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Agricultural Equipment

Equipment Specifications - RitchieSpecs
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1996 John Deere 580 Round Baler
A hay baler is a machine used to gather cut hay and compact it into dense, manageable parcels for efficient transport. In general, there are three types of balers: small square/rectangular, large round, and large square/rectangular.[1] Small square bales weigh between 40 and 70 pounds (18 and 32 kg) and can be manually transported. The ease with which they can be moved is important, as they must be stored out of the rain, which will sit on top of small square bales and infiltrate them, rotting the hay. Large balers produce bales that can weigh more than 1,000 pounds (454 kg). Large bales, therefore, must be moved with a tractor outfitted with a bale mover—an attachment consisting of a spear that can pierce the bale, enabling it to be lifted hydraulically by a loader. These bales, however, can often be left outside, as rainwater will run off of their rounded sides, and the hay within will remain protected.[2]

Contents

[edit] History

Before the 20th century, hay was stored loosely in a haymow, the upper level of a barn. This practice was extremely space-consuming, requiring 800 cubic feet (22.7 m3) of space for 1.5 tons of loose hay,[3] and the need for a more compact storage system became evident. The development of mechanized methods of baling dramatically decreased the number of people required in the haymaking process.

[edit] Early Hay Presses

The first balers, known as hay presses, were stationary machines that relied on horses and manual labor to operate. Initially, hay from the field was transported to the baler on a wagon, and forked manually into the baler’s chamber. Once the chamber was full, horses walked in a circle, or on an inclined treadmill, turning a shaft to open a chain drive. The chain drive, in turn, drove a plunger into the baler in order to compress the hay in a compression chamber. When a bale was the right size, the operator dropped a wooden block into the chamber to stop the process. Finally, the bale was hand-tied with twine or wire. A hay press operated by one horse could bale 998 pounds (453 kg) of hay every hour.[4]

This process required the labor of approximately six people: two people to feed the press, one to tie the bales, one to remove them, and additional workers to tend to the horses. These hay presses underwent certain improvements, such as Ira Pasley’s patented bell to signal when bales were the correct size, or Earl Goodwin’s truck plate designed to simplify feeding hay into the baler.[5] In general, however, they remained relatively unchanged over the span of their existence. A significant change was the replacement of horses with engines, first introduced by International Harvester in 1909.[6] Though useful, the process was still arduous and time-consuming as the actual baling work remained manual.

[edit] The First Automatic Self-tying Balers

Stationary hay presses began to disappear in the 1930s with the advent of automatic, balers. In 1936, a man known simply as Innes of Davenport, Iowa, developed an automatic, self-tying baler with knotters taken from a John Deere grain binder.[7] A year later, Ed Nolt of Pennsylvania utilized the knotters from Innes’ baler to develop the first square baler with automatic pickup.[8] Nolt’s design was later adapted by New Holland, who in 1952 marketed and sold the machine as the Holland 66, a compact mobile baler that stood only four feet (1.2 m) tall when its wheels were removed, reducing shipping costs. This machine was met with widespread popularity, as it was considerably less bulky than competing machines, as well as New Holland’s other baler offered in tandem, the Holland 77. These machines enabled farmers, for the first time, to harvest 35 to 40 tons of hay per day.[9]

New Holland 852 Chain Round Baler

[edit] Other Companies Follow New Holland’s Path

Other developments were being made at the time of New Holland’s first offerings, including International Harvester’s 1945 introduction of the 50T tractor-pulled automatic tie pickup baler. The T in the model number signified that the machine utilized twine. The following year, John Deere joined the competition with their automatic 116-W, a wire-tying baler. The company soon offered a smaller model, the 114-W; however, the square bales produced by the machine, weighing 50 to 70 pounds (22.7 to 31.8 kg) each, were difficult to stack.

[edit] Allis-Chalmers’ Solution

The first baler, designed to produce small round hay bales, was invented in 1903 by Ummo F. Leubben of Nebraska, and was patented in 1910.[10] Three decades later, in 1940, Allis-Chalmers acquired the rights to Leubben’s baler, and redeveloped it. In 1947, the company introduced the Roto-Baler, selling more than 23,000 in a three-year period.[11] The round bales were greatly successful, as they were easier to unroll to feed livestock, and left more leaves on the stems.[12] Additionally, round bales could be left outside, unprotected by wet weather, as hay in its center would be protected by the layers wrapped around it. These balers were improved in the 1950s, with Allis-Chalmers development of a process to rapidly wrap twine around the bales. Previously, a baler would have to be stopped after each bale was produced, in order to tie and eject the product.

