of hay trailers on this site. NH Stacker ... but I think you have to have the barn built for that. La. like Texas we have to have a hay barn to keep it out of the weather. Good Luck.
 

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Hay Master
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I bale a lot of straw every year. I use a Kuhn's and have got it down to a science for me. I have gone thru the learning curve. One important thing for me is to bale my straw tight. I mean so tight that you think the knots will slip when you pick em up. That will keep the bales standing in the barn. My barns are 50 x 100 and I load both ends and then fill in the middle on each side. Then I fill in the very middle of the barn. I remove it the same way. If you have barns high enough for a stackwagon, that would be the way to go. I am at the point where I was going to buy a bale baron last year but decided against it right now because of no dealers here and of course no support. I am going to a Kuhn's tie grapple this coming year because one of my farms is 20 miles away and the convenience of not having to straps bales down is appealing to me. I have waited for a couple years for the Kuhn's to improve them and I think they are there now with maybe a generation 3 grabber. Mike
 

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I bale a lot of straw every year. I use a Kuhn's and have got it down to a science for me. I have gone thru the learning curve. One important thing for me is to bale my straw tight. I mean so tight that you think the knots will slip when you pick em up. That will keep the bales standing in the barn. My barns are 50 x 100 and I load both ends and then fill in the middle on each side. Then I fill in the very middle of the barn. I remove it the same way. If you have barns high enough for a stackwagon, that would be the way to go. I am at the point where I was going to buy a bale baron last year but decided against it right now because of no dealers here and of course no support. I am going to a Kuhn's tie grapple this coming year because one of my farms is 20 miles away and the convenience of not having to straps bales down is appealing to me. I have waited for a couple years for the Kuhn's to improve them and I think they are there now with maybe a generation 3 grabber. Mike
Mike, is your barn open. Where do you have the doors placed. I have a customer that has 50 x100 and has a 12 door on the north and the two center 25 ft bays are open. Merry Christmas.
 

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I handle a similar amount of bales in a year, and every year I want to try to automate some but I just can't come up with something that will honestly save me time or money. My problem with accumulator's is the same as you, too much screwing around loading and stacking the piles. My problem with a stackliner is that my barns aren't made for them and I'm not interested in building new sheds when I have ones that are in good shape. I can still find help and I have help that is good enough to put in 1400 bales in an evening. So even though I pay them good, it's still cheap because their fast. Sometimes you have to donate a 30 pack to the cause.
 

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I bought a baler from a guy who was doing 1000 bales a day, 30,000 bales a straw a year for 5 years with 1 hired man. His equipment:
-tractor on JD 336 baler (later a 348) with a bale basket towed behind modified so the driver could hydrauically open / close the gate.
-tractor with steffens 18 on edge grab with 1/4 turn rotator
-3 tandem wagons that held 330 or so bales on edge with pre sized straps to tie off and go in just a few minutes.

The hired man baled, then dropped each load of 70-90 bales near the wagons. The farmer used a hay hook to drag the bales into the same pattern as an accumulator on the ground, once arranged jumped on the tractor and loaded the wagons. He said it took a bit less time to arrange and load the bales as the baler took to fill another basket.

So you have about 20 mins of just baling time on front, and about 20 min of just loading time at the end. He said the usually day from starting baling to pulling out of the field was about 4 hours for the 1000 bales.The grapple tractor pulled double, the baling tractor was left in the field, the last wagon was pulled by truck or pulled triple on wide roads or near home.

In his experience its took about 1 hour per wagon to unload and stack in a barn.

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Have you checked out the Alison Bale Converter? I use one and it sounds like something you might could use. I take round rolls of hay to the barn where i then take the roundrolls and using the Alison Bale Converter, convert them to square bales and load directly onto a truck, or stack. I have found this saves money in that I do not have to store the square bales. I can keep the straw in rolls until I need the square bales, then I can very quickly convert the large round bales to square bales. The Alison Bale Converter price is reasonable too. Starts in the 20s and works with a Bale Barron.
 

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Hay Master
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Slowzuki :
The guy using a bale basket as his accumulator adds an interesting twist to the whole process. He's adding a lot of volume in the gathering phase and eliminating a lot of running around the field with a grapple. However, it seems like any efficiency gained there is lost when he has to arrainge the bales by hand to be loaded with the grapple. I've been through that process more than once when a soft, free standing stack fell over in the barn. It ain't fun, but if it works for them more power to them!
 