[edit] Vermeer’s Contribution

In the early 1970s Vermeer Manufacturing Co. made perhaps its most significant contribution to the agricultural industry. The company produced the first large round baler, a machine that has pioneered the way for every large round baler since.[13] These balers, operable by one person, made hay bales that weighed approximately one ton. Though there was some controversy surrounding the dangerous operation of these machines, forcing adjustments to be made, Vermeer sold more than 85,000 of these balers over the next 25 years.[14]

[edit] Features/How it Works/Types

As mentioned, balers come in three types: those that make small square/rectangular bales, large round bales, and large square/rectangular bales. There are also balers, somewhat experimental, that produce small round bales, similar to those made by the original Allis-Chalmers Roto-Baler. These models, usually European- or Japanese-made, are used primarily on smaller hobby farms.[15]

Hay balers are usually pulled by a tractor that supplies power to the baler through a power take-off (PTO) shaft. It is the task of the tractor operator to make ensure the baler pickup, a spool of moving teeth, is driven in line with the windrow of cut hay in order to load properly.

[edit] Small Square Baler

New Holland 273 Super Sweep Square Baler
Occasionally, a flatbed wagon, carrying a worker, is pulled behind a small square baler. When the baler has ejected a parcel of hay, the person waiting on the wagon will pick it up and manually load it onto the flatbed. A popular, less laborious choice, however, is the automatic baler. This machine, pull-type or self-propelled, gathers hay through a pickup. Behind the pickup is a compressor bar to hold the hay into place while the auger feeds it into the bale chamber. This chamber contains a plunger that packs and compresses hay into the correct shape and size. Following this, the bale is tied with wire or twine by an automatic mechanism. The twine is then knotted and cut with a knotter. Finally, the bale is ejected, either falling to the ground, or being thrown by an ejector known as a kicker onto a hayrack behind the baler.

Small square balers can also stack bales, transport them to a storage site, and stack them on a transportation vehicle, all carried out by an operator using controls—this process requires no manual lifting. Some operators opt to use an accumulator when producing small square bales. The accumulator collects multiple bales at once, laying them down in a rectangular pattern once full. This increases efficiency when grabbers and bale forks pick up the group to load them onto a transportation vehicle. Some balers of this type include a bale ejector to throw the bale directly onto a wagon.

[edit] Large Round Balers

Introduced in the 1970s thanks to the addition of hydraulics, large round balers are designed to produce bales between four and six feet (1.2 and 1.8 m) in diameter, and four to five feet (1.2 to 1.5 m) wide.[16] Each of these bales weigh between 1000 to 2000 pounds (454 to 907 kg), which is the equivalent of 20 to 45 small square bales. Round balers, all tractor-pulled, are often driven in a pattern weaving from left to right so the diameter of the bale is even. The bales produced by these machines are formed by way of the hay being wrapped around itself by six to eight long rubber belts seven inches wide. As hay is pulled into this baler, the bale is formed into a round shape and fills the bale chamber. As the chamber is filled, the hay exerts a force on the rubber belts, a process that is monitored hydraulically. When a predetermined pressure has been reached, the tractor operator is signaled electronically, and the baler’s forward motion is paused. Before being ejected, the bale is wrapped automatically with twine or a protective plastic. Finally, the rear part of the baler is opened hydraulically, and the bale rolls out. Some balers need to be backed up when a bale is complete in order for it to be ejected, but newer balers do not.

[edit] Large Square Balers

These balers, producing parcels weighing between 800 and 1800 pounds (363 and 816 kg), and commonly measuring 3x3x6 feet (0.9x0.9x1.8 m) in length, have increased in popularity over the last decade.[17] The bales produced by large square balers are easier to stack than their round counterparts on transportation vehicles such as semi-trucks. Though these machines work similarly to large round balers, they usually produce denser bales, due to the inclusion of pre-compression chambers.

[edit] Common Manufacturers

[edit] Additional Photos

1997 Massey Ferguson MF828 Round Baler
1989 Gehl 1865TDC 5 ft. x 6 ft. Round Baler
1997 Hesston 565T Round Baler
Case 3650 Round Baler

[edit] References

  1. Hay Handling. Agrability Project. 2008-09-23.
  2. Hay Baler. Made How. 2008-09-23.
  3. Machines. Living History. Farm. 2008-09-23.
  4. Technology Through Time. AB Heritage. 2008-09-23.
  5. Technology Through Time. AB Heritage. 2008-09-23.
  6. Technology Through Time. AB Heritage. 2008-09-23.
  7. Equipment & Tools - Tools of the Trade: Choosing a Hay Baler. Hobby Farm. 2008-09-23.
  8. Equipment & Tools - Tools of the Trade: Choosing a Hay Baler. Hobby Farms. 2008-09-23.
  9. Machines. Living History Farm. 2008-09-23.
  10. Equipment & Tools - Tools of the Trade: Choosing a Hay Baler. Hobby Farms. 2008-09-23.
  11. Equipment & Tools - Tools of the Trade: Choosing a Hay Baler. Hobby Farms. 2008-09-23.
  12. Machines. Living History Farms. 2008-09-23.
  13. Vermeer. Funding Universe. 2008-09-23.
  14. Vermeer. Funding Universe. 2008-09-23.
  15. Hay Handling. Agrability Project. 2008-09-23.
  16. Hay Handling. Agrability Project. 2008-09-23.
  17. Hay Handling. Agrability Project. 2008-09-23.