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I had never thought of how he did it before, everyone here uses baskets to get the bales back to the barn but it does make sense. You don't have any packs dropped in the the way of the baler. Its a lot of work for the guy at the wagon but using a pair of hay hooks you aren't bending over or lifting, just dragging the bales a few feet. As long as he gets done before the baler gets back it works pretty well.

The other option of dropping accumulated packs from a normal accumulator in the field is nice but when you work out the time its not much if any faster. Less work though except if you have lots of turns, or dips with a drag type.
 

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Hey everyone. I am in my second year of baling and selling wheat straw in small squares (baled with JD336 twine tie). Last year I baled and put up 2500 bales the old school way (manually stacking onto the trailer and unloading in the barn). As all of you know, labor is hard to come by which drove me to purchasing a Rafter M accumulator (10 bale tie) and grapple with side shift and this year put up about 4000 bales. While this system effectively reduced the labor, and allowed me to do more myself, I still feel like it is not the best way for me to get the straw put up. I didnt go nearly as fast as I had hoped. Here are a few things I ran into with the accumulator:
  1. I could not pull it behind the baler because I am baling the wind row that the combine lays which requires two passes with the baler to pick up the straw. I cant rake it because the baler cant handle that amount of straw at once. So, the accumulator requires one man to run it. Not that big of a deal.
  2. Here in Louisiana we have to put water furrows in our fields to drain the water. This caused problems occasionally. The bales would sometimes hang the leading edge in the furrow and either flip over, flip up and raise the accumulator and create a mess, or tear the bale up. Big inconvienence.
  3. Frequently, the bales would just slide on the ground ( laying the stubble over like a mat) and would not have enough resistance to force thru the trip levers, so you would have to stop and manually trip the lever and put the bale in place. This was frustrating.
I am not knocking the accumulator. I think it would work flawlessly in hay with more density. This is just the nature of the beast with straw (I think).

The grapple worked great and the side shift is awesome. Occasionally It would break a string because the bales would be too compacted in the grab and the string would be under the grapple fingers. I have the grapple mounted on the FEL on a JD 4320 so you really cannot see the bale orientation when you grab them. This worked but I am not sure it is the way to go with straw. I noticed that after grabbing the bales twice with the grapple (once to load, once to unload) they are not as tight as they were in the field. I know straw is very sensitive to handling, walking on them, ect so I would like to minimize this.

I am hauling out of the field on a 30 foot gooseneck flatbed, and a 30 foot wagon. It would take a minimum of 3 hrs (could be 4) to get the two trailers loaded, strapped down, and back to the barn with a total of 500 bales. The maximum travel distance one way is 8 miles, and most is less than 4 miles.

I am stacking them flat in the barn on top of pallets going 9 bales high at the eaves, and 10 bales high after that. The tractor will only lift 10 high. It was a bit cumbersome stacking in the barn with the tractor due to the room that is required to manuver it with a 10 foot long grapple hanging on the front.

95% of my sales is to feed stores which get about 120 bales at a time. I am loading these by hand because I cant leave the tractor sitting around commited to the hay grapple and I can load it by hand faster than I can get the tractor (wherever it may be), and get hooked up.

After saying all of this, My issue is really the logistics of getting the staw out of the field and into the barn. I am not convinced that the accumulator and grapple is the best for me. I would love to try a bale baron, or bandit, or similar but I dont have the volume required to justify spending that much money. I would even lease one, but I doubt anyone does that. Would a NH stackliner work for me? Anything you can think of? I welcome all
opinions, and suggestions from you. Thanks in advance.
You might want to check out the Alison Bale Converter. It allows you to round bale the straw, then run it through the Converter to put into square bales. Saves storage and labor.
 

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Hey everyone. I am in my second year of baling and selling wheat straw in small squares (baled with JD336 twine tie). Last year I baled and put up 2500 bales the old school way (manually stacking onto the trailer and unloading in the barn). As all of you know, labor is hard to come by which drove me to purchasing a Rafter M accumulator (10 bale tie) and grapple with side shift and this year put up about 4000 bales. While this system effectively reduced the labor, and allowed me to do more myself, I still feel like it is not the best way for me to get the straw put up. I didnt go nearly as fast as I had hoped. Here are a few things I ran into with the accumulator:
  1. I could not pull it behind the baler because I am baling the wind row that the combine lays which requires two passes with the baler to pick up the straw. I cant rake it because the baler cant handle that amount of straw at once. So, the accumulator requires one man to run it. Not that big of a deal.
  2. Here in Louisiana we have to put water furrows in our fields to drain the water. This caused problems occasionally. The bales would sometimes hang the leading edge in the furrow and either flip over, flip up and raise the accumulator and create a mess, or tear the bale up. Big inconvienence.
  3. Frequently, the bales would just slide on the ground ( laying the stubble over like a mat) and would not have enough resistance to force thru the trip levers, so you would have to stop and manually trip the lever and put the bale in place. This was frustrating.
I am not knocking the accumulator. I think it would work flawlessly in hay with more density. This is just the nature of the beast with straw (I think).

The grapple worked great and the side shift is awesome. Occasionally It would break a string because the bales would be too compacted in the grab and the string would be under the grapple fingers. I have the grapple mounted on the FEL on a JD 4320 so you really cannot see the bale orientation when you grab them. This worked but I am not sure it is the way to go with straw. I noticed that after grabbing the bales twice with the grapple (once to load, once to unload) they are not as tight as they were in the field. I know straw is very sensitive to handling, walking on them, ect so I would like to minimize this.

I am hauling out of the field on a 30 foot gooseneck flatbed, and a 30 foot wagon. It would take a minimum of 3 hrs (could be 4) to get the two trailers loaded, strapped down, and back to the barn with a total of 500 bales. The maximum travel distance one way is 8 miles, and most is less than 4 miles.

I am stacking them flat in the barn on top of pallets going 9 bales high at the eaves, and 10 bales high after that. The tractor will only lift 10 high. It was a bit cumbersome stacking in the barn with the tractor due to the room that is required to manuver it with a 10 foot long grapple hanging on the front.

95% of my sales is to feed stores which get about 120 bales at a time. I am loading these by hand because I cant leave the tractor sitting around commited to the hay grapple and I can load it by hand faster than I can get the tractor (wherever it may be), and get hooked up.

After saying all of this, My issue is really the logistics of getting the staw out of the field and into the barn. I am not convinced that the accumulator and grapple is the best for me. I would love to try a bale baron, or bandit, or similar but I dont have the volume required to justify spending that much money. I would even lease one, but I doubt anyone does that. Would a NH stackliner work for me? Anything you can think of? I welcome all opinions, and suggestions from you. Thanks in advance.
 

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You might want to look at the Alison Bale Converter. This machine allows you to round bale the straw, making it easier to handle and easier to store. Then you can convert the round bales to squares as you sell it. I load it right on the truck as it comes out of the baler using a conveyor. It works well for me. I produce about 250,000 bales per year.round rolling it in the field then converting to squares as I need to load a truck.
 

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250,000? Really? A load a day, 5-6 days a week 52 weeks a year average? Hand loaded everyday? Sounds like a salesman statistic to me, ie BS.
 

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Hallshay, I've talked to Alison quite a bit & I'm hopefully purchasing one of his machines n the next 30 days. It's no rinky dink operation & it's no BS. I believe he runs 2-3 loads a day, has 3 or 4 guys. The only thing I would do different is have a bale bandit or baron incorporated in my operation. I would not want to be on the business end of a hay elevator loading semi's n the winter of Georgia, let alone the summer.
 

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250,000? Really? A load a day, 5-6 days a week 52 weeks a year average? Hand loaded everyday? Sounds like a salesman statistic to me, ie BS.
Yes sir, I really have produced sold, and loaded 267,000 in one year with the Alison Bale Converter and 3-4 men. If you would like to see my operation you would be welcome to see for yourself. If I had not done this myself, I would not have posted the information. I have made a very good living for the past 15 years dealing with straw and hay. I have tried every method possible to make hay production and sales as efficient and profitable as possible. This machine is the best thing I have found IT does what I say it will do and more...You never touch a bale...until it comes up the conveyor into the trailer...the man in the trailer just sets it off the conveyor. This machine does what I say it will do....AND THAT IS A FACT JACK!The manufacturer of Alison Bale Converter will be at the Colorado Farm Show in Greeley. I do hope you will go by and visit. He will be at the Bale Baron Booth. I think you would find it interesting.
 

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It is possible to load 250-350k bales/ yr. Back when times were good and straw was selling, 4-53' van trailers- 700 bales on a trailer. Avg 3000 bales in a day. Completely wear out a 575 nh in 6 months or less. Now...........prob sell 2/ day. I don't have an Alison converter but something similar. Poorly built, but it works
 
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